Home, SA-WEET Home.

In the words of Dorothy, there really is no place like home.

Especially after you spend 30 hours in an airport/on an airplane, only to spend 3 days at your destination, and then turn around and spend 12 more hours traveling home -- Aye yigh yigh! I'm afraid my once firm and bubbly bum is now as flat as a board from all that constant sitting I did. (I kid, I kid. Firm? Not so much.) But you heard me, right? THIRTY hours. In one two days. And then twelve on the way home. And a grand total of eighty hours at our resort. See, one of the planes that we were supposed to catch had mechanical problems and it had to turn around and go back to wherever it was coming from. So we missed that flight, and at one point, while we were trying to figure out how we were going to get down to the Caribbean, the agent we were talking to said the best she could do was to get us there on the upcoming Saturday (this was a Tuesday) and oh yeah, our last day of vacation was that very next Sunday. HA! We were thisclose to just turning around and going back home (we were in New Jersey at this point) until another agent who had heard us talking worked a little magic and was able to get us to the Dominican Republic the next day. Talk about a cluster youknowwhat. But in the end? It was a free trip (through Rob's business) so whose complaining.

Anyway, we arrive at the Hard Rock hotel at about 10 p.m. Exhausted doesn't even begin to cover it but again, free trip, whose complaining. We get up the next morning and head straight for the pool. This place is an all inclusive, and you better bet that we were going to take advantage of those pool side drinks.

Oh yeah, for my birthday, my mom got me this awesome digital camera. I was so happy to have a brand new camera to take on vacation to capture those oh-so-awesome vacation moments.

We make it to the pool, have our drinks, meet some cool new people and start having a pretty good time. Of the 11 pools they have on the resort, we chose the "party pool." You know, the one where they have employees walking around on microphones, pulling people out of the water, making them play silly drinking games, etc, and of course in true Hard Rock fashion, there is rock music blaring from the speakers. Pretty much having a pretty good time. However, I don't think not one time did I ever get the correct drink that I ordered (language barrier). But again, whose complaining?

This good time turns into passing my brand new digital camera around and asking people to take pictures. We met a pretty cool crew of people and a few times, asked the bartender to take our picture, all 15+ of us, with our glasses in the air, giving a cheers. Of course I would review every picture after it was taken and if I do say so myself, there were some pretty awesome pictures on that camera! Rob even got called up to participate in a pretty funny game of "stick a quarter between your legs and walk 10 feet and try to dump it in a little plastic cup." Which you could only imagine would make for some pretty hilarious pictures, which of course, I documented.

Around 4 p.m. we head back to our room. We were still tired from traveling and were pretty worn out from all the sun and fun. Couple hours after we get back, I realize "oh s&%$!" Camera is nowhere to be found. And well, neither are my brand new Rock & Republic sunglasses. Positive me is thinking, I'm sure someone found them laying by the pool and turned them in. I mean, that's what I would do. Go back to the pool, ask around, nothing. No one knows anything, no one has seen anything, all they tell me is the check lost and found. So I do. I call lost and found in vain. Probably about 10 times before we departed the hotel to go home. No one turned them in. I was soooooooo disappointed. So upset. This free vacation was turning out to be anything but.

If you know me, you know I can't go anywhere or do anything remotely exciting without bringing along my camera. I need to have pictures to document the experience. So first thing in the morning Rob and I head to the main building and go to their drug store to purchase a few disposable cameras. First things first: I understand we are in a different country and I understand we are at a resort. So I also understand that they need to mark their merchandise up just a little. Just a little. Just a little. HA!

So...yeah. No awesome brand new digital camera (click here for my camera drama) but alas, we can buy a disposable. Can't believe they still make those, but ok, thank God at this moment that they do. So I go into the drug store and pick up 4 Kodak disposables and 1 Kodak underwater disposable. I think to myself, "wow! pretty dang cool. even these disposables have a flash." Again, HA! Price for the disposables are $30 a piece. In my mind, I know it's a bit high but I'm no expert on disposable cameras so I fork over the $150 for all 5 cameras. (Hey, they only had a limit of 27 photos on them. I needed more than one. I needed more than 4, ok?) I walk out of the drug store knowing I paid too much, but also knowing that it was a resort in a different country and of course they were going to jack up their prices.

It wasn't before I got back to the United States and saw the exact same cameras for sale at Albertsons when I realized they sell here for $5.47. They are worth five dollars and forty seven cents. And I paid $30 each. EACH!!! I smell a Mastercard "priceless slogan" commercial coming on here...

But again, it was a free trip, so whose complaining?

So there we are, Rob and I, at the beach. Enjoying our time, playing in the ocean, relaxing, hanging out. And it was nice.

You know those people in Mexico who panhandle all over the beaches asking you to buy this, buy that, can I braid your hair, do you want this flag, etc., etc.? Same story here. So here Rob and I are, coming in from the ocean, and this guy with a big camera asks if he can take our picture. Well sure! I always love getting my picture taken. So he snaps our pic, we walk in and he shows us what he snapped. 

"Cute!" I exclaim. And then. OH and then do I make the mistake of saying, "I love that picture! I just lost my digital camera and all I have are these dumb disposables so I love seeing a pic of us with a real camera."

Oh did he take that and run with it.

All of a sudden it was "ok let me take picture of you over there, put your arm around his neck and look into his eyes, ok kiss now! that's great, now get down on your knee and you, yes you wife, lean behind him and slowly caress his neck with your hand."

Um, kiss? You want us to kiss? Wait, you want me to kiss my husband for this cheesy picture? (Side note: we are so not that couple. That couple that takes romantic pictures at the beach? Embraced in each others arms? Kissing for the camera?? SO NOT US!)

Done with the couple pics. Ok good. I was pretty uncomfortable with that. Oh but wait. Said photographer corners me. "Let me take picture of you? Only you? Please? Just one, I promise, just one. Please?!" And once again, if you know me, I am that person. The girl that can't say no. Especially when someone comes at me all sweet-like, it's so hard for me to say no. So I say yes. BIG mistake. BIG. (Name that movie.)

Anyway, he snaps a few pics, and then asks me to lay down on the sand like this. And when I say like "this", I mean he shows me an example of what he wants me to do. And the example was sort of like Victoria's Secret meets Frederick's of Hollywood meets call girl on Sunset Avenue. Uh, come again? And then he asks me again. And again. And finally, once again. He really wants me to pose like this. Like that. And I just can't say no. So I do it. I do the poses he is asking of me. Begging of me. I lay on the beach like I'm Heidi Klum (only 6 inches shorter and 30 lbs heavier), I put my fingers through my hair, I look "that way" as if I'm gazing into the distance at a 20 foot yacht with my prince charming aboard coming to rescue me.


This is SO embarrassing. This isn't a private beach in my backyard. No no, this is a public beach, with hundreds of people around, on the island of the Dominican Republic. With a guy who I don't know from Noah asking me to pose in all sorts of quasi-provocative positions. I know, I know...I should have just given him the cold shoulder and said no. But I didn't. Because I have a really hard time saying no to someone who is being really eager and nice to me. Never mind the fact that said person is only being really eager and nice to me because he is really eager to rip me off up the yingyang, but still. I obliged. After all the picture taking was done with, he said he would "find us tomorrow and show us the pictures." Ok, well that's easy enough. We will just sit in a different spot than yesterday and hopefully he won't find us.

He found us.

He pulled out the envelope of developed photos and handed them to me. I pulled them out and looked them over. There were fifteen 5x7 photos. Printed on flimsy photo paper that you can buy for 6 bucks a package at Office Depot. He says he to me "All pictures for $120."

Come again? What?  120 dollars?!? Um, yeah but no. So I say, "$120? Are you serious? I just want a few of these here pictures." And photographer says to me, "no no, I pay for all these pictures to get printed so you buy all pictures." So that's how it works over here.

I pick up Rob's wallet (he was out swimming in the ocean at this time and not here to help me out unfortunately) and all I had was $80. And I made the misfortune of telling photographer that.

"Ok then, I make you good deal. $80 for pictures. That is great deal."

I'm not stupid. I wasn't born yesterday and I know that you probably paid $12 or less for those photos. But I was alone on my beach chair with this guy standing over me and I felt just a tad uncomfortable, so (gasp!) I forked over the 80 bucks. I debated whether or not to retell this story on the web when once I do, it is engrained here forever. But I decided that I needed to if not only to remind myself how silly I was to involve myself in that transaction. (And yes, I am being very, very generous in calling myself "silly" in this situation, thank you).

So I give you, ladies and gentleman, the photos from that day. The cheesy, wedding-esque, super silly, super embarrassing, hilarious and did I mention cheesy photos? Seriously, they look like a photo package you would have purchased along with a room at a motel where you put coins in a slot machine to get the proper toiletries that you need for the night. And I put them in collage form so you wouldn't be subjected to seeing them in all their blown-up glory. I also did not include the super sexy (ha!) poses that would make the models of a Frederick's of Hollywood knock-off jealous. You're welcome.


Go ahead, have a laugh. I sure did. Cheesy, no?

Now if you will please excuse me, I need to go develop the film from my disposable cameras. Here's hoping with crossed fingers that at least a few pictures turn out semi-decent. And that the naughty pictures that were stored on my stolen digital camera don't turn up on youtube.

This isn't really happening, is it? But again, whose complaining?



  1. that is pretty brave of you to post those stories!

  2. I seriously can not believe you shared that whole story on here!! At least maybe it can make someone else have the balls to say NO!!! HA! That is horrible!!

    - Rachel

  3. HAHA... Wow, he saw you coming Raven. So.... in reading about the 'sexy shoot' I just kept thinking he was going to use your 'sexy' pictures for some website to promote mail order america brides or something.

    Glad you made it back ok, but COME ON, it was a FREE TRIP!! Next time, just change the name on the tickets to Mr and Mrs Trudeau. I promise to come back with stories that make yours look silly, and mine be WAY worse. ;)


  4. Ha that is awesome. Um you totally need to post the cheesy sexy pics though..those have to be the best ones lol :)

  5. This is the best blog post. I laughed so hard because we have been there with the pushy salesmen that come with exotic destinations. I would have ran after seeing the pictures or put him in his place...actually I got ripped off in NY city when an Iraqi sold me a lens attachment for 170.00 last year and it was only worth 40.00.
    They thrive on people like us. You should just carry around monopoly money.

  6. Oh my GOSH Raven!!! I just got around to reading this, and I was laughing the WHOLE way through. Great story, and told so well!!

    I can totally relate. Lol!!

  7. OKay this all happened at the Hard Rock Dominican Republic? True Story, before it was the HArd Rock it was Palace Resorts and we have stayed at several so we paid loads of money to go there for our honeymoon and it was AWFUL!!! Like so awful I called home the first night bawling my eyes out! And several people we met there got sick, one so sick she had to be hospitalized (in a dominican hospital) uggghhhhh!


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