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Category: recommendations

 Dominican Republic: Punta Cana

How frustrating when you check in at the airport to be advised your plane is out of service and there will be a two and a half hour delay while they ready a replacement. At 12:30 they announced the gate, we thought boarding would start then for a 13:30 departure, how wrong we were. They made announcements right up until 13:30 for all passengers to make their way to the gate then boarding started at 13:15. Considering the flight should have departed at 10:55 we were getting close to the 3 hour limit for compensation.

At 14:15 the plane left the terminal with a couple arguing in front and another couple fidgeting and complaining behind we were at last underway, not. The plane taxied round to the runway then a further wait for clearance before we were finally off and on our way. The flight was spoiled by the chump scouser couple in front fighting and moving and the old couple behind pulling the seat backs every two minutes while complaining about everything from the delays to the cramped conditions. The plane we were on was not designed for long-haul as the seats had no leg room, screens were attached to the top bulkhead and the one I could see easily broke down after 15 minutes of the first movie so I was pleased I hadn’t paid for a head set.

The in-flight entertainment was a no go, cramped seats and tray pressing into my stomach due to the lack of room, could this flight get any worse? Of course it could, they ran out of the decent meals before arriving at our seats, the scouse git in front demanded better food as he didn’t eat pig so pork sausage was not acceptable. I took my meal without complaint, ate the mash and veg then gave my wife my sausages. Surely the next meal would be fine? What could go wrong with a sandwich after all?

Anyhow, the sandwiches came late on in the flight so we kept them for later. Once disembarked from the plane, we entered the buses to take us to the terminal, everyone who had already arrived was filling in blank documents, so we did the same. Putting $10 in our passports for the airport tax/tourist visa fee, we proceeded through 3 check points. Once through we found our rep and were directed to the bus to bring us to our destination. After spending 5 hours at Manchester Airport and 9 hours on the plane the last thing I wanted to do was check in, find the room and then rush back out for something to eat. Boy, did we make the right decision in keeping those sandwiches.

Tuesday morning, 5:30 local time, the dawn chorus woke me up, time to shower and explore. Walking down to reception I spotted 2 cocks, a peacock, flamingoes and then a peahen. Photos attached on my next post, if I can transfer them from iPhone to iPad. 

Rented a lock for the safe, bought a universal power adaptor so back to the room to see if it works. It does indeed, the European adaptor fits in then our plugs into that. With 2 sockets we need another universal adaptor then we’re good to go.

Mini market sells Coke light so my wife can have something to drink in the room, I’ve got water and coffee which is just as well as they don’t sell a full fat Coke. Discovered the pools, restaurants and the path to the beach more exploring later. The shop next door sells full fat coke and coke light (out of date).

Met our rep and he’s a local with a long term contract, half his luck as this part of the world feels like Paradise. Sun during the day and fluffy white clouds in the sky. The staff, in the main, are friendly and willing to teach Spanish to those wanting to say more than just Hola. The island is shared between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, wonder what else these countries share besides an island in the Atlantic/Caribean oceans? Time here is the same as the USA Eastern Seaboard so Americans from New York to Florida won’t notice any change.

Idyllic weather, it rains at night, which is cool. Hot, sunny plenty of piña colada’s for me and cola light for my wife. If she would give the cocktails a try instead of turning her nose up at coconut creme then she may relax and start enjoying herself a bit more. Monday morning after a week here, the first time ever, we had rain during the day! Another stormy night last night, thunder and lightning and torrential rain.

One more sleep then a long day travelling home again. Getting picked up at 13:15 to go to the airport, take off at 16:25 local time, 21:25 BST, arrive Manchester Airport at approx 06:15 Friday morning. Will be ready for bed when we arrive home again.😄

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Wooley Edge Services M1

On Friday I had the misfortune to stop at Wooley Edge for breakfast, this service station lies between Leeds and Sheffield on the M1 motorway. I can not describe the vile food I paid good money for on that day. The bacon was cold (the picture showed a bun crammed with bacon, I was dished up 2 undercooked cold rashers inside a stale bun. To say that I was physically ill after eating this would not paint the whole picture. I ended up with the runs as well as mild food poisoning so if anyone is travelling South on the M1 this is one services to avoid like the plague.

On a much better note, my 60th birthday weekend started with a bang, even the bad food could not diminish my thrill of at last going to Sheffield to visit the Crucible, home of Snooker’s World Championship since 1977, my girl had got tickets for the 10a.m. session on table 2, Mark Selby v Ali Carter, which was totally magnificent. In the afternoon because the weather was dry, although overcast, we watched the huge screen to see Ronnie’s session being shared 4-4 with Joe Perry. I felt that Ronnie could end up going out but luckily he had found his mojo again by the final session on the Saturday morning. It was great being in the Crucible after saying for years that I wanted to go. I have enjoyed this years tournament more than any other.

I had every intention of not spoiling my weekend jolly by the bad food previously mentioned and besides feeling a little ill I can honestly say that Sheffield was brilliant. I even stumbled upon a local hostlery, The Bessemer, which is a free house and they also do food. To say this food was the best I had eaten on Friday wouldn’t be fair as it was the best I had eaten out in a long time. We had a room booked at the Aston Hotel (which was hard to find) and the food there was not tried. However, the bed was really comfortable so sleep was enjoyed by us both. I cannot praise the hotel staff, the bar staff, the ambassadors and everyone at the Crucible (including Rob Walker) high enough for giving me the best birthday weekend ever. Tomorrow it’s off to see my dad for a few days before coming home to normality and boredom.