As a parting gift my employer gave me a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic with a stay at the Dreams Palm Beach Resort.
On the trip it seemed as if I was being profiled at the airports. Upon Leaving Sacramento after passing through the metal detector I was diverted to the side where my palms and shoes were wiped down with a little flat pad. The pad was then inserted into a device with a digital graph display. My readout was basically a flat line at the bottom so I was allowed to proceed. I was also singled out for a pat down and swiped with a hand-held detector at the Atlanta and at Punta Cana airports. On the return trip, at JFK in New York, after passing through the X-Ray booth I was asked to step aside - they needed to check my leg! I was wearing shorts so my leg was clearly visible, but they proceeded to run their hands up and down my leg and squeeze it a couple of times until they were convinced it was real.
Upon arriving in Punta Cana we were directed to Immigration, a room with about 1,000 people standing in lines to get their passports checked. This is not an exaggeration! Fortunately we had pre-purchased our tourist cards so we were able to bypass about 1/3 of the crowd. After about 45 minutes we were able to board the shuttle but had to wait another half hour for the remaining people on the tour.
The only time I had a window seat was on the flight from Atlanta to Punta Cana.
This is an industrial area of Atlanta near the airport.
Little Boxes made of Ticky Tacky
Cumulus clouds over the Caribbean
Grand Turk Island
The Beach at Dreams Palm Beach
We had planned on kayaking, sailing and snorkeling however with what was tropical storm Matthew at the time churning up the sea and blowing a constant stiff wind we had to pass on all of those activities. Even at the beach, well inside the barrier reef the waves kept the ground crews busy removing the seaweed from the usually pristine white sand beach. At the left edge of the photo is one of the beach peddlers hawking their wares. Though persistent, there weren't as many as I have experienced in Mexico.
Palm frond umbrellas at the beach.
The waves crashing over the barrier reef can be seen in the distance t the left edge of the photo.
One end of the large swimming pool which extends throughout the center of the resort.
Another view of the main pool.
The wind was constant at 30mph and above.
The meditation hut was overseen by a Buddha made of some translucent material.
Buddha at night - rather strange in my opinion.
Garden of the Gods at night. One of the Gods can be seen seated on the lower right.
Each complex of four residence buildings had its own pool.
Our patio was by the light near the right side of the photo.
In the distance is one of the lounges.
Another night shot of the grounds. The main building with shops and restaurants is in the distance.
To the right is a stage where bands played on some nights and they had Karaoke on other nights.
Saturday was Burger Festival day with a Burger Buffet on the beach and a local band.
The burgers were descent and the band was very good, covering many older popular songs.
Sunday morning, our last day there, the storm clouds began rolling through. Matthew was now a Category Five hurricane with the eye passing a couple hundred miles south of our location, although the edge of the cloud shield was very close to us.
The next day it had turned north and was passing just west of Haiti where it did extensive damage and dumped 23" of rain on the Dominican Republic.
Some of the many flowers around the grounds.
I had recently bought a set of extension tubes for my camera to take macro closeups of the flowers and whatever else I might find. However, due to the wind, I was never able to use them. As it was I had to set my camera to take multiple shots each time to get at least one that was in focus since the subjects were moving around so much.