I remembered very well how much I had enjoyed every trip down South. Whether it was to Bermuda, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, the Virgin Islands, Martinique, San Lucia, the Florida Keys... I loved them all and cannot honestly recall a bad experience in any of them.
My joy in this trip, revolved mainly on how my better half would enjoy her initial introduction to this wonderful climate. Notably in December... I was not disappointed. We stayed at the Bavaro Princess All-Suites Hotel and Casino. The resort itself was immaculately well maintained, the grounds were beautiful and well laid out, the food was superb and never-ending, the staff was friendly and courteous, and the beach... Aaaaahhhh, my God the beach. It stretched on forever, soft sand with a hint of pink to it, marvellous turquoise waters which maintained a constantly ideal temperature for swimming or wading... and it wasn't overly crowded. It was simply paradise. I know that some people need a full daily agenda to keep them happy. They need parasailing, skydiving, shark wrestling, aerobics and limbo classes... and that's just in the forenoon.
I'm not anywhere near that hard to please. Give me the ocean, the beach, the occasional cold drink to keep me hydrated... and I promise I'll be as happy as the proverbial clam. If I wanted to do all kinds of running around, I'd do it here at home, fer chrissakes! I have learned how to relax over the years. Don't get me wrong, it's taken a while... but I finally got it cased. I was pleased to see that my wife was following my lead. Not once did she come up with any renovation suggestions for our room. Briefly put, she loved the experience as much as I had hoped she would. She is now a convert. A firm believer in the mantra: "I can't believe we haven't done this before now!! Omigod!! We have to come back here!!!"
We walked for miles every day during the week we were there. Good thing too, as we did so love sampling the twenty-some-odd desserts they made available every evening, to say nothing of the delicious 'huevos revueltas con jamon' I invariably had for breakfast each morning... "y dos café con leche, por favor!" The pair of us have totally different tastes when it comes to food, yet we never failed to find something we loved on the menu. Between the many local dishes, fruits, vegetables and of course desserts, which were available daily at the main buffet restaurant, there was never a shortage of good tasty food.
There is something sinfully delicious, even other-worldly if you're Canadian, about walking along a sun-drenched beach in the month of December, while fully cognizant of the fact that back home in Ontario... they're getting their ass kicked by yet another snow storm. No matter how you do it, or what you might have to pass up to get there, it is something that as a human being, you owe yourself if only once during your lifetime. But be warned... it's kinda like sex. Once will definitely not be enough for you...
However if you were to ask either one of us, the highlight of the trip was the people we met. The staff were affable, friendly beyond belief. I can recall a time when folks in my neighborhood were something like that... but clearly things have changed a bit since then. I can't see how some people look at resort staff like their personal slaves. We are in their country as visitors. They work incredibly long hours for little pay, yet are the kindest folks you could hope to meet.
We made some real friends down there and we both look forward to going back, hopefully next winter. In the meantime, we have plenty of photos and memories to keep us warm for the time being, but hey... they can only hold us for so long. You really gotta be there in person to fully appreciate it!