A Travellerspoint blog

Punta Cana

The Dream Finale

sunny 38 °C

large__DSC2956.jpg

Can you believe it! The final post... the dream finale. My apologies people for taking so long to complete this one but from the moment we've touched Canadian soil reality struck back with a vengeance and we've been busy, busy, busy with moving, bureaucracy and job hunting. But we are all settled in now, back working again and ready to update you with our final post (#107) on Punta Cana of the Dominican Republic. At this point in our long journey (21st country) we were both pretty exhausted and after 365 days of being away from our friends and family, we were beyond excited about the impending reunion!

After saying our goodbyes to Cassandra and John in Cusco we boarded a plane shortly after destined for Peru's capital Lima. Not much to report on our dealings there, as we basically just stayed in a dive hotel close to the airport since our flight to the Dominican left early the next morning. Of course that next morning our excitement was boiling over but we didn't really want to jinx anything since we were bumped on flights before lol. But our plane was on time and we did in fact land in Santo Domingo (the Dominican capital) in the late afternoon. From the airport we caught a taxi into the old downtown (Santo Domingo is actually the oldest city in the Americas and was founded by Christopher Columbus' brother Bratholomew) where we immediately checked into the final hostel of our journey... which at that time, we were both very thankful for lol (no A/C at 40 C, no bathroom and a rock hard lumpy mattress). I could hardly sleep that night due to the heat, bed and excitement but I kept thinking 'only one more night Blair' lol.

The following morning was a bit of a crapshoot because we were a little unsure of how to cross the country and reach our resort (a big concern for most people lol) but we knew that we could at least jump on a bus that would get us close. Well long story short we managed to board a bus that got us only have way and we wound up being stranded in the middle of the country (still not really sure where lol). Thankfully the Dominican Republic is not all that large and we managed to find ourselves a mini bus that promised to shuttle us right to the gates of our resort, Dreams Punta Cana. Talk about good luck and perfect timing! When we did finally arrive to the resort gates the security guard took one look at us and immediately called the front desk, "Your getting married here?" (insert condescending look lol). After what seemed like an eternity we were eventually admitted into the resort, greeted with Champagne and properly welcomed to paradise!

large_DSC_1054.jpglarge_AAF08ED92219AC6817CB1C5B4E097F66.jpglarge_AA63DB692219AC681722F81D91AC92D6.jpglarge_AA600C562219AC681785C39D04926962.jpg

Like I said, paradise... and those beds weren't too bad either (by far the best we've slept on all year!). Thanks to the wedding package and our magnificent sister-in-law Dene, we were upgraded to a Premium Honeymoon suite. Pretty fantastic.

Because of flights and scheduling among other things, we were actually not the first ones out of our group to arrive at the resort. My big brother Bryce and his family beat us to the punch along with our good friends from our home town Jordan and Janelle. I had actually planned to meet Bryce at a certain time in the afternoon (because we assumed we would be hitchhiking to the resort) but we arrived quite early and therefore were forced to scout this massive resort in search of our family and friends. On our way to the beach we had our first reunion... and slushy drink.

large_DSC_0982.jpg

We ran into Jordan and Janelle first who had actually been at the resort already for a week (not quite but you'll have to ask them about that one for yourself lol). I found it quite fitting that we reunited with them first because the two of them are backpacking the world as we speak and actually started their world tour right after our wedding. What a cool feeling to pass the torch (backpack) on to somebody else... we love you two and wish you all the best!! (they also have a travellerspoint blog called "ApolloandAthena")

Rather than continuing to scour the resort for my brother we instead decided to just relax, have a few drinks and surprise him in the lobby at the time we had previously planned to meet. Well luckily that did go to according to plan and was an entertaining and emotional reunion to say the least. I hadn't seen this guy, my best friend, in over a year! And while I was gone he became a father! Needless to say we were both pretty excited to finally get to meet our little niece Sadie who had already just celebrated her first birthday.

large_DSC_0983.jpglarge_DSC_0994.jpg

She was fast asleep for her afternoon nap lol. So we decided to sneak up on my sister-in-law Lindsay and her parents Sharon and Lorie...

