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Dominican Republic! Love this place

January 3, 2016

We are in the DR and we are having an adventurous and amazing time!

It's not really a place for tourists looking for beach resorts, at least where we are right now, Luperon, North Coast, but it's amazing just the same.

If you are a back packer or a cruiser looking for a great place to drop the hook for a few weeks, this place is for you. We've backpacked dozens of countries and this would be a stop for us. Why? you're porbably asking. In a few words; Culture, scenery, people, affordablitily, it's down right Cheap! Beers in restaurants are less than a US dollar $.

A meal that feeds all 3 of us, including 2 beers each for Mom and Dad and a Sprite for Cole, cost us just under $16 and that was a decent restaurant with a view. The people here are so friendly and inviting. Just walking down the street you are always saying hello to a welcoming smile and we've been invited into 3 homes now, in less than 10 days, just to be shown around inside. Love it.

 

 

We rented motorcycles the other day ($10 US a day) and went on an amazing adventure! We drove down the local highway (not so busy though) through tiny villages, on roads leading to more tiny villiages. 

The first day had us in El Castillo the place where Columbus first landed and his ship broke up, the Santa Maria. He had to leave some of his men there because his other ship was so small, about the size of a 40' sail boat and he couldn't take them with him. Those left behind settled this little village.

The bikes we rented were 125cc Yamaha street bikes and I doubled Krista. Guess who rode the other motorcycle all by himself!? That’s right! My 10 year old son Cole. Cole has been riding dirt bikes since he was 5 and he's pretty good at it. He's had a few litle dirt bikes through the years while growing up back in B.C. starting with a 50cc Honda and then an 80cc Honda. I had a 1971 Yamaha 125 Enduro. We would all jump on the bikes, (I doubled Krista) and head off up into the mountains of Vancouver Island on logging roads and ride up to trout filled lakes where we would fish for the afternoon. Cole got really good at riding.

In the DR you are allowed to do pretty much anything and riding a street bike at 10 years old through the mountain valleys and into tiny villiages is one of those things.

So after about an hour of teaching Cole, (well more like refreshing him), on how to ride in the tiny streets of Luperon, he did! 

He did an amazing job of it too! Everything I told him to do, he did, all of his motorbiking skills came right back to him. He followed me like a hawk hunting prey, right behind me the whole time and he mimicked every move I made. It was a LONG ride too! We rode 200+ kms! 

60 the first day and 150 the second day.

We saw amazing things. Cows walking right down the middle of the highway or down a country road it didn't matter, always followed by a farmer cracking his rope whip, right behind them. 

There were Burros with guys that looked like Juan Valdez (the coffee guy), with muddy gum boots on, riding atop the Burros on straw saddles. 

Fields of sugar cane or rice patties or corn or bananas or vegetables were everywhere...

old time steel can, milk jugs, full of fresh milk being delivered on moped style motor cycles. Rolling hills covered with swaying Palms and grassy meadows full of cows.

These people live simple and do it right, living off the land because it's the only way they know. 

We ate at road side shack restaurants for just a few dollars, and enjoyed the beach where only locals hang out, with seafood restaurants lining up and down the beach. 

They cook on clay fire pits here, with local wood, burning under the pots. They serve Lobster, oysters, fish, crab, conch, or octopus or chicken or pork! 

So much food and so cheap! Oysters 90 cents a dozen, lobster dinners $12, crab dinners $5, all served with rice and local style salad, Chicken or Pork $3.

Beer was 90 cents each, ice cream cones for $1 with 2 scoops of homemade ice-cream! We sat in plastic chairs at wooden tables and under thatch roofed palapas just meters from the water.

 

 

It was wind-y riding back (read as wind blowing) and there was more traffic including a couple of BIG buses that passed us. It was scary at times but Cole owned it and rode like a pro!

We rode slow 45 km an hour or less, and at this speed it's easy to ride and easy to take it all in!

Cole was in heaven and so were we. Cole will never forget that whole experience, neither will we. 

There were rivers to cross, bridges to cross, cows to pass, a funeral procession walking right up the middle of the road to try and pass. Everyone in every villiage was waving and saying hi as we rode past them. They loved seeing little Cole riding such a big bike and cheered to him as he hollered back “Ohla”! He sang as he rode or laughed out loud. Amazing! He never goofed off and listened intently to everything I told him to do. He seriously rode like a Pro. 

 

NYE was good too. We went to the local marina and by local, I mean DR local. Simple and wonderful. Stayed up until midnight and Cole, after dinner was over, which as at 10 pm, (pretty late I know) got to run and play with 5 other kids for most of the night. The kids weren’t cruiser kids but most of them spoke good English. 

There was dancing and music by a local mariachi style band.

All the more important local people were there, sitting at what can only be described as the “Head” table. They all came by and gave cheek kisses to us all. Of course we were nicely dressed and in a samll town where everyone knows everyone, I think the 3 of us stood out. Lol!

 

 

 

Tomorrow we plan rent a car and drive the country side for a few days maybe even a week as we explore the mountainous areas of the interior, the large and beautiful water falls that we have heard so much about, the agricultural valleys and farm lands, the Capital called Santo Domingo, and then the kite surfing capital of the world as they say, called Cabarete on the North Coast. Few tourists are here in the areas we plan to explore, they tend to visit the more comfortable beach side resrot towns of Punta Canna, where everything is all inclusive. I would like to enjoy one of those holidays someday soon but for now this is what we will see.

 

We went exploring and diving with a friend today and we all brought our spears. We didn’t catch anything but the sea life here was amazing and different from the Bahamas.

K im gonna go here, I was just out in the engine rooms doing oil changes on both engines and fuel filter changes getting ready for our next BIG leg of the journey to Puerto Rico about 300 miles away and along a notorious stretch of sea. But not for a week yet.

 

Krista and Cole are in town getting vegetables and renewing our iPad internet etc.

Cool here at night, just 70 F and hot in the day about 86F not super sunny but nice. The Trade Winds blow here daily. Winds of up to 25 knots every afternoon and dieing out in the late evening and morning. They say cruisers underestimate the relentlessness of the Trade Winds and I can see why, they arrive everyday in the afternoon.

 

Our sail is at the sail fixers place and should be done soon. I hope he can handle the job as he has a smaller operation not really set up for a huge Catamaran Main sail, which is much bigger, and heavier, than the usual mono hull sails, but he comes well recomended. 

Fingers crossed.

I will give a full review of his work and post his name and business details when he is finished. It's just good to know there is someone here that can help!

 

We ran out of water last night because we haven’t been able to make water with our water maker. The harbour here in Luperon is brackish and would wreck our pre filters if I tried, so we bought water, but it is delivered right to our boat! There is a local guy called Poppo and he delivers anything you want with a smile! Food, ice, fuel, water, propane, laundry. You name it he will do it. He even says he can fix boats but I'm not in need right now.

 

Well that's it for this update. We're off on an adventure tomorrow and will update as we can. Thanks for reading!

Cheers, Brad

 

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