Bavaro - Santo Domingo

Trip Start Jun 28, 2007
Trip End Jul 13, 2007

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Friday, June 29, 2007

Up early due to jet lag and decided to take pictures of the ocean to
prove I'd made it. Except the bloody digital camera I'd borrowed was
telling me that it had no battery and refused to take photos. I'd
charged it before I left home and so left its paraphenalia behind -
back to relying on my sis's film camera and hoping I can scan the pics
in at a later date.

Breakfast in the hotel before heading off
to find the expreso bus to Santo Domingo. We were going to catch a
gua-gua (something like a public bus) to the expreso stop, but we were
stopped by a couple of enterprising motoconcho drivers who decided that
us (and our luggage) would be perfectly safe on their two motorbikes.
That's one girl per bike, plus a rucksack each and a suitcase
nestled between the handlebars on both bikes. At 50 mph on crowded
roads. Definitely an experience and rather cool.

After that
the 4 hour bus ride was a bit of an anticlimax, but we reached Santo
Domingo without incident. I was surprised at the size of the city - I
think I'd always imagined the Dom Rep as being another Guyana. Instead
it's a Guyana 50 years in the future where there is in fact some
infrastructure. We got stuck in traffic jams which I wasn't
expecting, plus the scale of the place is gigantic compared to the rest
of the country. Debs pointed out the giant holes in the ground that
were going to become the subway system as we moseyed on through red
lights in a particularly Caribbean way.

Our hotel was in the
Zona Colonial, riddled with crazy one way streets and quaint buildings,
but safe and central and more importantly with air conditioning and
cable TV (we're shallow, ok?). We wandered down to Plaza Espana, which
was pretty ugly, then through Columbus' house, which had a glorious
breeze going through it. I'll say this for colonial settlers - they
knew how to keep themselves comfortable. The furniture was minimal but
accessible, and if most of the furnishings were original they were
surprisingly well preserved given the climate.

We then
wandered up to a museum in the old governor's palace, which featured
lots of colonial stuff with occasional odd forays into samurai armour
and peacocks. We also ran into a proud dad who showed us his daughter's
painting hanging in a display done by local children, much to the
mortification of his 8 year old.

Dinner was in the cheapest
restaurant on the plaza before attempting to rush off to the English
screening of Shrek 3 in some distant shopping mall. Suffice to say, we
got stuck in an enormous traffic jam and arrived at least half an hour
late. What's more worrying was that this place was filled with
teenagers, all of whom were dressed better than I was. Still, in the
tradition of this holiday, I got to see the second half, followed by
frozen yoghurt made with your choice of freshly blitzed fruits. The
Dominicans do a lot of things with pureed frozen fruit, most of it
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