I learned many things on our trip, here are a few:
- When traveling in a third world country, never assume you can pay with a card (or find an ATM). Places like restaurants, hotels, boating expeditions, they only deal in cash.
- Don't expect a local vacation destination to have the same luxurious flavor as we are accustomed. When they say two single beds and a futon - that's really all the furniture you've got... when they say "mini-bar" they mean small college-size fridge. But when we said 'get-away' we got EXACTLY that!!
- When you arrange for a boat to take you to a random island, don't expect a glass bottom... expect a converted row boat with a motor thrown on the back and a piece of fabric stretched across the top.
- When you find the sincerely local get-aways, you don't have to worry about touristy resorts. Our hotel was right down the gravel road from an orphanage. We looked to one side and saw the sea and to the other and saw steep foothills stretch for miles.
- Last thing to remember when traveling in a developing country... never, and I mean never plan to take a bus on Independence Day. Every little town, pueblo, and village is having a parade or some such festivity with the townspeople in full dress and full blockage of the main road. And, of course the main road is also the only main highway going through said pueblo. Our bus took many detours on side streets (which of course are dirt, rock, and pot-holes), but we also got to see some pretty splendid parades! We drove right alongside a beautiful float with children dressed as beautiful animals (even in the heat!!).
Maybe the most important thing I took away from this past weekend is God's ordained time to rest. I spent time searching His Word, reading good books, and having delightful conversations. Resting is so very necessary for a productive life and I'm thankful for this past three-day weekend (afforded by the Day of Indpendence on September 15) and the rest it brought with it.