With my first trip to the Dominican Republic three weeks from today, I took a look at The Lonely Planet's excellent coffee-table tome called The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World.
When buddies Tim and Dan and I stay at Puerta Plata on the northern Atlantic side, it appears there will be no shortage of activities to keep us busy for four days of sun and fun.
Some notable highlights:
-- "Rugged mountain interior with world-class rafting, trekking, hiking, and bird watching in the national parks"
-- "Windsurfing in Caberete, the DR's hippest beach town," and whale watching
-- Drinking rum and the DR's Presidente beer
-- Eating sancocho, a "hearty soup with manioc, plantain, and seven types of meat"
-- Since I've already read the excellent The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz, next up should be Dominican contemporary classics, In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez and Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa
-- What to say?: "Que chulo" means great!
-- "Trademarks: Palm-lined beaches, plantains, merengue music, rum, cigars that are better but not as famous as those from Cuba, Sammy Sosa, parties"
-- The people?: "Dominicans are amazingly polite and tend to dress quite formally