Monday, January 25, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This morning at 9:00am we were back at the “Casa de Huestpedes”. This time we were meeting with 10 other senior missionaries that work in the Temple and have other callings. While the Temple is closed for cleaning the Temple missionaries have two weeks of vacations. They’ve planned a 3 day 2 night trip to a resort town called Samana. They invited Hna. Johnson & I to go along with them. Yahoo! We’ve been looking forward to a short “Vacation” for 6 months.

“La Tambora Beach Resort” is way out on the end of the Samana Peninsula on the Northwest corner of the Island of Hispaniola. It should have taken us about 3 to 4 hours to get there had we driven straight through but we took a lot of side trips that added about 3 hours to the drive. We drove through several little towns where some of the senior couples are assigned to attend their Sunday meetings. They strengthen the branches there and help them with the music or teach classes, etc. Some of these small towns are 2 hours away from Santo Domingo and the senior couples make the trip every Sunday morning. They are all very dedicated and hard working Elders & Sisters.

One of our side trips was to the town of “Las Terrenas” on the north coast. We stopped there to eat lunch at a nice little open air restaurant. We were right across the street from the Atlantic Ocean. It was beautiful beach and a nice “photo-op”. The food was great and very inexpensive. We averaged about USD$6.00 each.

Our check in time at “La Tambora Beach Resort” was at 3:00pm. After we got settled in we all changed and headed down to the beach but only a couple of us went in the ocean. Elder Bowcut and I were the adventurous ones and had a very good time in the surf. I actually caught several very large waves and body surfed all the way in. Although one of those big waves caught me off guard and it drove me into the sand. It was still fun being tumbled and pummeled in the surf. I had a good time. Hna. Johnson stayed on the beach and took lots of pictures. She had a good time too.

This evening dinner was served at 7:30pm. It is late but this is the typical Dominican dinner time. The price of all meals at the resort are included in the room rate which is only USD$50.00 per person per day. The meals are all Buffet style, All-You-Can-Eat, which is a bad thing as I’m trying to watch my waist line!

After dinner we all gathered around one of the tables and played games. The Bowcuts taught us a new card game called “Golf”. We played nine holes and the lowest score wins. It was fun.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This morning we slept in and took it easy. Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 10:30 so there was no hurry. But it was All-You-Can-Eat again so I know I’m going to be on a real diet when we get back home. And it was all great food, especially since it is traditional Dominican. We had boiled potatoes, sausages, salami, backed tomato slices, fresh papaya, pineapple, and ham with veggies omelets. It was all very good. I thought I would never say this but I love their raw sweet onions they put in everything. They put this white diced onion in the omelet I had for breakfast and it was Mmm Goood!

After breakfast Hna. Johnson and I were off to the beach and I took the opportunity to go out and snorkel for an hour and a half. There is no coral reef here so there wasn’t much to look at except for sand and rocks. But I did find schools of tropical fish among the rocks. I just enjoyed the ocean and the chance to go snorkeling again.

However…. Snorkeling in waves and surf, bobbing up & down and sloshing back & forth carries a price tag for me. After an hour and a half I was “sea sick” with a massive head ache. But I felt much better after taking two Aleve soft gels and a nap.

This afternoon the whole group of us headed back to town for a fun shopping trip at all the local gift shops (tourist traps). Hna. Johnson and I window shopped but didn’t buy anything. It was fun though because Hna. Johnson is making a list of fun things she plans to buy for the grandkids when we finish our mission a year from now. We did make one purchase though, at the “Bon Ice Cream” shop. Yah… we love Bon ice cream.

This afternoon Hna. Johnson has started reading a book. She likes it a lot and she’s already a fourth of the way through it. She said it’s a lot easier read than technical instructions for IMOS! She really needed to get some free time away from the office to relax and recharge her batteries. This trip has been great for her.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

After breakfast eight of us piled into the van and were off to “Salto de Limon” (Lemon Falls). Along the way our guide, Carlos, had us stop at a cool little shack where a nice Dominican lady sells jewelry. But more interesting to me was her outdoor kitchen with an “Earthen Stove.” In front of her house she was drying cocoa beans and coffee beans. She showed us the large wooden grinders she uses to make real ground coffee and real homemade chocolate. It was very interesting.

It took us almost an hour to drive to the staging area where we put on rubber mud boots, mounted our horses to begin the 40 minute ride to the falls. The trail was either very steep uphill or very steep downhill. The horses knew the trail well so they had no problem. The horseback ride was quite an adventure for us.

The forest/jungle that we rode through was awesome. It was very picturesque and beautiful, I felt like we were riding through a scene from “Indiana Jones” or “Jurassic Park.” There weren’t very many flowers because it is winter. (However in the Dominican Republic winter means the weather all morning was great.)

We did see some very interesting sights along the trail though. Our guide pointed out a couple of wild Cocoa Bean trees growing in the jungle. At one point our guide plucked a small rock off of the side of the slope next to the trail. He handed it to me and in English said “Here is a fossil for you.” Sure enough it was a fossilized clam. When I looked closer the exposed soil beside the trail was full of them. Later on the trail I started noticing fruit hanging from wild trees growing in the jungle. My suspicions were confirmed by our guide. They were Orange and Grapefruit trees covered with ripe fruit. He ran out into the jungle and picked a huge ripe Grapefruit for Hna. Johnson. I can’t wait to help her eat it when we get back to the capital.

When we got to the end of the horse trail we had to hike down a very steep, muddy and slippery hill another hundred yards or so to get to the falls. The falls were great, all they were promised to be. Several of us went swimming in them. One of the guides took Elder Bowcut and I back behind the falls to a hidden cave. To get to it we had to swimming though the water as it plummeted into the pool. The water was hitting our heads so hard it burned our ears. The cave’s opening was only a few inches above the water but it opened up into a large opening about 15 feet deep and about 3 feet high. The water depth there was about 9 feet deep. We had a great time.

We stayed at the falls and swam for about 30 minutes. But then it was time to head back up the hill, mount our horses and start back to the trailhead. We were under a little time constraint because we needed to be back to the resort, eat our lunch, pack and checkout by 3:00pm.

Back on the road home we drove straight back to the capital without taking any side tours. Our trip back only took 3 hours. Going and coming we rode with Elder and Hna. Roberts in their mission car. They live at the “Casa de Huespedes.”

Before leaving the “Casa de Huespedes” where our car was, Hna. Johnson designed 3 flower arrangements for Pres. & Sis. Hendricks, the Dominican MTC President. Last week Sis. Hendricks asked Hna. Johnson to design some arrangements for the MTC’s inspection and review by Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve tomorrow. Yah…. Hna. Johnson was delighted to help. She really enjoyed making the floral arrangements for Sis. Hendricks. They looked great.

1 comment:

  1. I love the photos and details of your journeys. You are both wonderful examples of living the gospel and having fun doing it!