We returned from our 5th trip to the DR yesterday. I'm going to tell this tale in stages, since there were many legs to this journey. But most importantly is that Soren's treatment went smoothly. But let's start at the very beginning...
We headed to LAX on Tuesday morning, making good time to the Hilton, where we parked our car. The tram came to pick us up and I saw that there was a ramp for wheelchair access. I didn't know whether to bother with this when a wheelchair bound woman came up and had the ramp brought down for her. After she used the ramp, I figured we should as well, which made getting to the airport all the easier (one less time hefting Soren and his heavy adaptive car seat).
We noticed that the woman had a number of streamlined chairs with her. We got chatting and discovered that she plays tennis on the Olympic team for wheelchair bound competitors. Through the years, she had traveled around the world doing this so it was great to talk to her about which countries were most accessible. We also talked about how she lives in a warm, sunny climate, having grown up in a cold, rainy and snowy one. It's something that I've thought about a lot, appreciating our California weather and an element to consider if we were ever to move.
At LAX, we got our luggage checked and through security without a hitch. One of the attendants noticed Soren's chair and took us to the wheelchair access route, where Soren and I both get personally patted down--always exciting!
Our flight to Miami was on time and went smoothly. We had scheduled an extra day in South Beach to see our college friend Ben. We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott and, I must say, we were treated very nicely. When we realized they didn't have a fridge for Soren's food, they brought us one. When we realized the pillows were down, they switched them for foam since Aaron is allergic. And while we weren't on the water, we were in an area of town with a lot of easily walkable stuff in the area. Like the Madonna strip club across the street! Mo asked what was at that club. I told her naked ladies and she started cracking up.
We were also near Española street, which had shops and restaurants. We ate at Tapas and Tintos enjoying fantastic food and sangria. The next day, we went to Lincoln street, which is a pedestrian, open air shopping street, like 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, for those of you in L.A. It was warm and humid, but not too bad (and quite nice for December). Then, out of the blue, Soren had a seizure. So that bummed us out and put a damper on the day.
Bucking ourselves up, we had a nice lunch and walked down to the beach. It was really beautiful. We all planned to go to the rooftop pool for a dip, but the elevator that went to the pool was broken, so Soren and I didn't get to go. Turned out just as well--the pool was unheated, the wind had kicked up, and Mo and Aaron were freezing.
That night we went back to Lincoln street for dinner with Ben. We got there early and walked around to see what our options were, simply trying to check out the menus. The bizarre thing was that a host or hostess stands in front of the menu trying to persuade (convince, harass, overwhelm) you into eating at their restaurant. They offer you free dessert, free wine, discount prices. They hand you their card and make you promise to come back. Eventually, we ended up eating an none of these places because we figured they had to suck if these people were pushing them so hard. We had a lovely meal at a place of our own choice!
When we returned to the hotel, we turned on the TV and were surprised to learn that tropical storm Olga was wreaking havoc in Santiago in the DR. We, of course, didn't know the geography of the DR, so we were unsure of what the next day would have in store for us, travel-wise. And while it's not too much of a cliff-hanger, since we obviously (thankfully) got home safe, I will tell the next portion of our trip tomorrow.