Sunday, March 8, 2009
Exploring the DR, On our Own
Our big day of exploring started out ominously; the 7:30 guagua to El Castillo (which we think is a van into which riders are squeezed like sardines) was either cancelled, left before 7:30, or never existed to begin with. We had been told this seat would cost us each 45 pesos (like $1.25). Alternative transportation in the form of a taxi was 100 pesos per person.
We arrived at the Museo and our taxi pulled away. We thought we had arrived before opening time, but a Dominican speaking broken English informed us that the museum was closed for renovations. We could walk the grounds for $50 pesos each, which we did.
This was purportedly the site of the first settlement in the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1493. While walking the grounds, we celebrated our fourth consecutive day of rain while viewing the improvements underway.
We had been told of the fantastic beach and restaurant nearby, with facilities to change into our suits and take a dip. We found a beach with some tables occupied by gentlemen playing dominoes and roosters chasing hens, but no smell of or other evidence of food. We were told the owner/cook would show up in about an hour, so we took off to find coffee, and found a local eatery/dance hall which brewed us up a pot of Dominican strong brew, very much like espresso. After getting warmed up after the chill from the rain, we headed back to the beach restaurant.
Our owner/cook had indeed arrived, and prepared for us a luncheon of lobster, salad, fried yucca (better this time), plaintains, and rice. And of course, cervesas (Presidentes and Bohemia, which we are told is a Presidente without the preservatives, for local consumption. This was a fantastic meal for the equivalent of $19 each, our most expensive in this country but well worth it.
Now to get the guagua back to Luperon. We canvassed the population to confirm the 2:30 departure time advised to us by our morning taxi driver. Two told us 2:00, one told us 2:30, two told us 3:30, one told us there was no guagua, so we took the offer from a passerby for a ride for 300 pesos for all of us.
We finished the day with our daily visit to the bakery to pick up our necessaries. We will surely miss our popover bread when we leave!