Today was our day in La Romana, Dominican Republic. I’ve been to the island of Hispaniola before but that was after the earthquake in 2010 and I was in Haiti. There are many similarities and at the same time some differences. Regardless of the differences, La Romana felt familiar. We pulled into port a bit later than scheduled but that was okay because the captain allowed us to stay an hour later. We had a question answer session this morning with Brad Tolken prior to pulling in. Brad is the CEO of World Travel Holdings which is our parent company. It’s always nice to hear the updates and things they have planned for us the next year.
The excursion we signed up for was a monkey excursion. It was an hour and ten minute drive from the port in Punta Cana. The port facility was pretty nice and there was a welcoming party on the pier. The cars were honking on the nearby bridge and it seemed like everyone was happy to see us.
We passed through the town of Higuey and it was typical of a small town in the Caribbean. There was poverty there but everyone was friendly and welcoming. Our tour guide, Frank, answered all of our questions and talked about life in the Dominican Republic. We stopped by the church in Higuey to take some pictures and they headed off into the countryside. It had rained the night before so the ride was pretty bumpy. There were several hillsides that had washed out. There were also a couple of bridges that needed lots of repair. Of course the driver handled it with no problem and we continued on. We did see lots of motorcycles on our way to our monkey adventure but the guy on the motorcycle with the toilet stood out. Yep you read that right. I have no idea how he managed it but here’s proof it happened.
The monkey adventure was in the middle of what I would describe as a mountainous jungle. There was vegetation everywhere. Water ran down the hills and into small creeks and it was admittedly a little muddy. We were split into small groups with our group being the adults only group. They have two alpha monkeys so each group went to a different enclosure. We got to see a mommy and baby. The monkeys are not shy especially when you have food. They played around us and ran around. They are messy eaters and have no sense of personal space. They’ll jump on your head, shoulder, whatever to get where they want to go. It was very serene there and the keepers genuinely care about the monkeys.
We left the monkey area and drove about 20 minutes to a farm where they make cocoa tea, coffee, and mamajuana (that is not a typo). On the way over we ran into a guy showing off snakes and a tarantula to tourists. Seriously there is just so much no here I can’t even begin to describe it.
We got to try each of them and they showed us how they processed the beans to make coffee and tea. They also let us try local fruit so I had star fruit for the first time. It was sour but pretty good. I enjoyed it. Of note: If you go on these trips and want to purchase souvenirs make sure you take cash. We had some but we really didn’t take enough. We bought some coffee which I’m looking forward to trying. We tried it there but they just let us try small shots of it.
We headed back to the port and by the time we got back we only had about 45 minutes to shop at the port facility. I bought some jewelry and a thimble for my mother. She has a very large thimble collection and finding one occasionally becomes a focus until we find them. It can be a bit of a challenge but we’re getting really good at spotting them. We don’t collect anything of note. Our house is a hodgepodge of things we saw and liked. Cory saw and liked a flamingo that one of the vendors was carving. That took the last of our money. No idea where that’s going to go. Cory bought a Toros baseball shirt. That was a highlight for him. Cory spent most of the trip talking baseball with Frank. Baseball is one of Cory’s favorite things. Rob Tejada and Alberto Castillo both played for the Toros.
We headed back to the ship and yet again had Guys Burger Bar. I’m thinking that will be lunch today. It’s beyond good. We watched sail away from the buffet dining room and had some ice cream for dessert. We hit the spa for about an hour after dinner and then I went back the to room to watch a movie. I was pretty tired. Fortunately we don’t get to Curacao until 1pm so we got to sleep in before we went to the vendor trade show. I needed it.