large_DSC_1009.jpglarge_DSC_1015.jpglarge_DSC_1033.jpg

Pretty emotional stuff... and this wasn't even the BIG reunion. Look who's got the baby fever lol...

large_DSC_1038.jpg

The proud new parents with our new lovely little niece who's actually much cuter in person then on Skype lol...

large_AA6944CA2219AC6817832D9FF4117B65.jpg

That night it was time to get our celebration one! We had made it around the world and were finally in the company of both family and old friends. Cheers!

large_DSC_1067.jpglarge_DSC_1072.jpg

One thing eventually did lead to another and we somehow managed to single handedly shut down every bar in the hotel until they turned the lights off on us. For whatever reason during our shenanigans Bryce turned into Mitt Romney, Jordan into Roy Romanow and me... well I was just loser drunk lol.

large_DSC_1070.jpg

The next day we enjoyed ourselves on the beach and at the pool. Dreams was massive and featured one of the largest pools in the Caribbean. It pretty much took a good whole day to just explore everything. What a shock on the senses it was to finally stay somewhere this nice!

large_DSC_1052.jpglarge_DSC_1575.jpglarge_AAF32F2A2219AC6817B7731831E742E0.jpglarge_DSC_1584.jpg

And finally... the big moment we had both been waiting for... the grand reunion with the rest of our family and friends. Stacey was so excited and emotional that the mere mention of reunion would set her off crying lol. No joke... cause I counted... she cried at least 12 times before anyone even set foot off the airport bus. We got to the lobby early, hid behind a column, and waited... until...

large_AA7808DE2219AC68178E9A26ABFDB819.jpglarge_DSC_1104.jpglarge_DSC_1107.jpglarge_AA7E00A42219AC68175C36D3E8C7F7DE.jpglarge_DSC_1120.jpg

What a great feeling it was to finally be united with our parents! But that was just the beginning cause there was a whole busload of people behind them!

Stacey and her best friend Laura...

large_DSC_1128.jpg

Me with my best men and amazing friends Justin and Mike... shirts off and ready to party!

large_DSC_1135.jpg

Stacey with our new nephew Zack who is Stacey's brother Cam and his wife Dene's first child. This was also our first time meeting him... such a handsome little guy.

large_AA8AE5DF2219AC681780C08B3FCC83FE.jpg

Stacey with her younger sister CJ and her Fort McMurray "besties" (left to right - Sunny, Stephanie, Heidi and Shauna).

large_DSC_1141.jpg

I must say it was an extremely overwhelming afternoon seeing everyone again... not to mention in paradise... once again this calls for a celebration!!

large_AA907A5F2219AC6817FA70559AF20C19.jpglarge_DSC_1153.jpg

Here's a familiar character that you might remember from way back in Thailand... Stacey's big sister Jana! And look what she brought for us all the way from Canada!

large_DSC_1151.jpg

Yep the first night with everyone at the resort was terrific... we all had a lot of catching up to do.

large_DSC_1161.jpg

Well here it is folks... the moment every man dreams of since puberty! That's right... the elusive stag party lol! To be honest I was slightly nervous about my outfit that had been prepared for me by my very responsible and very kind hearted three groomsmen... but since I did make my brother dress as "Party Boy" from the Jackass series (worth Googling if your unfamiliar) I knew that anything was fair game... and I was just gonna have to take it like a man cause it only happens once.

large_DSC_1179.jpglarge__DSC2644.jpg

Yaaaa.... so about my outfit lol. Still not really sure what I was supposed to be. My interpretation is: Ex-Stripper Hobo Cowboy with a Mom-jean fetish. And who's that cute white little bundle of joy that I'm so ever gently embracing you might ask? ... well that would be Bo-Bo my very sexual barn yard friend. Great teamwork on putting this one together guys: Justin how you managed to find jeans with a 14" inch fly is beyond me, and Mike... I don't even want to know how the heck you found Bo-Bo!

