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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Reminiscing the D.R.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC | Tuesday, 3 July 2012 | Views [673]

A few days ago I returned to "La Capital," facing the crime, cash, grime, and splash that go along with it. As of other day I've hitchhiked a grand total of 25,691 km (15,963 miles) in 13 countries! With the steambath that Santo Domingo is, I won't miss the heat. It's not exactly the prettiest city or the easiest to get around but its tourism potential is enormous! Jorge told me they're building a paved road quickly linking Punta Cana and Bavaro so that resort tourists can perhaps visit Santo Domingo for the day. This is my last day here sadly. My month in the Dominican Republic is a success story and a sad irony all in one. Dance, music, sports, rum, and sugar are world class but poor infrastructure in terms of education, health, and social services are rife. Poverty abounds from the outskirts of Santo Domingo all the way to the countryside and Haitian border. "La Capital" has enough flashy cars, nightclubs, and fast food joints to look like South Beach transplanted yet going to Caraballo and other communities you'd think you're in the middle of the Congo Basin. The Dominican Republic is most definitely a complex dichotomy of rich and poor. A month here has felt like an eternity with everything to go with it: volunteering, lots of food, hitchhiking, air-conditioned cars, beggars, moto-conchos, rum, baseball, shit in the streets, colmados, rubbish everywhere, insects, mamajuana, fruit stalls, sticky heat, dominoes, stinky smells, jungle, filth, waterfalls, and clear blue ocean! All rolled up into one country occupying two thirds of Hispanola. It's the kind of place you'll fall in love with regardless of the circumstances. If the country doesn't grab your heart the people certainly will when they offer you a plate of mangu up to a metre high. 

This morning I was ready to pack up all my gear and set out toward the airport. After chatting with Angel last night I found out a way to get to the airport without shelling out $35 for a taxi. Jorge had to set out for work early so I had breakfast and said goodbye to him. If I move to St. Croix next year I'll be closer to the D.R. and he can CouchSurf with me. At roughly 11:00 AM I was ready to set out to the airport. My flight wasn't due to depart until 4:00 PM but since I didn't know precisely how to get to the airport I allowed extra time. I got a moto-concho across the street from IKEA which took me part way for 60 pesos (about $1.50) and then was squeezed tightly into the back of a public car for 25 pesos (about $0.60). Thankful to get out I was in the middle of a stinky, sprawling market at Parque Enriquillo. It's not the kind of place you want to stroll around aimlessly with all your belongings. A woman in the public car told me to catch the Boca Chica-bound bus, which there was one right there. Santo Domingo definitely has a rubbish problem; there is rubbish and plastic just about everywhere in this section of town. Ken thinks Havana has a rubbish problem, but he should come to Santo Domingo; it makes Havana look like a saint lives there! I can't get over the smell! Some parts of the city downright stink. As I were driving along the coast in the direction of the airport I sort of shed a tear because I'm really going to miss it. Jorge asked me how my journey has gone, and I give it a "Perfect 10". With the exception of a couple of small things that happened whilst volunteering this journey went extremely smoothly. My zest for travel and the world has been more than revitalized, it has take my life by storm! The bus dropped me off about 1 km from the airport. A moto-concho offered to take me for 100 pesos but I refused so I started walking. Shortly up the road a vehicle stopped for me even though I didn't hold out my thumb. The driver works at a car rental kiosk so he didn't expect me to pay him. From "La Capital" to the airport it cost me only about $3.50. I'm still unsure of my future travel plans, although I'm seriously considering the Trans-Siberian Railway for this coming January, but we'll see. Dominican Republic, I will miss you! And I shall be back again someday.

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