Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Honeymooners: It's Over!

We left the next morning. As we were walking back and forth, trying to finalize everything, we were approached numerous times by RCI agents and I was proud of Stephen for "just saying no". They took forever trying to refund our food money so we sat in the lobby joking about warning away the arriving visitors; "Run, while you still can! Get out, if you know what's good for you! Don't eat the sausage!" All in all, we only stayed one full day, and less than 48 hours total.

Stephen wanted to buy some quality cigars for himself and one of his groomsmen so we asked the taxi driver if we could stop. Taxi Man drove past several gift shops and a building labeled "Cigar Factory" before stopping in front of his buddy's shop. Stephen was expecting a great deal like a friend of his had gotten, a box of 25 Cohibas for 30 bucks (Cohibas sell for $25 a piece stateside). The shop owner showed us a box of 25 for 125 bucks, not the deal we were hoping for. Finally he showed us a box of 10 for 60 bucks. We checked our money. We had 34 dollars between us. We had also gotten pesos, just enough to pay our driver. I handed him the 34 dollars. He counted it.

Shop Owner: It's not enough. (points at box) 60.
Me: Oh, Ok. Well, Sorry. (reaches for money in his hand)
SO: (yanks hand back) Well, maybe I give it to you for 50.
Stephen: Sorry, that's all we have. 34. (reaches for money again)
SO: (withdrawing money again) Well... maybe, 40? You got 40?
Me: no, no, that's ALL our Money. 34.
SO: You get rest in pesos, yeah? Driver brings extra back to me, ok?
Me: We don't have enough.
Stephen: We have enough to pay our driver. We don't have extra.
SO: Oh, yeah, ok. You just give the rest in pesos, ok? Taxi Driver will bring back to me, yeah?
(This repeats itself 3 or 4 times. SO even gets a calculator to show how many pesos we should send back to him. Stephen explains that a friend found them for much cheaper, and the SO offers helpfully that "that not the real thing".)
ME: Ok, we got enough pesos to pay the taxi for taking us to the airport, and NO MORE. 34 Dollars, that's IT.
Stephen: That's all we have.

When the guy realized it was 34 bucks or nothin, he reluctantly let the box of cigars go for a reduced (yeah, right) price. Stephen jokes about how we had to pay $70 to the cab driver; "If your buddy wants to share some of HIS money with you, that's fine, but we're NOT giving you ANY EXTRA MONEY." The cool thing about this Taxi Man, though, was that he listened to great music. When a new song came on he would tap at his radio and announce "Salsa" or "Meringue", and maybe dance a little, to further indicate what kind of music it was. We even heard a Shakira song.

We had to pay $100 each to change our flight, which, as it turned out, was less than they were supposed to charge us. It took them at least half an hour to charge our card (this is typical in the D. R., we decided) and we took off around 3.

We got to Atlanta and were supposed to fly out at 8:15. We got Qdoba (which was such a delight after the food we ate at the resort) and went to wait at our gate, 45 minutes early. I began to realize just how terrible my legs really looked. Only the tops of my thighs and knees were burned. People are often prone to use hyperbole when describing sunburn: "I was bright red!" People, I am not exaggerating here: RED is exactly the color of the tops of my thighs and knees. RED. As in, Red Lobster. Red Fire Engine. Red Tomato. Red Rachel.

I talked to my dad and reported the situation, and he reserved a nice place in Estes Park for us. So Stephen and I got to talking and lost track of time. Suddenly, I wondered why they weren't boarding yet. My clock said 8:11. Now, this is the icing on the bad honeymoon cake: apparently, they changed the gate without making an announcement, and we had to get from Terminal E to Terminal A in 4 minutes. I can only imagine that we were quite the spectacle running down the walkways, both wearing brown shorts and light blue shirts. Stephen told me just to get to the gate as fast as I could and he'd wait for me. Stephen used to be a runner, and he looked pretty cool dodging between people at a full run. I, as you should know, would rather wrestle a grizzly bear than run a quarter mile, and I made a pathetic show of trying to keep up, panting so hard I'm in tears. Pretend you're walking down terminal A, when a dude in brown in blue darts past you with a hurried, "excuse me!" Just when you're recovering from the surprise, you have an odd sense of de ja vu, except this time it's a woman who looks like she's about to pass out and whose thighs are bright red on the front and white on the back.

We weren't the only ones to miss the flight, which I suppose can be expected when you fail to announce a gate change. We got a different flight about and hour and a half later and got home past midnight after paying a cab almost 30 dollars to drive us literally 3 minutes to the friends house where our car was parked. And let me tell you, there's nothing more romantic than coming home to a tiny, slightly fusty apartment which is absolutely packed with wedding gifts, and suddenly remembering that the bed has no sheets on it because they are in the washing machine.

We spent the next three nights at a cabin in Estes Park that had a kitchen and a hot tub in very suite. It's a modest little place with typical mountainy decor (pine cones, elk, hardwood, etc.) that could best be described as "cute" (which is GREAT), but our resort in the D.R. made this place look positively glamorous. We did dinners, a wine tasting, shopping, horseback riding, and just chilling out. We got the chance to reflect on the tropical disaster we'd survived, and decided that the honeymoon was, on the whole, a success. Stephen told a friend, "If honeymoons are for getting to know each other really well and facing adversity together, we had the best honeymoon ever."


ThomG said...

What a way to start a lifetime together - and Stephen is a very wise man. You two can face anything - together. And I am very surprised you got the whole box of cigars back. Customs is usually a bear about that (that's personal experience, BTW).

Beth said...

Estes Park sounds wonderful! I'm so sorry it was such a night mare but you and Stephen handled it really well. I bet loads of other people would have stayed in D.R. and been bullied into buying a share!

Melissa said...

I'm still laughing at your description of y'all running through the airport. I'm also imagining what it would've been like it y'all had warned people at the top of your lungs while running through the airport. That would've been awesome!!!

I'm really glad to hear that y'all were able to get back in enough time for a relaxing honeymoon in the cabin- sounds very romantic. :)

RachelRenae said...

thomg: Stephen is a wise man. I mean, he married me, right? And they didn't hassle us at all about the cigars! It was great!

beth: like we can afford one more thing, even if we wanted it!

melissa: if I can had the breath to do that, I would have!!

We're just laughing about the whole situation now. I'm proud of how we handled it and how we treated each other. We didn't argue once, even though we could have blamed each other. We made the best of it.