large_DSC_1187.jpglarge_DSC01687.jpg

Check out my sweet jeans... SEXY lol.

large_AA2F46F42219AC6817E7E2E7A24BFD1F.jpg

My Dad must have been SO proud lol. Don't worry folks cause I got some payback in the form of a Thai bracelets I smuggled to the Dominican which I made all the hooligans wear. Lesser offensive titles included: "Dr. Cock", "Baby Dick", and one of my favourites "I Love Ladyboys"... the rest are just too harsh to publish. Thanks for being good sports though guys! So the plan for the day was to visit a Zip Line tour about 45 minutes away from the resort. Lets just say that shit got out of hand early and our guide Wilson tried to contain us... but we all know that didn't last very long.

We did end up making it to the Zip Line however and it was a blast...

large__DSC2664.jpg

But after those festivities... shit got real lol.

large__DSC2716.jpg

Because the guys had already seen my sweet stripper drawers I was incessantly being egged on to do a strip dance for everyone at the Zip Line. Being the good sport that I am I willingly obliged... but also kicked it up a notch.

large_DSC01690.jpglarge__DSC2721.jpg

That's me with our guide Wilson who was a terrific sport (he quite possibly had a crush on me lol). After finishing up zip lining the guys also thought that it would be a genius idea to have me do a little bit of hiking (apparently because I'm this big experienced hiker now lol) in the Dominican. Wilson, being the great guy that he was, decided to join me just in case any locals decided to take offence to my delicious attire lol. Yeee Haaa!

large__DSC2730.jpg

Things got slightly more normal for us after that.... the girls on the other hand were just warming up!

Here the ladies are all sporting there "hippie beach" head-bands Stacey bought for them in Bolivia. Looking good girls!

large_AAA9F7402219AC68177F9FEB4A33EAED.jpg

The Bride with her three beautiful sisters...

large_AAAC4FEF2219AC6817B6537A36AB5026.jpg

The motley crew...

large_AAB0A4B92219AC6817CF959A2753D5A9.jpg

What the heck were you girls doing with those plantains? Dene!

large_DSC_1206.jpg

And we're supposed to be the saucy ones... what the hell was this game? Naughty naughty girls... Work it Mel!!

large_DSC_1209.jpg

I'm gonna end off the stagette with this one of CJ and Stace being retards (you ladies could have cut Bo-Bo in on that action!)...

large_AABA61EB2219AC68174EAEB23E176EAC.jpg

Although crude, trust me the rest after this moment get a lot worse lol. You girls definitely know how to have a good time and if you like email me and I'll forward you the pictures. You can thank me later for not posting any lol.

So it goes: party, party, censored and then...

large_Everything_757.jpg

Lol sorry babe but I love this pic. All tuckered out in her fabulous wedding dress she had made in Hoi An, Vietnam (which I wasn't allowed to post pictures of at the time lol).

Let's just say that the following day begun with a few hang-overs lol. But in such a beautiful place like Dreams you just suck it up and hit the pool.

large_DSC_1660.jpg

One of the kids favourite spots on the resort was by the giant inflatable iceberg.

large_DSC_1239.jpg

Stacey's big brother Cam trying to dump the kids off the top lol...

large_DSC_1243.jpg

Here he is with his boy Zach in his cool little pool floaty... I do believe this doubled as Cam's floaty after one or two beverages poolside lol...

large_AB11BAAA2219AC6817A93B2C8F8CCA5E.jpg

The lunch buffet at the World Cafe was always fantastic! To be honest the food throughout our stay at Dreams was terrific.

large_DSC_1566.jpg

Our nieces and nephews posing at lunch...

large_DSC_1569.jpg

Missing from this picture unfortunately is one special little girl who I haven't been able to introduce yet because up until this point I didn't have any good pictures. While we were away this past year, Stacey's big sister Kara and her husband Mike had their four child and third daughter (the teen years will be fun in the Mountney home lol) and we were so elated to finally meet her! Meet Jordyn everyone!

