Started my vacation off with a trip up to Santiago, the DR's second-largest city and one of the most progressive cities politically and culturally. My friend Espie's birthday is the 25th, so we spent Christmas Eve cooking delicious vegitarian fare topped off with a decadent chocolate ice cream cake for her birthday. Feliz Cumpleaños, Espie!
Jenn, Kim, and Tod with West DR and Haiti in the background
Tod catching some sun after a muddy descent
Our boots and shoes, post-Pico (can you guess which pair is Tod's?)
December 30th - Marathon in La VegaI attempted (but did not finish) the only full 26.2-mile marathon offered in the DR. An out-and-back course between La Vega and Moca (two smaller cities in the DR's central valley), the 4:00pm start time didn't allow me to make it to the cut-off point in time, so I was pulled from the course after running about 14 miles. Guess you need to be at least a sub-4 hour marathoner to run a race in the DR... Bummer! Still, I was proud that I was able to get past the half-way mark more or less on my pace, considering the total lack of training, diet, and having just summited Pico the previous day.
December 31 - January 2nd - Juan Dolio Beach
Fourteen other PCVs and I meet up in Juan Dolio, a funky beach community just east of Santo Domingo on the DR's South Coast. We stay at a funky hotel with kitchenettes, allowing us to prepare more delicious homemade vegitarian fare, drink cheap wine, dance to bachata, salsa merengue music until midnight, and top it all off with a bottle of champagne and a midnight dip in the Caribbean Sea. A few of us brave souls get up early on the first day of the new year to see the first sunrise. Then a warm, sunny day of sun-bathing, swimming, and frisbee.