So far, I’ve treated myself to two weekend trips. First, I went on one of the famous all-inclusive tours to Isla Saona. At 6am, my roommates and I arrived to la Zona Colonial where we boarded the nicest looking guagua I’ve ever seen. The drive was a couple of hours but included a rest stop at a Cafeteria where I was finally able to taste a Dominican classic: queso frito. Not the healthiest breakfast but absolutely delicious.
In general, Dominican’s enjoy a desayuno pesado – heavy, deep fried, and very sweet. Many of my co-workers say that Mexicans have a estomago de acero, how else could we eat so much picante if it weren’t for a steel stomach! But I’m more baffled by the Dominican body and it’s ability to stay fit despite consuming deep fried empanadas for breakfast or fritura (tostones with fried salami), and washing it all down with three-spoonfuls-of-sugar espresso.
Anyway, anyway. After driving all the way to the South-east tip of the country, we took a short speedboat ride to a slick catamaran. Music began playing, Coke & Rum was distributed, and selfie-sticks were pulled out. A large Dominican family made up the majority of the tourists. They were all dressed in white outfits and wore coordinating brightly colored flower boas. I befriended three Korean tourists sitting next to me and together, we danced Merengue with the staff on the boat. Thankfully, my Ibuprofen and my love for dancing formed a synergy, allowing me to get away with intricate foot dancing on the wet floor of the boat with only minor discomfort from my foot–I suffered the next day though.
Once at the Isla, I enjoyed the warm water, ate, and took a short nap next to the water. The water was not as clear as I was expected, probably because the storm El niño dragged in lots of rocks and seaweed.
My favorite part of the trip was our too short stop at Playa Palmilla, a “natural swimming pool” We climbed on a boat at la Isla and as we cruised, the water slowly began changing from a deep blue to the most beautiful turquoise I’ve ever seen. Then our boat stopped in the middle of water and told us to get off. The water was nice and warm, completely translucent, and only reached up to my chest. My roommates and I looked out for large orange starfish who live in this area and we scored this amazing picture:
After 30 minutes, we were back on the boat. Ours stopped twice on the way back, which was very disconcerting, especially when every other boat that sped passed us simply waved and laughed. Luckily, we made it back eventually, just in time for me to take a much needed bathroom break.
Here are some more pictures, courtesy of my roommates Dani & Elsi, and fellow paisano Yeshiel.