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  • Anna O'Connor

How to Save Your Vacation When There Are Guards with Big Guns

Updated: Aug 9, 2018

Melissa and her family’s vacation out of the Country and WAY out of their comfort zones.

We had a full day of travel on Monday and arrived at our condo complex after dark.

At first light, we awakened with bug bites from head to toe and a serious stench in the air. We soon discovered that the source of the stench was seaweed (apparently the size of Texas!) that recently arrived on the shores of Punta Cana for the first time in history.


No beautiful blue water to swim in here!

We were also disappointed to see that our complex was virtually empty, perhaps due to the non-stop LOUD construction underway next door. What really grabbed our attention was the sight of guards armed with rifles on every corner.

Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced times when great expectations went unmet, or we regretted a decision that added stress to our lives, or we felt vulnerable in unfamiliar circumstances.

What were we going to do?

With three beautiful blonde girls in tow (ages 12, 13, and 15), we realized we needed to have a conversation about our reality and a plan to stay safe and hopefully squeeze some fun out of the week. We agreed that our decision to NOT stay in a hotel or a gated all-inclusive was a C+ at best, making it a “Yellow” Decision.


We knew we'd have to head somewhere (by rental car) each day, but where! We had no other choice but to start with what little we knew. So, on Tuesday morning we typed “Macao Surf Beach” into Waze and made the 30-minute trek.


The ride was white-knuckle terrifying for the adults and fascinating for the kids. Seeing dirt bike taxis that whirled around us: “Mom, there were five people on that one and the baby squashed in the middle didn’t have a helmet!” “Dad, that guy just cut off a cop and he didn’t do anything!” I have to admit that it was pretty cool to see the kids looking out of the window instead of down at their phones.


Things started turning Blue like the water.

Then we arrived at Macao Surf Beach. The kids were silent as they took in the view. Then it got loud, the kind of loud that makes parents smile. Among many things and firsts to celebrate, I watched as a stray dog found shade under a lonely umbrella that clearly belonged to the beach itself.


At one point, a young mom, her father, and her young daughter parked a few beach things under the umbrella, next to the stray. It was obvious that they were dog people, and he didn’t seem to mind the company. I decided to strike up a conversation and felt good about it, making it a “Blue” Decision.

We had a friendly chat, and I felt like I knew them immediately. The father, Richard had retired in Punta Cana and his daughter, Alex visited each year for a month. They were so kind and caring as they shared where to go and what not to miss - places only locals would know of.

Richard left us his contact information should we need anything.


We made some new friends, surfed some great waves, and shared an umbrella with our new beach dog, Jack.

Feeling Blue,

Melissa

What would you have done? Have you had an experience like this?

Tell us about it.

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