February 19, 2015

Away we go: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic


Yangkyu and I were looking through photos we took while in Punta Cana with our patchy tans and even patchier sunburns and while we miss the sun and the beach and the endless amount of Virgin Miami Vices {me} and Pina Coladas and El Presidente beer {him, although he cannot drink for his life}, we're pretty happy about our 3 night/4 day trip. While initially we thought it would feel ultra short it actually ended up feeling pretty right. 

We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in a beautiful king suite that had a jacuzzi right smack in the middle of our room. That ended up being a blast but only for the first night because we were too tired to use it in the nights following. I remember saying every night, "Oh let's use the jacuzzi again!" and then falling right to sleep afterwards. {The other thing I remember is being super cold all the time while inside the resort. People were walking around in skimpy dresses and tank tops and Yangkyu and I were in long sleeves and hoodies because it was so cold!}

Our first day there was a little crazy and hectic and tiring with multiple complications that ended up really testing our patience, but the following days we were able to do what we originally set out to do -- relax. We had a similar opportunity last year when we flew to Montego Bay, Jamaica to just enjoy the sun and slow life down a bit.

At Punta Cana we took long walks on the beach, read books poolside, slept under the sun, jogged, went on a bike date, played mini golf {which ended up being an extreme sport for Yangkyu because I kept whacking him with my golf ball}, gambled - roulette {I always betted on #17 and it never came up} and a slot machine called The Dog {can you guess why we chose to play that one?} - and received a couples facial treatment and hydrotherapy for our bodies. We had also wanted to see if we could head out to Santo Domingo and also go on a small expedition in one of those all terrain vehicles but there were some complications and we ended up passing on those opportunities.

This trip was wonderful in every way and I'm so thankful for the chance to have gone, especially during a time when it was freezing cold in Northern Virginia. But you know, at times I got so torn with seeing so much excess and food being half eaten and thrown out and darker side of things we probably don't know about these places travelers like to call paradise resorts. I wondered about the workers, especially the ones we don't get to see who work the kitchens, clean and patrol the outer grounds. I also wondered about the animals too.

One day by the pool a monkey, an iguana, snake and parrot were taken out and greeted by eager and smiling kids {and some adults too} who wanted to take a picture with them. So one after another, the animals were put on top of their heads for a few shots and then into the hands of another and then on to a shoulder of next. The whole time I just couldn't help but feel sorry for those poor animals. Part of it was a worry I had about their well being inside the resort but most of it was a sickening feeling that vacationers just saw them as accessories to a photo.

And then of course you have the occasional d-bag tourists who just feel they are entitled to act like Class A a-holes and think everyone should kiss the ground they walk on. We sat next to one of them during dinner one night and it irritated me to no end. I get so angry and discouraged when I see things like this that sometimes I let it ruin my day.

It's a funny world we live in. Sometimes it seems as though someone's luxury and relaxation comes at the expense of another. For me, it's hard to justify it or think otherwise.

Oy I always do this don't I? Ruin a perfectly pretty vacation with mindless heavy thoughts.

All in all, it was a great get-away for me and Yangkyu. While we missed Piri, we are also thankful for this time to recharge. Thank you Punta Cana. You sure are pretty and pretty nice, too.


PS - Happy Lunar New Year! So long Year of the Horse {my year} and hello Year of the Sheep {Yangkyu's year}!

37 comments

  1. amazing photos! looks and sounds like a relaxing fun trip, so lucky to have escaped the cold for a while :)

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  2. Wow! Looks fabulous! It's always a good idea to escape the harsh winter ;)

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  3. It looks SO pretty there! I neeeeed a holiday! Glad you got the rest you needed :)

    Katrina Sophia

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  4. I want to be there! It looks wonderful - perfect colours, clean sea!!

    Oh - d-bag tourists and Class A a-holes are a bane in life. I must admit that the places we wind up means that we encounter very few of them - I suppose such people avoid the ramshackle places we love so much?

    It's hard for me to hear of animals treated like this - know you you feel a bit. I see all sorts when I am back in Africa for the sake of tourists and it weight heavy on the heard.

    All that aside though - STUNNING PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. Happy Chinese New Year to you too firstly!