large_DSC_1683.jpglarge_DSC_1731.jpg

The resort also featured quite an array of wildlife. Not quite safari calibre but pretty cool nonetheless. There were always a few crazy peacocks around cleaning up room service plates on the balconies.

large_DSC_1562.jpg

There were also crazy huge tarantulas everywhere! No one managed to snap a pic but I did see one of those peacocks attacking one and eating it. It made the nastiest crunch noise! Pretty gross. The resort also had a flamingo pond with coy fish and turtles.

large_DSC_1577.jpg

The night before the wedding things were fairly tame... for the most part anyways lol. That didn't stop me from busting out my impressive Japanese cooking skills though.

large_DSC_1250.jpg

And finally the moment we've all been waiting for. The proverbial 'Big Day' lol. It almost felt surreal to have finally reached this point in our long journey but I guess that's why they say time is relative... this whole year now feels like at was mere days. Early that morning Stacey and I parted ways and the girls went to get all dolled up at the salon and spa.

large__DSC2750.jpglarge__DSC2784.jpglarge_DSC_1282.jpg

We actually both had quite busy mornings because not only did we have to get ready but we both also had to write our vows. Talk about leaving it till last minute lol. But that's okay because I know they came from the heart... awwwghhhh lol.

large__DSC2798.jpg

Getting ready was a lot of fun and I don't imagine we could have surrounded ourselves with a better group of people that day.

large__DSC2770.jpglarge__DSC2823.jpglarge__DSC2825.jpglarge_0C8D92182219AC681762A33790E9D971.jpg

On another note... what the heck's with wedding jitters? Lol I rarely get nervous in my life and for some reason that day I could hardly bare it. Sick butterflies all day. Thank God for my Groomsmen!

large__DSC2827.jpg

Lol... that photo was staged but that's honestly what I felt like. I guess it's a pretty normal thing because after the ceremony Stacey said she felt the same way all morning.

large__DSC2848.jpg

The weather in the Dominican was gorgeous and hot all week. The perfect weather for a great holiday... but NOT great at all for donning a suit. I didn't even want to get dressed until the last minute because I knew my shirt would become drenched. Once again thank God for my Groomsmen!

large_DSC01698.jpg

Thanks for taking care of my sweat stains Justin! Your the best lol. And honestly how lucky were we to have a photographer in the family! Cam brought all his equipment along and shot the most amazing pictures all day. Most of what you see on this post was shot by him, specifically the wedding stuff so if your in need of a stellar wedding photographer just shoot me an email for his contact info. For more wedding photos scroll down to the end of the blog... they look so good that I couldn't resist (this post was around 150 photos... hope I don't crash the site lol).

large_AAC360B92219AC6817D435E641768EAA.jpg

The setting...

large__DSC2790.jpg

The groom... looking quite suave I might add in his custom Vietnamese suit straight outta Hoi An.

large__DSC2869.jpglarge_DSC_1298.jpg

My last walk as a free man lol. Don't my parents look fabulous! My Dad wore a do-rag cause he was having a bad hair day lol.

large_DSC_1317.jpg

My best friend Mike big pimpin' down the aisle with Stacey's two beautiful sisters Kara and Jana (I still can't believe they even let this guy get on the plane outta Canada lol).

large_DSC_1320.jpg

My best friend Justin with Laura...

large_AACB0DD82219AC6817BE109BC47F96CC.jpg

My big brother Romney pitchin' tax cuts to Stacey's baby sister Courtney...

large_DSC_1324.jpg

And who could forget the two adorable little flower girls Sadie and Brooklyn.

large_AAD27A032219AC6817BB5B6E440AD4AC.jpg

And here was my first view of the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on...

large_AAD059932219AC681779C2C225FCCC75.jpg

Escorted down the aisle by proud parents Randy and Carolyn.

large_AAD4A5392219AC6817305F36916ED5F2.jpg
large__DSC2876.jpg

I'd lying if I didn't say it was quite an emotional moment lol, but a perfect moment nonetheless.

large__DSC2892.jpglarge__DSC2887.jpg

Exchanging our vows...

