Well we are back from our second honeymoon. Our first one was a few days in Paris. This one was a bit more exotic: two weeks in the Dominican Republic.
A nice place, but to be honest we were looking forward to the flight almost as much as the holiday. After suffering the bum-numbing experience of EasyJet A320s to Egypt for the last couple of holidays we were going for the comfort of a 787 Dreamliner this time, and even paid extra for the premium thing, since it was supposed to be a holiday of a lifetime.Luxury tends to make me uncomfortable. I know I am not better than other people, so I feel uneasy being treated as if I am, but I have to admit that bypassing the check-in queues, relaxing in a lounge before departure, boarding first and having massive seats was a lot less stressful than travel normally is.
We stayed in a hotel in Bavaro with the unfeasibly long name of the Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Don Pablo Collection, though I may have those words in the wrong order, and may have even missed some out. It was an all-inclusive package which really re-defined the term for us because it included all sorts of things that previous all-inclusive hotels have charged extra for.
For a start, there was free wifi, and not just in the lobby. It worked across the whole huge complex, even on the beach. It meant that Jayne could turn off data roaming and use WhatsApp calls to effectively make free phone calls home, so I shouldn’t get any nasty surprises with the next phone bill.
All the bars had table service, or sunbed service. Sit by the pool in the morning and somebody would come along with some iced tea and iced flannels.
Not that we took advantage of everything, but we had a safe, minibar restocked daily, room service, whirlpool bath, and the biggest bed in the world, and all sorts of other goodies.
Although the complex was huge, there was very little walking involved because of all the little golf carts that would give you lifts everywhere. In fact there were so many uniformed staff and electric vehicles whizzing around that it felt like being in Bond villian’s lair except that instead of sharks with laser beams the pool had a bar where you could swim up to get a pina colada.
The food was remarkable in quality, variety and quantity. We alternated between the buffet and the a la carte restaurants but even the buffet places had a really high level of service.
In the first couple of days I was so relaxed that I completely turned off. No laying by the pool and reading or thinking about work or the council or home or anything, I was literally thinking about nothing. I do not think I have ever managed to have my brain rest so completely.
Yes there was some rain. We knew it was getting into the hurricane season so were not surprised by this. Even had we not known, the fact that the room facilities included an umbrella would have tipped us off. There was one fairly big storm and a coupld of days with showers that soon passed, but everything dried up very quickly and mostly it was just hot. Hotter than we expected.
In a word association game, if somebody said ‘tropical’ to me I would answer ‘storm’ rather than ‘paradise’. It is just the association I have, so the few showers we had suited me fine. To be honest I was more worried that the inside of the bedroom door had the usual fire instructions supplemented by what to do in an earthquake, but fortunately we didn’t need to invoke them.
After a year of stress and anxiety about the wedding ceremony, we needed some serious relaxation and certainly got it. The only break in the routine was going out so Jayne could swim with dolphins, which was on her bucket list.
I think my only real regret about it all was the decision to go straight back to work the day after returning. I had not really thought about how difficult I might find it to readjust to the time zone change and get back to regular sleep patterns.
Actually there is one more thing: this was supposed to be the holiday of a lifetime, but we might find it hard to go back to the cheap and cheerful holidays were were used to.