Part 1

My loveley wife Stephanie and I went to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon in October of 2006. After a very early morning start, a semi-long flight to Puerto Rico and a RUN down the airport hallways to make our connecting flight, we finally arrived in Punta Cana. It was hot. We got off the plane and walked on the tarmac directly to the terminal, where women in overly garish outfits greet you and take your picture, as if you actually wanted that to happen. And then you stand in line for about 3 days. When you finally get through the lines and through customs, you come out into a completely different world. A world filled with four thousand cabdrivers who all swear they can get you a cheap fare. We picked a guy to follow and got on a pretty nice van and I talked the guy down a whole five dollars (master negotiator, am I). A short drive through the poor and rugged 'burbs (past a Burger King?!) and we are dropped off in front of our new home for the next week.
The Palladium Bavaro.

Hotel lobby. Open air and lovely. They take your bags and hand you a fruity drink within the first 10 seconds. Check-in was pretty painless.

Interior lobby. This was actually taken on our last day, when they were getting a massive busload of people for a convention or something. That's when they break out the fancy flowers.

The crazy reflecting pool/fountain/totem pole thingy in the middle of the lobby lounge area. Pretty cool. The back left area is where the house band would set up and play every night (horrible, karaoke versions of American pop songs) and the back right is one of the many, many bars.

As soon as you check in, they strap this wristband on you. Everybody who stays at this complex gets one (there are several hotels and restaurants on the "grounds" and you need it to use all the facilities that they share). Kind of annoying, but it's a lovely shade of blue. Taken in our spacious hotel bathroom.

We discovered the convenience of the round-trip train ride right away. These little buggers run 24 hours a day and go everywhere you need to go, and it's always free. They all had the same looped-music CD playing and we got to know the songs very well, much to our ear drums' dismay. This one is stopped outside the lobby. Those are rolled-up rain flaps on the top, which came in very handy!

They give you a map of the place and try to explain how to get to your crib, but you're pretty much on your own. Luckily there are big map signs all over the place helping you navigate. The bellhop shows up a few minutes afer you get there with your bags. We were in Villa 15, first floor.

The big yellow condo. Our room was just off to the right.

Our villa was right off the path near the pool! Sweet! Check out the hut over the wet bar. Awesome. Unfortunately, the pool closed every night at 7. They kept it pretty clean and there was a little area for pool volleyball and a couple of nearby whirlpools, too.

This was the actual path to the pool. Lovely.

Watch out for the slippery floor! Umm... wait, isn't that grass?

Pathways and grounds...

Dig the bilingual directional signs, with pictures! Just in case you were illiterate in both spanish and english; and/or dumb.

Part Two!