At the risk of forfeiting any future travel with my amazing in-laws, I really need to get this story down in a blog.
Last year, Kari, her family, and I started planning a vacation to the caribbean. We'd narrowed it down to a few non-U.S. islands. So needless to say, we all had to make sure our passports were in check. Kari's dad, being the world traveler that he is put a lot of stress on making sure we got this done ASAP... possibly bundled with a few snarky remarks.
Fast-forward to March.
On the 10th we woke up and took the shuttle to O'Hare, super stoked to finally escape our cruel winter and relax in the sun together. Once at ORD, we cruised through premier access and Kari's dad started scanning our passports in to check-in.
The machine won't give us our tickets... So we ask a united rep for some help, he takes a look and says, "it looks like one of your passports is expired, Mr. Reynolds." It was Kari's dad's passport that had expired, by just over a month.
So we scramble and sort of freak out a bit. Tears almost come from a couple girls' faces. What do we do? Is there anywhere in O'Hare we can go for Passport extensions? What do we do? Should we get on a random flight to another warm place in the U.S? Kari's dad asks if we want to hang out in Chicago for a week. Kari does not like this.
So, Kari and I got on the flight while Jeff and Teresa ran around Chicago trying to get something figured out.
Shortly after we landed and got checked into our resort, we got a call from Kari's dad to tell us that after running all over downtown Chicago and some extremely lucky timing, they got his passport renewed and had a flight booked first thing the next morning. We toasted and spent the rest of the evening relaxing.
This was my second time on Hispaniola island, first time in the Dominican Republic, and the 5th caribbean island I've been to. The country itself was definitely more developed and a bit less tropical looking than others I'd been to, or at least the Punta Cana area was. But the beaches, weather, ocean, and resorts were absolutely beautiful.
So basically, almost every day went like this: wake up, eat, beach, ocean, eat, pool, eat, cigars, sleep, repeat... all while sipping on fruity cocktails, presidente beer, cognac, and wine of course. It was straight gluttony.
And aside from commuting to and from the airport, we only left the resort once to drive dune buggies around. And it was awesome. After a couple laps around a test track, we took off cruising down the streets of the Dominican Republic to the beautiful Macao Beach. Here, we were greeted by excited locals, swam for a minute, and enjoyed the public beach. After that, we got to cruise around some rough dirt roads to a small, local coffee roaster and then onto a cave that we got to swim inside. It was a blast.
Along our route we passed lots of small villages with lots of excited children. The older ones all wanted high fives as we drove by while the little ones sat back and waved. There were also a few random horses tied to trees like dogs, donkeys just walking freely down streets, and locals riding 3 deep on the tiniest scooters. The contrast between our resort and the small rural villages outside of it were quite something.
There's not really a whole lot more to say that our photos haven't already told themselves...
It was great to get away and bask in the sun with family. We all needed it... and it blows my mind that we were able to mostly dodge the passport bullet and get everyone down there. It made for a great story.