February 15, 2009

I Turned 30 in the DR!

I am officially 30 years old. And despite what Jed says, my body is not an artifact.

I was incredibly lucky to celebrate my big day in the Dominican Republic. Jed gave me the best present - my choice of vacation in the Carribbean! It was a very difficult decision but after carefully considering all of my options, all signs pointed to the Dominican Republic. Particuarly an ADULTS ONLY (!!!) all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana.

Our trip began rocky. On only a few hours sleep, we ventured to the airport only to find that something hadn't been charged on our plane and our flight would be delayed. The delay would cause us to miss our connection and so we were scheduled to fly again the next day. Luckily the hotel and my awesome boss let us stay an extra day for no additional charge. It turned out to be a bit of a blessing because I was feeling sick. We went home to wait - but without our luggage, which had already been put on a different plane and would meet us in the DR. We did nothing - Jed was asleep before the final puzzle on Wheel of Fortune :-)

The next morning we were off! The flights were good and we even found our luggage at the DR airport! Our driver was arranged by the resort and handed Jed a beer for the ride. The resort was beautiful and we had champagne waiting for us on arrival. It was warm but raining - as it would be for the entire time we were there. Our room was really nice. The best part was our patio, which had a hammock and led directly into the pool. We were situated across from the pool bar, specifically the local beer tap - Presidente.

We settled in and decided to take a walk down to the spa to make appointments for my birthday. Jed happily announced it would be my 30th birthday as we made the appointments and then we walked out to small pond across the way. There were two parrots sitting on the small walkway leading out to the edge of the pond. People were feeding them and they were sitting on people's arms. I really wanted them to sit on my arm. A nice Australian woman coaxed me over and told me to slowly put out my arm. Instead of walking on me, Evil Parrot #1 screamed at me and bit me HARD on the arm and twisted my skin almost all the way around. The skin didn't break but I was left with a swollen arm and a yellow bruise. I deserved a battle wound worthy of a picture. As I teetered on the edge of panic, the Australian woman eased Evil Parrot #1 back on to the walkway and told me the other parrot was nicer. I wish she had told me that to begin with. So Evil Parrot #2 climbed on my arm and up to my shoulder. Jed yelled "You're a pirate!" at the same time another woman across the way yelled "They like earrings and glasses." While both Jed and the woman were telling me these things, Evil Parrot #2 bit off my earring at the top of my ear. (Coincidentally, I had wanted to remove this but was not sure how since it's not a conventional piercing. I was pissed but also relieved that my problem was solved. My ear was not bit in the process.) Heeding the warning from the woman, I reached up to take off my glasses when Evil Parrot #2 went for my wedding ring. Thankfully it was unhurt but I would not have hesitated to rip open the stomach of that bird to retrieve my ring. The Australian woman eased Evil Parrot #2 off my - it was headed to my other shoulder and I ran away. The rest of the trip every time I saw the parrots they were pleasant and cooperative, even saying "Hola!" to people. I was wearing flip flops and Jed thinks my big toe must have scared them. Not helping the complex.

The food was amazing. I'd heard warnings that resorts sometimes don't have great food but we were pleasantly surprised. So we ate a lot. A lot. The only meal I was actually hungry for was our first night's dinner. In the evening a saxophonist and keyboardist played in the bar area and then at night a teenage dance group performed and it was so much fun.

On my big day we attempted to walk on the beach and then read on the hammocks laying out. Unfortunately, the skies never cleared and the rain only stopped for a few brief moments. About 5 or 6 times we'd have to go running back as the rain came pouring down. That evening we went for our spa treatment. It was a body scrub with black volcanic ash followed by a massage. We began with a soak in the jacuzzi and then were led upstairs. When they opened the door to my room there were three woman and the woman who led us upstairs waiting and they had hung a Happy Birthday Banner and balloons in the room. They all sang to me but apparently forgot to look up my name before they sang because it went awkwardly silent at the name part but that made it even better. After our amazing treatment, I was given a delicious piece of cake. That was so nice because it otherwise didn't feel like my birthday. Jed said he had nothing to do with it, the woman that made our appointment must have just remembered when he announced it loudly the day before. It was really special.

The remaining days were just spent lounging. The rain was heavy and constant. The night of my birthday, the hotel even lost power for a bit because the winds were so strong. Aside from the rooms and restaurants, the entire hotel was open air so the floors were slippery and everything was wet. We went to the pool bar even in the rain, refusing to let it ruin our trip. I sucked down delicious rum drinks served inside coconuts. I think I drank more on that trip than I have my whole life. It was wonderful.

The food, as I mentioned, was amazing and the best part was that everything was included. We never had to bring money to pay for any food or drinks. Jed was brave and tried a few new things...he tried ceviche - I think the verdict was that it was too weird a texture. He also tried escargot and loved it. I was surprised. We've since been arguing over whether or not snails are ever found on sidewalks. I've seen them in the park after a lot of rain - there were snails on the sidewalk. Jed thinks they are technically "seafood" but I classify them as part of the "bug family".

I didn't get to do horseback riding on the beach or snorkeling due to the weather. We waded briefly in the ocean but couldn't swim because it was so rough - red flags every day. However, good company is the most important thing and Jed and I always have fun no matter where we go or what the weather is like. It was a great birthday and the best present ever. It made me really miss traveling. We were spoiled in Japan - working 3 weeks straight then taking a week off to go to a new country. I miss those days but love our house and really love my job. But the most important thing I learned on this trip is that parrots are evil and their pretty feathers are a ploy to steal your stuff.


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