Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the good, the bad and the ugly...part 2

today: the bad...

So our annual summer vacation brought us first to Montreal for a few days where we usually stay at the in-laws. Its a smaller home with not all that much for the kids to do. Thank god for a local park to let them burn some steam off. Except when it pours rain... all day. Then there's not much to do and they can get all fidgety and rambunctious. So we had to come up with outings to get them out of the house.

We had promised them we'd go to La Ronde. We woke up that first day to major clouds and a forecast of heavy rains for the afternoon. Darn. We decided to go anyways. We arrived right at 10:30 when the doors opened. Because of the ugly weather, not many people showed up so there were absolutely no lineups. We got to go on so many rides! First it was drizzling but by the end it was cold and POURING. By the time we went back home we were all soaking wet and freezing. The next day, the torrential rains continued. So we all went to to this exhibit. Again, because of the rain, loads of people decided to go to this indoor activity. So we had close to a 3 hour wait to get in. We had lunch, checked out the other attractions at the Science Center. The exhibit, as controversial as it is, proved to be totally fascinating.

Our flight was leaving from Montreal at 7 am. We had to get up at 3 am to make it to the airport at 4 am. Made for a long day of traveling and some pretty tired people. When we arrived, the heat and humidity hit you like a ton of bricks which didn't help with the grumpiness. As soon as you arrive, the quest for your almighty American dollars starts. They take a picture of you (which they will sell for 8$US upon your return), if you go to the bathroom, there's a lady there expecting a tip. Some porter grabbed our bags before we had a chance to say no and had to tip him too. When we finally made it to the hotel, of course our room wasn't ready. Happens often and I was prepared, hence why I packed my bathing suit and the kids' in my carry-on. Big sis and hubby didn't. Well, we got changed, grabbed a lunch and went to the beach right away. They sat in the lobby moping.

I knew hubby was tired and needed to relax. But often when you're that tired, it takes a while to unwind. So for the first 3 days, he was tense and abrupt and complaining about this and that and made me secretly hope he wasn't around as he was ruining everyone's mood. I just ignored him, had fun with the kids and kept ordering "cervezas" for myself ;)

Big sis wanted to go on a banana boat ride: she didn't want to go alone and hubby was in a pissy mood, so I volunteered. It was nuts. She had a blast, I was petrified. During the last turn, her and I were ejected into the ocean which hit me hard on the left side of head. I ended up with a black eye. Looked like someone punched me so I got quite a few stares over the week. Its now at that yellow stage.

Big sis has been to a few horseback riding camps over the years. So I promised her we'd go to this excursion where you get to ride horses on the beach. We get the information, we pay up. We meet the person we've been talking to at the lobby and they get us on a bus which already has a few other people on it. Its an open back kind of bus and the driver is enclosed in a cab up front. They told us it was a 15 minute ride, which by Dominican time I was expecting to be 30 minutes. Next thing we know, the other people with us get dropped off at some other hotel and then its just big sis and I. This guy is going fast. We have no clue where he is going. We can't talk to him. He's on his cell phone in the enclosed cab, big sis and I can barely hear each other talk cause of the noise of the wind. We are driving through little villages filled with colorful little homes were the chickens roam free. We are traveling through pastures with goats and sheep and cows and huge mountains in the background. As beautiful as it is, I'm starting to get a bit worried. Especially when an hour later he turns onto this really bumpy dirt road in what seems like a godforsaken place. My adrenaline is surging, I'm getting ready to fight or flight. But after a few minutes, we see the ranch and all the horses. BIG sigh of relief. The people there are really friendly. They get us acclimatized to our horses (poor things big sis says, not as well fed as our horses back home) and we start riding with 3 other people. We go through a bit of a tropical forest and end up on the beach where the horses, ecstatic for sure to get here, start going really fast. I'm hanging on (last time I did this was well over 25 years ago) but am also taking in the sound of the horse's breathing, the feel and the smell of the salt water splashing on me, the turquoise ocean and the sun setting. Its absolutely beautiful. Afterwards, they take us through a local village. A great learning experience for big sis. She got to see how local families live in little homes, with outdoor showers and all. A real eye opener for her. The cutest little kids waving at us. She just wanted to go over and hug them all.

And the humidity, the humidity. Everything feels wet here. All the time. Books, money, bedsheets, everything always feels damp. And everything in the room has that faint musty/moldy smell to it. By the time we had to repack, some of our suitcases had a light coating of mold on them, ewwww. No wonder I've been washing for the pst 2 days just to get rid of taht smell which is on everything we brought.


BeachMama said...

Well, the good definately sounded really good. And the Bad, it reminds me of why I am terrified to bring my kids on a trip that far South. The cultures are so different and although I loved it when single and with Hubby, I am not sure I would enjoy it with the kids.

Sorry to hear of your black eye and I hope your Hubby was able to unwind enough to finally enjoy himself. The same happens here sometimes. It takes all week for him to unwind then it is time to start for home.

As for the mold and dampness, I know it's freaky. You just want to put the suitcases in the wash themselves. My girlfriend leaves hers outside in the garage for a few days without unpacking, but I guess with it being summer that isn't possible.


Sounds like a real adventure!

nancy said...

A black eye! Oh no!!

I can relate to that everything smelling moldy/musty...back from a week in Cape Cod and even the things we didn't wear were smelly. And yes, by mid-week the bed sheets (OUR bed sheets brought from home) felt wet all the time.

Towels on the clothesline? Never dried all week.

nancy said...

yet a horse back ride on the beach at sunset sounds very inviting...even though I am terrified of horses.