So, as I mentioned in "days 3 & 4", we decided to forgo the beach Sunday morning to make sure we did what we really came to DR to do. I'm glad we did that. On Sunday we were able to get in touch with someone who has an apartment that he rents out... and, if all goes well, we would love for it to be our future home. We're still in the process of that... so I know more information will come soon.
Since we were able to do that on Sunday, now it was time for some fun! First stop: Playa Rincon. Definitely the most beautiful beach I've ever been to... and rated one of the best beaches in Dominican Republic.
Oh, oh, oh..... Lovely!!!
The pictures do not do it justice.
We had a private driver for 600 pesos (about $13.50 per person) to drive us to and from the beach (about a 35 minute drive). He also hung around while we were at the beach and was ready to take us anywhere else we were interested in going. We got to the beach around 10:00AM and stayed until 4pm. We went with Javier Velez, who was visiting DR for a month and going to help out in the ASL congregation there. And with Ingrid France, this was her first 'without the kids' vacation (She LOVED it!!)
At lunch time, we ate right on the beach. Somehow, it just tastes better when you're on the beach! Jon had a 'Coco Loco' (Crazy Coconut). They chopped the top part of a coconut off, add some crema de coco and rum. Top it off with a straw, and ENJOY!
After lunch, we drove to the other side of Playa Rincon. Stayed for another hour or so.
After getting back, we visited with some of the friends to say 'good bye', since the next day we were going to Santiago to meet up with some other friends of ours. We miss everyone from the Samana Congregation... but can't wait to be there once again!
We got up pretty early to catch a 'guagua' (bus) from Samana to Santiago.
Let me tell you.... I was about to have a heart attack thinking about that guagua ride. From what some of the friends told me, the bus company packs out these smaller buses (which in actuality are more like bigger van than busses). I was not going to be happy with complete strangers being a little too close for comfort. However, when we got to the bus stop, it was gonna be all right :) FYI - If you need to take a guagua, make sure to ask that the its a bigger bus - "La guagua mas grande" - then you will be sure to have a more comfortable ride. They don't pack out these busses. Whew!!!!
I can't believe I didn't take pictures of the bus, or of the ride... It was a pretty long drive to Santiago; just a little over 4 hours. The reason it's such a long drive is because there are not actual highways to get from Samana to Santiago. So we're going through small towns and different "pueblos" and some farms too. So I caught up on some sleep :)
When we got to Santiago we met up with our dear friends Dianna & Ruben Alvarez - a couple from Nashville that have moved to DR as need-greaters. They've been there for almost 7 months (even though they are back in the states right now, working and getting ready for their trip to Estonia for the Special Convention later this summer!!! They do plan on returning to DR before October. (You can follow their adventure here!).
So after our journey to Santiago, we met with Dianna & Ruben!! It was so nice seeing them. We had a yummy lunch - and went back to their apartment for a little bit before heading out to Villa Gonzalez Assembly Hall for the Family Watchtower Study.
What an amazing experience!! I will never forget it. We met so many new friends and other need greaters who gave us so much information. I am so glad we were able to go.
Here's something that was a special treat.... Our friends, Dianna & Ruben, had been assigned to work at the Assembly Hall for the last few months, so they were able to attend morning worship and family study. During this time, they have really been able to form close bonds and great friendships with these brothers and sisters. So, after family study, some of the friends had written a special poem for them, as well as a few others from the crew, because their assignment was ending. It was so nice to see how much they mean to each other, and how close they really all are.