Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DR 2

Actually, the noise stopped a few minutes later. So all we had to deal with was shivering all night because we were at 4000 feet and they didn't have any blankets.

Strangely, the entire trip in the DR would prove to be far cooler than I had imagined. Temperature, that is. I've concluded that 18 degrees north isn't all that amazingly tropical in February.

We were also quickly concluding that, notwithstanding really nice, non-hassling people (save for one surly dwarf), there were good reasons why nobody has ever said what a groovy, far out place the Dominican Republic was to visit. Again, it's not ugly or unpleasant. There's just not all that much zazz.

Anyway, it turned out that we couldn't continue south over the mountains from Constanza, so we had to backtrack, heading east to the main Highway 1, then south to west of Santo Domingo, and then on round about to the southwestern part of the country. It being Independence Day, there were plenty of local parades in the middle of towns to have to bypass. Also, remember about Carnival being over last week? Turns out they go ahead and celebrate it on Independence Day, so there were also families wearing cheap Halloween masks and young people literally humping each other in the middle of streets.

We were also getting hungry. Even in Honduras ten years ago there were Pizza Huts and Ruby Tuesdays and food courts in malls. Pero nada in the DR. And I mean nada. We finally found a highway bus rest stop where we were able to get various brown Dominican cafeteria foods. Yum.

As the day was ending we had finally made it around the last congested parade city and to the not so aptly named town of Paraiso. Yes, there were palm trees and beautifully tinted shades of blue water. But dip your toes in it and you would probably be immediately swept out to Puerto Rico. And the town itself, like so many others, was rather scuzzy. We checked into the Paraiso Hotel on the outskirts, paid extra for the A/C, then found out that it never came on because the town's power plant never came on.

Tuesday morning we were down the road heading for a salt lake in a national park that the LP said was a tour highlight because of the flamingoes and the giant iguanas. No flamingoes. No iguanas. Just ugly brackish water. Okay, it's fun to make fun of the Lonely Planet guides. But this one was really the worst one over. In fact, this one was so awful that not only did everything that it say was good was bad, but that everything that it said was bad was actually good.

Okay, I'm the one who signed up for this trip. As Maureen kept reminding me on the long, long drive back to Santo Domingo. And there is always that great sense of satisfaction when you're able to find your way back to the car rental place in a giant, strange city, and you can turn the car back to them uncrashed and undented.

And the Zona Colonial was looking pretty quaint and comfy on the return. And all of our friends at the Mercure Hotel were there to greet us. Anyway, the main purpose of this trip was to make it to and through Haiti.

Which, assuming that we can get to sleep and wake up in 8 hours, we shall do soon enough.


At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should've stayed with the Guns&Roses party? -c


Post a Comment

<< Home