"Beige or white, beige or white?" This is the question that I was asking myself prior to the day of departure. I had exactly one more hour left until we had to leave to go to the hotel near the Philadelphia airport and get ready for the flight that was leaving in the morning. Unable to come to a conclusion, I threw the beige shirt into my bag and packed the rest of my necessities for the trip frantically. Before I knew it, I would escape from the harsh snow, and be in the beautiful warm climate of the Dominican Republic.
After a rough flight and a few bags of nasty peanuts, we finally arrived in paradise. As I stepped off the plane and squinted my eyes at the sun, I knew this would be the vacation of my dreams. Once my family and I had passed through the airport of the Dominican Republic, we then entered an assigned bus that was assigned to us by the association we planned our vacation with. Nearly an hour passed, and I already felt that I got an enormous amount of exposure to the completely different culture of the Dominicans. As the "Apple Vacations" bus pulled up to our resort, we were greeted with blue and red smoothies. Relieved that we arrived safely, my parents let out a sigh of joy, and our vacation began.
Remembering what the photos looked like online, I was overwhelmed with excitement and anxious to go view everything immediately. Not giving my parents time to unpack, I insisted that they come and view the resort with me. As soon as we walked out of our room and down the stone steps of the villa, my mom's eyes widened at the site of the pool--or was it the pool bar! Our first day consisted of mainly relaxing by the pool and soaking in the sun, but as the day came to an end we were invited by Apple Vacations to go and view an excursion seminar in the morning. That night in our room we discussed the idea of excursions, and
came to the conclusion that it wouldn't hurt to go and attend the sales pitch that would be thrown at us.
The next morning I made sure that everyone remembered that we had to wake up early to go and see which excursion we would decide on doing. My mom and I entered the extremely hot room that consisted of a guy telling corny jokes to sell his excursions to tourists. Interested by many of the excursions there was one in particular that stood out to me, and it was the one that was labeled "Swim with the Sharks!” Hesitant at first, my mom finally gave in and even agreed that it would be an interesting story to tell, as long as we made it back. We scheduled the excursion to be two days later and during the afternoon.
Two days of receiving amazing cuisine and priceless experiences had passed, and it was finally the day that I was looking forward to the most. Once we received our daily breakfast from the buffet, my family and I headed to the bus to go and begin our excursion. When we got on the bus, the driver made many jokes about how the sharks may eat you and how you may not make it back. Gladly, everyone on the bus laughed these jokes off and was looking forward to the once in a lifetime experience. As i put on my life-jacket and snorkeling gear the boat began to stop at the location of the sharks. People began to jump in one at a time, and I was beginning to second-guess the idea of this trip. With a sense of fear, I jumped in the water and swam with a quick jolts of my feet thrusting through the water and heavy swipes of my arm that caused a splash. I remembered the many "Shark Week" series I had watched on the Discovery Channel in years passed; and thought of how most of the shark attacks happened, and it was caused through too quick of movement of the body in the water. I began to relax and ease up, I calmly swept through the water and looked down. I was amazed at the sight of seeing sharks that had brute force power on their side, but swam with such grace. Looking back I noticed my step-dad getting back on the boat because the snorkeling gear wouldn't stick to his face because of his beer. He didn't seem too disappointed though, because he sat down and received a nice cold "Presidente"(beer). Finishing the excursion with joy and utter amazement, my mom and I were amazed by the experience we had just received. Heading back to the hotel everyone was exhausted and ready to go to bed. Reminiscing on the thought of being in that extremely hot seminar room, I was knew it was all worth it.
Our last few vacation days were primarily focused on going to the beach, meeting people, and exploring the nightlife. Going to the Dominican Republic was the most amazing opportunity I have ever had. I got to appreciate the beauty and nature of the country, and shared amazing experiences with my family. If you're looking for an exciting vacation with extraordinary stories to tell when you get home, or to delve into the culture and beauty of a region, I highly suggest the Dominican Republic as your destination of travel.