The Dominican Republic, here we come. In record time, we have base camp reserved and an unbelievable deal on a motorcycle. What is wrong with this picture?
We land in Santo Domingo, the country’s capital. We each have a helmet and Heidi brings a pillow. We have a 6-hour bus ride to the other side of the island so the thought to spend the night here. We want to show up at the new place in the daylight because we are not sure exactly where it is.
Our guidebook suggests we pay $20 US for a cab ride from the Santo Domingo airport to downtown. The first cab driver quotes forty bucks. I say “No way!” and start walking away in a huff. Heidi is not feeling well from a bad cold but is also not hip on getting ripped-off. A big guy standing next to us is witnessing this and asks if we would to share a taxi. Way cool, twenty bucks split. Charles is from Barbados and is here for a business convention. What a nice guy, he asks us all about our trip and thinks we are doing a great thing. He talks to the cab driver asking how he got into the cab business and about the good places to go in Santo Domingo. Charles asks where the safe places to go are here. The cab driver replies “Nowhere is safe here anymore” Charles gives us his business card and invites us to visit him anytime if we are ever in Barbados.
We are dropped in front of our hotel, Santo Domingo colonial district. The rooms facing the street are reported to be great with balconies overlooking all the action. When we get up to the receptionist, we are told there are no rooms available with balconies. We are shown another room. The room is clean but had NO windows and the price is over fifty bucks. We are hot and sweaty from lugging our gear up a flight of stairs and Heidi was not happy due to her miserable cold. The people are extremely nice turning the air conditioner on and bringing us towels and toilet paper. Heidi is in the room and ready to settle down. However, I am not happy, I want a balcony or at very least a window. I step up and refuse the room. Heidi is not pleased. We thank the receptionist and lug our gear back down the stairs. Out on the streets it is chaotic. I suggested we try to get on a bus to the North coast and get to our place tonight. I flag down a taxi, Caribe Tours bus station. Luckily, I have taken this bus from Santo Domingo to the North coast several times before, so I know the ropes. I just do not know if a bus is going there tonight.
At the bus station “Dos boletos a Sosua por favor” (Two tickets to Sosua please) We are handed the tickets. Two of the clerks behind the window start screaming saying “Run! The bus is leaving now!” Heidi and I haul Ass and make it on just before the bus pulls out. Whew…
The bus is cold but otherwise comfortable. There is a fifteen-minute pit stop midway in the city Santiago. We remember this place for having the best empanadas around. I step off the bus to buy some while Heidi stays onboard to guard our gear. Of course, there is only one empanada left and I eat it. Heidi is not happy, she cannot believe I could do something like that…
Six hours after we left Santo Domingo we arrive in Sosua, the closest we can get to our destination. I get a taxi , the only problem is that nobody has ever heard of the place where we are going. Humm… I know it is near a surfing beach that we both know about, I think from there we can find it. I know it is just two blocks off the highway, and two blocks down a side street. Well of course, it is pitch dark but the cab driver seemed to know where the surf beach turnoff is. We turned off the highway and soon are stopped by a pile of boulders blocking the road. The driver backs up and tries to circle around. We are stopped by another pile of boulders. Heidi is starting to freak out. I tried to reassure her that we are very close. The cab driver stops to ask a resident if they know Veronika. The resident gives us directions. We again drive and again hit a roadblock. Heidi freaks out some more. I try to reassure her. Finally, while the cab driver is attempting to turn around on the narrow rocky street, again, I get out of the cab and of course find myself standing right in front of the gate the ‘Surf Break’. What luck.