Travel Article: Punta Cana, D.R. By Andrew LUdwick

In my freshman spring break my family and I traveled down south to the Dominican Republic. The city where we stayed was the capital, Punta Cana. When we arrived in the airport I was amazed by the beauty and openness of it as a whole. When the plane pulled around to depart from the plane, my family and I looked out the windows at a tropical scene of palm leaf covered buildings. When we walked off the plane escalator we were met by the heat of the tropical sun accompanied by the refreshing caribbean breeze. The image I have of those first steps in Punta Cana are that of a vacation advertisement; The thatched roofed bag check, vacationing people claiming their bags, and all of it backed by a Turquoise Blue sky. The tagline would say, “Paradise Awaits, Right off the Plane.” The security in the airport was minimal and like nothing I had ever seen. A line of people exiting the plane simply picked up their bags and left.

The resort we stayed at had a shuttle that picked up guests at the airport. My family and I were picked up by the shuttle and taken through the outskirts of the city on our way to the resort. The city was run down and battered. It looked like what one would imagine a middle eastern city to look like after a bombing. The scenery changed dramatically when we pulled in front of the resort. The vegetation was abundant, the sky was as blue as the ocean, and the buildings were beautifully exotic. The van we arrived in cruised through the resort until we reached the front entrance.

I entered the front doors to the resort and entered a massive atrium filled seats and couches. I should have taken this as a sign because it took my parents 45 minutes to check us into our room. My brother and I desired to venture off and explore the area while we were getting checked in. But first my brother needed a drink. He was 18 at the time and had been excited about the trip for months. He expressed his interest for a drink by asking for two beers and putting the extra in his back pocket until he finished chugging the first. When he pulled the second beer from his back pocket took a seat at the bar and turned to look at the scene. I was seated to his right and looking at the same view from the bar. The pool at the bottom of the scene filled with loud children and their parents, above the pool tall apartment buildings rose.

For the first two or three days I had a strange feeling like I couldn't explain to anyone at the time. I asked my brother if he had a similar feeling. Of course it's hard to agree over something that can't even be explained but he did. He told me that it was because we were in a foreign country and that we weren't used to seeing people from Europe, or the Caribbean, or Asia. But that wasn't it, I see people from other countries and different ethnicities every day how could it be any different by being in a foreign country. As best I can describe the feeling was like being away from home. This was the first time I left the United States in my life and the strange feeling may have been caused by homesickness.

All my life when my family and I travel on vacations we always go to places with great food. We wouldn't plan our trips only on the food but our destination always had great local dishes. In New Orleans we ate beignets, gumbo, and crawfish; in New England we ate chowder, lobster, and clams. But in our vacation to Punta Cana we had to eat the worst food I've ever had in my life at the resort. The resort offered a number of restaurants to eat at, all inclusive. My dad ordered ravioli at the Italian restaurant and got Chef Boyardee; when we went to the American restaurant my ribs had been cooked over the grill so the outside of the meat was burnt like a pale man sleeping on a beach. And every morning we began our day with the worst food, breakfast food. Because their was no adequate substitute to the breakfast food I had no other options for my morning meals.

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