Seven days, three pools, six à la carte restaurants, endless beaches that baffle the mind with beauty, 81 guests and one radio DJ.
Those are the numbers this year on the StarJet with Marlin Travel and 94.7 Star-FM this year.
As you read this, we’re into the final couple of days of a magnificent week, that was truly a big surprise for me. Having been to both Cuba and Jamaica, the Dominican wasn’t really "on my radar" until Marlene Kirton found the perfect spot for StarJet.
The Ocean Blue Punta Cana is truly a gem on the island, and its beauty is truly amazing. No wonder "The DR" has been scouted for two blockbuster movies over the past couple of decades. Jurassic Park was filmed here in the ’90s. (This summer, the movie will be re-released in 3D, so watch for it in theatres.) And our spot also played the role of Vietnam in the 1979 movie Apocalypse Now.
This week, everyone on StarJet felt like a movie star! From Tuesday night’s amazing garden cocktail party, where everyone dressed in their finest summer gear and danced under the starts with an open bar and "Jack Michael", ironically a dead-ringer Michael Jackson impersonator, to the ’70s party where everyone brought a costume featuring their favorite ’70s icon, music star, movie star, or in my case BABY. (I wore a sash that had 1973 on it. I mean, after all I was BORN in the ’70s. Not much I can actually remember from that decade!)
Every day was something different.
Yesterday was an amazing snorkeling experience and today it’s all just sitting in the sun. It’s been another legendary week.
Some of the things I’ve learned while here:
Christopher Columbus is buried here. Not sure where the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria are, but CC is somewhere on the island. I still have time to check a used boat lot for his ships right?
The national sport of the Dominican Republic is baseball. Dominicans make up a larger percentage of players in Major League Baseball than any country outside of North America. Now I didn’t see any baseball stadiums, but I did see some stick ball being played in the street. I asked to play, but they just looked at me and laughed. I think they said in Spanish, "This ain’t no hockey game, tubby."
Baseball down here is like hockey at home — at one point or another every young person wanted to play professionally. Just as our garages are filled with hockey sticks, their closets are filled with baseball gloves.
Two experiences were completely unique to this year’s tour for me, and they were the temperature of the ocean water (truly like a bath tub and baby blue water — incredible) and the booze known as "MAMA-Juana" (pronounced similar to Marijuana but with the connotation that "mama" would be interested in her husband drinking this stuff). Made of rum, red wine and honey, they soak herbs and tree bark in the bottle so it looks quite disturbing. What is impressive is what this liquor is known the world for. Apparently it is the "Viagra of the Dominican" before Viagra was even discovered.
Now we did try it and everyone’s experience initially was different, but I tell you, you certainly know you’re comfortable travelling with people when you start talking about the effects of something that supposedly helps with enhancement in the bedroom.
We even thought a neat idea for one of our Survivor challenges would be for all the married guys on the trip to drink nothing but this rum concoction all day, with each couple "holding out" to see who could go the entire day without having some "sexy time." (Sounds like a Dominican Seinfeld episode.)
Anyway, the idea was a bust, since it was discovered the stuff actually works and the challenge would be unreasonable. The discussion quickly turned from "did it work" to "how do we get a bottle of this stuff home? Now I don’t plan on bringing any home, since I don’t want customs taking away my rum, and really, it was an experiment anyways. But be forewarned, if it looks like guys are taking bananas from the resort buffet and putting them in their pocket for a snack later, that aint no fruit. No wonder they are so darn happy.
According to research group in the UK and their "Happy Planet Index," DR is tops. It’s a survey that looks for countries with the most content people. Surveying 143 countries, the Dominican Republic recently ranked second. Each year this little island country makes the top of the list, so move over Disney. The DR is one of the happiest places in the world!
Certainly one of the best StarJet vacations ever!
JOKE THIS WEEK
A man was walking along a deserted beach one day and found a strange looking bottle lying in the sand. He looked up and down the beach and didn't see anyone who might have dropped it, so he decided to open the bottle. A powerful genie appeared and thanked the man for letting him out of his magical cage.
The genie said, "I am so grateful to get out of that bottle that I will grant you a wish. BUT, I can only grant one." The man thought for a while and finally said, "I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I've never been able to go because I cannot stand flying in an airplane, and boats tend to make me claustrophobic. So for my wish, I want a road to be built to Hawaii."
The genie thought about the road for a few minutes and finally said, "No, I don't think I can do that. Just think of all the work involved. Consider all the piling needed to hold up a highway and how deep they would have to go to reach the bottom of the ocean. Just imagine all the pavement needed. No, I'm sorry, but that is just too much to ask."
The man thought for a few minutes and then decided on his second choice. The man said, "There IS one other thing I have always wanted. I would like to be able to understand women. What makes them laugh and cry, why are they temperamental, and why are they so difficult to get along with. Basically, I'd like to know what makes them tick."
The genie pondered the request for a moment, and finally said, "So, do you want two lanes or four?"
Linda Mae Gill