large_AAD651C72219AC6817AB9235E7CBFA77.jpglarge_AAD8A80E2219AC6817CFEAD6010A22FC.jpglarge_0C96399B2219AC6817FAB0AF49A7D764.jpg

And sealing it all with a big smooch!

large_AADA8CD32219AC6817DDCA8E0593146A.jpg

Ladies and Gentlemen... I present to you Mr. & Mrs. Warren!

large__DSC2900.jpglarge_DSC_1372.jpg

Just a perfect little ceremony... thankfully it wasn't too long because that suit was HOT! After only 30 minutes outside my shirt went from white to transluscent lol. Immediately after the ceremony we geared into picture mode because there wasn't a lot of time until our dinner. *More Wedding pictures will be down at the bottom of the blog*

large__DSC2925.jpglarge__DSC2955-Edit.jpglarge__DSC2970-Edit.jpglarge__DSC2978.jpg
large__DSC2988.jpglarge__DSC3041.jpglarge__DSC3031.jpglarge__DSC3101.jpglarge__DSC3096.jpglarge__DSC3121.jpglarge__DSC3128.jpglarge__DSC3133.jpg

After a terrific photo shoot the 'real' wedding began. I say this because I know the cast of characters we chose to speak at our dinner... in saying that I mean that there was never a dull moment. Right from the get go a dynamic unstoppable duo formed with my brother-in-law Mike as Mc and my best bro Jordan laying the beats.

large__DSC3173.jpg

I nearly pissed myself when Jordan played the Cheers theme song after Stacey did a toast to her sister Kara because we got married on her birthday lol. Mike telling his story about how we became friends...

large__DSC3182.jpg

I believe at this point Mike (oh by the way our wedding had 3 Mikes... Crazy Mike, Brown Mike, and well, just Mike... he works at a jail so maybe it should be something bad-ass like Jailhouse Mike lol... I'm sure he'd love that) was doing his introduction of the wedding party, or better known as 'The Roast Of The Wedding Party' minus his wife Jana of course lol.

large__DSC3177.jpg

Grandma Braaten with the two new grand-babies...

large__DSC3151.jpg

Cam and Jannelle having a good time...

large__DSC3155.jpg

My favourite Fort Mac people. Cheers guys!

large__DSC3158.jpg

Stacey's God Mother Wanda, her sister Gail and Stacey's uncle Barry and aunty Vicky...

large__DSC3172.jpg

Don't you just love the girls matching dresses Grandma picked out...

large__DSC3161.jpg

Now as memory serves me I probably delivered one of the most epic best man speeches of all time at my brothers wedding two years ago. Needless to say I knew his speech was going to be sweet redemption... just like my stag outfit...

large__DSC3188.jpglarge__DSC3204.jpg

Kudos Bryce cause you pulled it off. There's no need to go into details because it would be impossible to explain, but you nailed the key ingredients: 1) I was truly embarrassed 2) Everyone was laughing hysterically including myself 3) And you managed to croon a verse of Rod Stewart lol

The toasts from the parents...

large__DSC3248.jpglarge__DSC3268.jpg

Stacey and I saying our 'thank you's'...

large__DSC3311.jpg

Time to cut the cake...

large_DSC_1542.jpglarge_AADE74532219AC68173DA4E733DCB70F.jpg

Mmmm... cake...

large_DSC_1549.jpg

Our first dance...

large__DSC3328.jpglarge__DSC3326.jpg

Let the dancing begin!

large__DSC3318.jpglarge__DSC3379.jpglarge__DSC3380.jpglarge__DSC3384.jpglarge__DSC3386.jpg

All the resort staff said they have never seen a wedding party that pumpin'. Everyone was having such a blast that we extended the dance as long as we possibly could. We rocked it until they basically had to shut us down because it was too late lol.

large__DSC3400.jpglarge__DSC3417.jpg

Well now that all that wedding jazz is over with let's get back to the pool and celebrating.

large_DSC_1586.jpglarge_DSC_1617.jpg

Heidi and Mel making us laugh!

