Dominican Republic

Who would of thought of meeting Santa on holiday. But here he was gearing up with a beautiful Gallic smile, to boot!

This was in Samana. Away from the all inclusive hordes in Punts Cana. But wait a moment. Samana was home to French and Italians do no local delicacies. Only pizza and pasta. Oh woe is civilization. But the place was wild. Looking for a boat to the beaches around the peninsula, a guy on a moped asked. Yeah, why not!

We agreed a fee and s time and the die was cast. As we walked to our boat we noticed other craft with tourists kitted out in life vests. Us? No such thing. We crowded in with assorted Spaniards and Germans and off we went. Then off we stopped. The outboard motor packed up. A few dainty blows with a mallet and off we went again. The boat was small, the waves were big and our intrepid skipper really had to pick his timing and soured of power to get us through. As the hull thudded down for the umpteenth time we thought how useful a life vest may well be!

It was fun, beautiful and wild. And we survived. But what a ride! Now, what pizza do you fancy?

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Jordan

I fell in love. Fell in the best way, as in taken off guard. The desert. Hot, dry desolate and stunning. Falling in love with the desert of Jordan was easy. The heat and the shimmering haze on the horizon blended with the red sands that changed slowly to deeper reds. We stopped in the canyon where T.E. Lawrence met and conversed with the then king of Jordan.

We met no king, but a wonderfully friendly guide who was lumbered with a few more Europeans. On starting to chat with me asked if I were English, yes I replied. Where are you going next he enquired. Into the desert for a walk I replied. Do you have water, one bottle which I waved as evidence, do you have headgear he ventured, no I said, do you have a map, no I confirmed. Have you sun cream he asked with increasing concern. My smile told him all he needed to know.

Ahh, he retorted, you really are “English”.

From sleeping in tents in Wadi Rum, to the magnificent ruins of Jerash, Jordan was a gem of a holiday. No air con sleek tourist buses for us. Backpacks and aging taxis and old coaches. Wonderful. The people were friendly and thoughtful whilst the food a delight.

Sitting in the desert smoking, legally, a bit of Hubble bubble and marveling at the sky is never to be forgotten. On the way back we met up with the drunks and mouthy tourists we had left at Eilat. Everyone to their own, I guess!

Yogykarta 

“”Is the hotel far”? Said the fly to the spider. Or in this case the exhausted traveler to the taxi driver. With multiple assurances and much arm gesticulating the point was made. No, not far. 

A few minutes later we pulled up outside Be One Yogia. Handing over too much money we clambered out to be met by a Cheshire Cat of a smile. Paid and keys in hand we bid a goodnight with offers to Prambanan and Borobudur singing in our ears to help us into the land of nod.

We shared a room with the children which was relaxing! The room was clean and comfortable and quiet at night. We also got to hear the planes landing, which was lovely. In a perverse manner. Breakfast was super sweet coffee. Lesson. Order milk, real milk not tinned super sweet, separately or be diagnosed with diabetes within seconds.  The food was fried and not too healthy, so off we went. Food the destination. 
The only people walking along a broken up pavement next to a main road into the heart of Yogykarta. Amazing. So many mopeds and scooters weaving around each other. Whole families on machines. Dad drove and in from of him stood an infant holding onto the steering column. Behind dad sat mum, and between a baby was squashed, held in mums arms. Super!

Mini-market. Cakes and processed pre-packed salty and sweet gooey things. Now that’s food;-) replete we headed back and enquired about trips to Prambanan and Borobudur. Having inferred that we wanted to rent the vehicle, not purchase it, a price was settled on. We had a lovely fellow who gamely communicated in English and gave a running commentary as we sped to Prambanan.