Dad’s First Vacation!

January 11th, I returned to the Dominican Republic after two and a half months in Maine.  My dad, who is 82 years old came back with me. It was his first plane flight in 60 years! The last time he was on a plane was from Augusta, GA to Oakland, CA in 1952.  He was on his way to Okinawa during the Korean war.  Plus, it has been his first real vacation.  He always had a couple of weeks off each year but he never really went anywhere.  It is so wonderful to be able to give my dad a “real vacation”.

As I write this, Dad has been here just a little over three weeks and he has been having a blast!  It isn’t as though we are doing a whole lot during the week.  It is just that we both really appreciate the quality time that we are able to have together.  It is truly a first for us and we are both savoring the time together like a fine wine!  You see, my parents were divorced when I was very young.  My dad was always there for me when I was growing up, but we never were able to really have such quality time as we are having now.  It truly is a gift and I am cherishing every moment!

David and I have enjoyed showing him what our lives are like down here. We have taken him to a couple of our favorite restaurants and beaches.  One weekend, David arranged for dad and me to have a tour of his project.  We went to the mine, arriving in the afternoon, for a tour of the mining process.  Before dad retired, he was a foreman for a road construction company.  He has walked and paved almost the whole state of Maine!  He loved seeing the big mining equipment they are using.  This is dad standing next to one of the dump trucks.  This one was driven by a woman!

We spent the night at the mine and the next day, we toured David’s part of the project.  He is overseeing the construction of the processing plant.  Seeing what he actually does gives me a better understanding and whole new respect for David and his abilities! All I can say is WOW!!!  Unfortunately, I can’t show any pictures as cameras were prohibited.  The pictures we did get were taken by the mine superintendent who gave us the tour.

The campus for the school outside of Jarabacoa.

From the mine, we took dad to see Jarabacoa and the school where I lived for 3 years.  Jarabacoa is in the mountains and a nice change from the beach.  We drove to the school campus, which is about 4 miles or so outside of the town center and showed him around.  Then, we continued onto Constanza, which is up the mountain from Jarabacoa.

That proved to be a very interesting ride.  When I lived there, the road was a dirt road.  Traveling there was challenging.  They have just recently finished paving the road.  They did a lovely job but it is very steep and all switchbacks.

At one point, we were detoured to yet another steep road, full of more switchbacks.  Thank goodness David’s truck has all-wheel drive!  This picture doesn’t really show what the road was truly like. It was quite the ride.  To this day, Dad is still talking about it!

Constanza is the agricultural center for the whole island.  Back when Trujillo was the dictator (1930-1961), he offered for 50 families from Japan to come and settle in Constanza.  It was his goal to have them cultivate the land and produce crops.  His mission was accomplished….we saw fields and fields of crops, cabbage, broccoli, onions, etc.  We ate a late lunch at Alta Cerra (High Hill).  Our table was on the second floor terrace and we enjoyed the view of the mountains and fields while eating.
The original plan was to stay there for Saturday night, but there wasn’t much to do and both David and Dad were ready to go home.  We arrived back in Cabarete at 6:30.

This past weekend, we took Dad to Playa Grande. One of my favorite beaches, east of Cabarete.  It was a glorious day and we had a delicious lunch of fresh Red Snapper, avocado salad and tostones, all washed down with fresh pineapple juice served in a pineapple.

The island life seems to be agreeing with Dad. He has lost about 10 pounds, his blood pressure levels have dropped to healthy readings.  Plus, his sugar levels are great.  He is borderline diabetic and controls it through diet and exercise.  He has read 3 books and has the 4th one just about finished.  Plus, he has gotten into “island time” by enjoying siestas.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention that he had his first massage as well…which he enjoyed!

We have enjoyed watching the Patriots get into the Super Bowl and are looking forward to the game next Sunday.  GOOOOOOOOOOO PATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess that brings me up-to-date with the blog….hopefully, I won’t get so far behind next time.  We will be flying back to Maine, Feb 12.  I will be in Maine for a month, working on taxes and plan to return to the DR on March 18th.

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