large_DSC_1594.jpglarge_DSC_1618.jpg

Water balloon fight anyone??

large_DSC_1629.jpglarge_DSC_1631.jpg

Lol look at Steph's facial expression. My guess is she smoked a little kid lol. Nice shootin'!

large_DSC_1637.jpg

There was honestly never a dull moment the entire week at the resort... especially for us. When day dreaming about this week while travelling we always kind of thought that it would be overwhelming seeing everyone at once. But looking back at it now, it actually wasn't overwhelming at all. In fact it was just what we needed. Words can't explain how great it was to finally be sharing stories with old friends, or having dinner with our family, to just being silly with our nieces and nephews down on the beach.

large_AB1F16A62219AC68177A6CBF184D63C3.jpglarge_DSC_1735.jpglarge_DSC_1750.jpglarge_DSC_1755.jpglarge_DSC_1758.jpglarge_DSC_1759.jpg

Other people such as my folks Lyle & Darleen chose to embrace the premium beach beds overlooking the Caribbean.

large_DSC_1653.jpg

As did baby Zach...

large_DSC_1651.jpg

While some like my niece Caitlin stuck to suntanning...

large_DSC_1646.jpg

I believe the resort featured five different al la carte restaurants which were all really good but because of our wedding package on our finally night in the Dominican we were treated to a romantic dinner on the beach.

large_AB357FF02219AC68175078EBFB6820DF.jpglarge_AB36CBBA2219AC6817C399B1966AE915.jpg

And that concludes our time in Dreams Punta Cana! After indulging in one final breakfast we set off to catch our plane back home to Canada. I suppose this spelt the end of the vacation and back to reality for some people, but for us this would be our first time setting foot on Canadian soil in 372 days.

large_DSC_1788.jpg

Let's finally head home...

large_AB3D1E822219AC6817A33E93674AE203.jpg

Well it pains me to say it but that's it guys. This will be our final blog post and I must say it has been fantastic having people follow us on our storybook journey. We initially wanted to do this as a way to stay connected with our families and to maybe give them a better idea of what we were seeing and experiencing, but ultimately it turned into so much more. I still can't believe that some of our posts have received well over 2000 hits! I can't even name 100 people I know who read it. On numerous occasions I was asked questions from random readers and additionally the positive feedback has been overwhelming. Probably one of the more touching moments for me was learning that my aunty Marlene has turned it into a book that she constantly updates and brings to my Grandma so she can follow our exploits as well. Four volumes worth I believe lol! We've had to say a lot of good byes this past year: to good friends we met while travelling (you know who you are and we will forever feel blessed for getting to share in those beautiful adventurous moments with you). To all the amazing countries and regions we visited... and more importantly to the backpacker lifestyle. Yes there were times that we were tested and pushed to our limits and now after being home it would be hard for me to again give up my pillow-top, bed-bug free mattress lol. But I must say, in this last year I have never felt more free in my entire life and I think a part of that feeling will remain with us forever. And finally good bye to this blog. Make of it what you will but it has been my job for this past year even though I only had to show up to work every 3.4 days lol. I hope that it has been as entertaining to read as it was to live (except for maybe getting robbed in Thailand or having surgery in Kenya lol). I can still remember setting up this page and getting to the part where you need to come up with a caption to go underneath the heading and I remember thinking, 'write something that relates to our goals for this trip'. "Expanding Our Minds & Our Outlooks On Life"... I remember thinking 'God that sounds corny', but it grew on me because it was honest and that was exactly what we set out to do on this trip. Both Stacey and myself are nothing but humble for getting to live this life and thank you all for being such a big part of it. We love you...

Blair & Stacey Warren

As promised here are a few more wedding pictures...

large__DSC2894.jpglarge__DSC2924.jpglarge__DSC2929-Edit-2.jpglarge__DSC2980.jpglarge__DSC3046.jpglarge__DSC3094.jpglarge__DSC3113.jpg

Posted by ttbwarren 18:59 Archived in Dominican Republic

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint