Hello, We are currently relaxing in our hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We got off to an interesting start when our flight from Miami to San Juan got delayed by an hour and a half. We arrived in Puerto Rico right when the flight to Punta Cana was leaving so we couldn't make it. I spoke with an attendant to try to figure out a way to still get to the hotel that same night since we would not get a refund if we didn't arrive in time, but there were no other Punta Cana flights for that day and the only other one was at 1pm the next day. I asked about going to Santo Domingo (the capital of the Dominican Republic) and then getting a flight from there to Punta Cana, but the attendant said that all those flights were local and American Airlines didn't have a partnership with them so we were on our own once we got there. I asked her if she would give us a voucher for ground transportation from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana and she agreed. The ground trip would take 3 1/2 to 4 hours. The flight would leave in an our so we had to go get our bags from the baggage claim, check back in, and pray we had time to make it. Our luck we went down to get our bags and they didn't come out.
We went to the baggage counter and they told us the bags were on their way to Punta Cana in our original flight. By this time it was too late to catch the 5:45pm flight to Santo Domingo so we walked over to the ticketing counter (again) to see what our options were. There was another flight to Santo Domingo at 10pm. We decided to wait until that flight and figure out the rest once we got to Santo Domingo. The airline gave us the option to use a hotel voucher to stay overnight in Santo Domingo and then use a voucher for the ground transportation the following morning or go straight to Punta Cana when our flight landed at 11pm. As for our luggage, the plan was that we would pick it up at the Punta Cana airport. As we were walking out we ran into a couple we had met at the baggage claim that was in our same situation and they told us that they found their bags on the wrong carousel so we went to look found ours too.
Since we were in my hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico, I called my mom's brother, Ruben, and he came to pick us up. We made arrangements with my aunt Patribel (my mom's sister) and my uncle Pedro (her husband for dinner and when we got to their home they had the table ready to eat "chuletas" (Pork chops) and arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon beans). It was awesome! We then went to visit my cousin Jorge (Petribel's son) and his wife Joan, who just had a baby a month ago. I met his newborn Rafaella and his son Jorgito who is 2 years old. I'm actually glad that we got delayed since I had some time to visit part of my family.
We arrived at the airport in San Juan at 9pm and had no issues once we got there. We took the 45 minute flight from San Juan to Santo Domingo and Lovedy slept the whole way. Once we got there I was hoping there would be at least one more flight left to Puta Cana from one of the local flight operators. No such luck. The airport was all closed down. The only person who was there was one girl for American Airlines. I talked it over with Lovedy and we decided to go ahead and go straight to Punta Cana with the taxi they would provide. The guy who took us must have been in a hurry because we made in two and a half hours. Lovedy slept in the back seat the whole time. I felt I needed to stay up in case any funny business occurred. There was one time on the way that we had to cross a street and there were 5 armed guards with shotguns. I soon found out that they were the police. They stopped us and talked to the taxi driver, but they knew each other so we said hi and went on our way. It did feel weird for a second since it looked like one of those movies where the army stops you and something crazy happens, but thankfully nothing happened.
On the way I saw a lot poverty and low income neighborhoods, but once we got to the tourist section (after almost running into a few horses on the street) you could see all the nice hotel buildings. When we got to our hotel we were very pleased. It is super nice. Our room is way better than we expected. My parents hooked it up. The suite had a living room, dinning room, bedroom, Jacuzzi room, bathroom and patio.
Right now I'm getting the evil eye from Lovedy because I've been using the computerforever, but I think we should document our trip. The day is beautiful - sun, breeze, and great beaches. Hopefully the only thing we have to take care of today is figuring out which of the seven restaurants available in the hotel to dine in.
To check out the Hotel go to http://www.paradisuspuntacana.travel/ and to see our room go to suites and it is "THE RESERVE" suite on the lower right. Felix and Norma thanks again, we will fully enjoy these next few days. I'll post if anything else exciting happens, otherwise assume we are relaxing...
Lovedy has been passed out in the couch next to me the whole time it took me to write this.
-G (editing and some additions by Lovedy)