Yep, paradise alright. Complete and total. And I must add that it wasn't hard to find. We have moved on to the actual vacation part of our trip and a vacation it sure is. The house we rented was sight unseen, and could have been anything, but turned out to be an a perfect, incredible, heaven, and very cheap by our American standards. The rooms are palatial, as is the patio and pool area. I can't imagine ever leaving this amazing place, and I am beyond happy that we decided to stay for ten days of miserable New England winter. I find myself having visions of leaving my life behind and relocating to the tropics, which of course is very dreamy and romantic when one is vacationing in paradise, and probably a lot more work in real life.
People are always asking me why I spend so much of my life vacation planning, but here it is. I am right where I want to be, tanned and happy, with bachata playing on the stereo and a pina colada in the blender, and it didn't cost me and arm and a leg, or really more than a fraction of what most Americans pay to go to Disney World. (And I don't have to spend my days at a theme park wearing Mickey Mouse ears). I'm glad we spent so much time in the hot, dirty countryside at my mother-in-law's house enjoying the people and feeling crowded so that we could come here, spread out, and feel incredibly fortunate. Makes it even better than coming straight from home.
My mother-in-law, Erma, has been staying with us, and will do so until tomorrow, when some old and dear friends are coming from San Cristobal, the town I first loved here in the DR. Erma has done remarkably well here, considering she is so out of her element and, much like her son, doesn't particularly like to leave her house. She spends our beach days at my brother-in-law's house, claiming she is allergic to the ocean, and we pick her up on the way home so she can make a Dominican dinner as she likes to. Today we are all home by the pool, and thinking about some grilled chicken for lunch. I am not-so-secretly scheming about ways to make my life here, we'll see how that works out, I'll keep you all posted.