Sunday, January 1, 2017

Off we go to Playa La Meseta

We have had pretty weak wifi at our last couple locations which has made uploading pictures and videos quite a challenge. I gave up after 3 videos for this post. Hopefully it gets better the 2nd half of the trip!
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Sadly the time had arrived for us to leave our little oasis in the city and head out into the unknown (Dec 23rd)! The first order of business was figuring out getting on a bus to get to Barahona. Mike had done some research and found the bus company Caribe Tours, which offers services all around the country on big comfy buses. We got a taxi to the bus station, arriving an hour before the 9:45am bus to get tickets (which was supposedly plenty of time to get a seat). Because of the Christmas holidays though, it was already sold out! The next bus didn't leave until 1:30pm but we totally lucked out that there were enough people to fill a second bus that they added another and after some stressful waiting and some pushing to get on, we were pulling out of the station at 10:05am. Phew!
The bus ride itself was fine. The buses have large seats that are pretty comfy even though they are not always the cleanest. The girls sat together and I sat with Preston, leaving Mike on his own. He ended up next to a lady who was holding a baby on her lap and at one point she went to use the restroom and left her baby with Mike haha. We made it to Barahona though around 1:30pm.
We were off to spend the next 5 nights at the Hotel Panoramica on Playa La Meseta which was on the eastern coast of the Peninsula de Pedernales. The peninsula was originally a separate island, but tectonic movement pushed it into Hispaniola, closing the sea chanel that once ran from Port-au-Prince to Barahona and also creating some unique geographical features in the area.
The owner of the hotel, Norm, was able to come pick us up at the bus stop. He and his wife Joyce run the hotel and were able to time coming into town for supplies with picking us up. We stopped for some lunch and then squished in their car with all our stuff for the drive south to their beach house. I must admit I was getting a little nervous. Norm and Joyce were super nice but a little different and we quickly realized it was definitely a bed and breakfast and not a hotel (we were staying in rooms upstairs and they lived downstairs), but as soon as Mike and I were shown our room with a gigantic balcony overlooking the pool and ocean I knew we would survive :-).
The kids could not wait to get to the beach so we quickly changed into swim suits and were off. Out our gate and just a quick walk down a little path popped us out near a little cove that was protected from some of the more powerful waves and had a nice area for us to hang out. The beaches on this coast are all dramatically gorgeous but not the soft sand some may expect, they were almost all little pebbles. I loved the scenery enough that the pebbles didn't bother me very much, plus I knew we had plenty of time on sandy beaches ahead of us.
We got back to the house to try out the pool and the kids were thrilled that there were enough balls for them to each have one to play with...I love how these little things became such big deals to them so quickly!
After talking with Norm by the pool a bit we decided to head out for dinner before it got too dark and experienced our first walk into the little town. It wasn't a town town, but had a couple colmados for snacks and drinks, a little restaurant and a few hotels further down that also had restaurants. Norm had recommended a particular restaurant and we were having a hard time finding it despite a couple of very friendly locals trying to help us. So after walking back and forth a couple times (past the same people of course who probably thought this family of gringos was hysterical :-), including one lady who fell in love with Preston and told him she wanted to take him home. The second time we walked by her he got a little nervous and told her NO! while waving his little finger. As we walked off he pumped his little fist in the air too haha, it was hilarious and adorable), we decided to try the little restaurant, Restaurant Don Manuel. It was surprisingly good and super cheap!
In typical DR fashion service was slow and it ended up getting super dark while we were there. As we were finishing up our meal Norm showed up and told us he didn't want us trying to walk back in the dark so he had come to find us. I think after that we all knew we were in good hands despite any personality quirks :-) and looking very much forward to exploring this region of the island!
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Pool Videos
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Off to walk to dinner...
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