Thursday, 2020 March 19

We slept surprisingly well, given the craziness of the night before. As usual I was awake first, so I grabbed my phone and tried again to get a handle on what was actually happening with the Dominican borders. It turns out that nobody was allowed in, but they were allowing flights and ferries to enter specifically to return foreign citizens to their home countries. Whew - we were going to be able to go home.

We headed up to the breakfast buffet. It was a thin crowd, but in general everyone seemed to be in (possibly forced) good spirits. One of the servers was yet another Tigers fan, and the third out of four to mention Miguel Cabrera. He may be Venezuelan, but everyone in the D.R. seems to love him.

My sunburnt chin was looking much better, but now I was getting a bit of peeling skin around my mouth. We discovered this at breakfast when Krista kept trying to wipe the napkin residue off my face.

After breakfast we walked up to the lobby. We talked to Kary at the concierge desk - she was visibly exhausted, but was still extremely helpful. She answered a lot of our questions and (I thought) updated our ground transportation. She also called Claudio for us - he said he'd be at the hotel around 1230 and it would be easier to process refunds in person, so I said I'd see him then.

We came back to the room. Krista laid down to take a nap (apparently sleep never really came), while I caught up on computer stuff and worked on this blog.

After giving up on sleep Krista put on a swimsuit and headed out to our deck. I stayed inside for a while, until about 1215, then grabbed the tour tickets and headed up to the courtyard to wait for Claudio.

Claudio also appeared tired, but he was incredibly helpful. It turns out that the tour to Santo Domingo was the cheapest of the three that we had arranged; it was a total of $190, and we had a credit for $100 thanks to Costco. This meant that our refund was going to be the entire amount we paid, less the $90.

Claudio also insisted on setting up ground transportation, even though I told him a couple times that Kary had taken care of it. Now I'm a little worried that two vans will show up on Saturday.

That done, I headed back to the villa via the gift shop - I hadn't yet bought anything for Dad - but it was closed. I figured it was probably closed for good at this point.

Once I got back, I changed clothes and joined Krista out on the deck. She had been enjoying the sun and the occasional dip in the little private pool. We hung out together for most of the afternoon, until we both realized we were starting to get too much sun.

After we came in I called the front desk to find out what the dining options were - we were no longer getting a daily newsletter with that information. Our options were the steakhouse or the buffet. Choosing the steakhouse was kind of a no-brainer for both of us, even if we did need to dress up a bit.

The steakhouse didn't open until 1830, but we headed up to the Love Bar at about 1745. I had a beer - all of the "premium" beers are free for the next couple days to use up the stock - and we just chilled. A couple groups of people came through the bar; Krista had been getting a ghost town vibe earlier, so I think she felt better that there was still some life here.

Besides the people, there were birds (of course). These little guys were everywhere.

Once it hit about 1840, we moved towards the steakhouse. On the way we saw that the gift shop was open, so we ran into it. I got a carved wooden turtle for Dad. The woman behind the counter said it was the last day that any of the shops would be open.

The steakhouse was busier than I had expected. We had a nice meal - the spinach dip appetizer was good (we both suspected that they used Velveeta, given how smooth it was; not a complaint, just an observation), as was the rye bread they served. Krista (of course) had the filet, while I had a ribeye. The ribeye was very fatty - that seems to be the preferred serving style here (and I'm 100% okay with it). It was also very rare; I had ordered medium rare but I'm not too picky. I kept thinking of Dad, who likes his steaks as raw as he can get them.

The "red wine" they served wasn't great - it was theoretically a cab-sav, but it was very jammy, almost sweet. I hardly noticed after the first couple glasses though.

When we left we decided we should run through the convenience store to get some stuff. The clerk there also said it was the last day it would be open. I got a bottle of rum (I don't know why, I had joked earlier in the night that I always buy a bottle of rum as a souvenir and then never drink it), plus a couple bottles full of the barks and herbs necessary to make Mamajuana. We also grabbed a few miscellaneous things.

Back in the room, we went back to reading and relaxing.

Wednesday, 2020 March 18 Friday, 2020 March 20