    My my, your holiday looks define :D And
    your king suit sure sounds kick ass with
    that jacuzzi in the middle of the room ;)
    I feel sad for the animals that you've
    mentioned here too, and also for the
    environment outside the resort. I've seen
    a documentary before about tourism in
    a poor country and there's always a
    (huge) price to pay to keep the resorts/
    hotels looking great and paradise.
    Sorry I am joining the heavy thoughts
    too haha ;P I hope you guys still have
    a great getaway from the cold!
    Xx

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    1. yes i definitely thought about that too. ah there are always bad side to things aren't there. sigh.

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  6. You two managed to cram in quite a fair bit over 4 days didn't you. All sounds fun. But yes, the animal thing is always a concern, but hopefully they are respected and looked after - you just never know though. As long as you act accordingly to what you believe then that's all you can do.

    Buckets & Spades

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  7. Such beautiful photos! I could use a pina colada by the beach right about now :)
    I know what you mean about some d-bag tourists. We sat by a family at dinner during a vacation a long time ago, and it just made me sad and angry and mostly disappointed with people sometimes.
    Hate to hear that about the animals. I'd worry too, hopefully they are well cared for.
    BTW, Happy New Year!

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    1. :) thank you! happy new year to you as well!

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  8. I like the way you see things Jane! Real life has both it's good and bad points. You recognize that and point them out. You CARE! You see past what is in front of you! It's a shame animals are caged and put on display like that. It's a shame people act like that. Every trip I've taken I've experienced the same thing. So thank you for telling us both sides. Glad you guys had a great time.It's absolutely beautiful! Love the clear water, skies and beautiful trees.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  9. Your photos are amazing although I wouldn't expect anything less :P I think it just shows how big your heart is to see injustices in the World - I need to remind myself everyday that I am so so lucky to live where I do, to live in a first World country and have all this privilege others don't. I sometimes make myself super sad to think about that but then I'll read something claiming the poorest people are the happiest and I'm left feeling guilt free for a little bit! The animal thing is maybe even harder, I love zoos so much and maybe would of even posed for a photo but I definitely wrestle with the thought of it all being wrong :(

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    1. aww i think there is always a difference with people who are at least aware or are open to these types of thoughts once introduced to them. i think some people get defensive.. i think you have a wonderful heart fee. :)

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  10. Yay! I've been waiting to see your travel diary! Beautiful. I hope you enjoyed your vacay!

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  11. Ooh wow this place looks beautiful! Ah I hate disrepectful tourists as well. Happy Lunar New Year :)

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  12. That looks beautiful-the water looks so inviting x

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  13. beautiful. i can smell the sea just looking at your pictures.

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  14. The scenery looks so gorgeous! I'm glad you had a great time overall. I know what you mean about disrespectful tourists -- they sometimes ruin my day as well when we're traveling.

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  15. Amazing pics Jane, they make me dream! I love (love, love, love) your perspective decisions for the pictures on your travel pics, surprising and so good. I've never been to a resort type of hotel, but I think I can understand your point, specially in those places where food and drink is all included the excess is so painfully palpable. Also I get your point about d-bag tourists, they make quite a good laughs between Dani and myself for the rest of the trip ;)

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    1. yes i think that is one of the downsides to resorts. sigh. :)

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  16. Happy Lunar New Year! We went to a parade in Chinatown yesterday (my very first one!) and it was amazing! But it was cold, looking at your photos I really wish we went to Punta Cana as well :-D
    Katie // Lublyou

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    1. thank you! happy lunar new year! oh the parade sounds wonderful!

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  17. God- love the new site! Why did you change? Photos are amazing as always. You should do a photography tutorial! I'm glad to be getting back in touch with you; looks like I missed a lot of traveling in your life! It's going to take me a while to catch up! XOXO -Jess

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    1. thanks!! welcome back!!! i know i said that a zillion times but what's one more? :)

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    2. oh and i changed just because i wanted a name that i liked more lol alwayswithyoo wasn't really something i like!

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  18. ughh why cant people self reflect more and do more kindness than being absolute useless twats who think they are better than everyone else
    this kind of people annoy me so much ugh wouldnt want to encounter any during vacation! :(

    btw the sands and tiles look so beautiful i might really wanna kiss the ground haha!

    sydsense.blogspot.com

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  19. Omg these pictures gorgeous!! I'm so envious right now. And I totallyyyyyyyy agree with you about the d-bag tourists, they make me so upset and it's really hard to not let it bother me when they treat staff/locals/etc like dirt.

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