|...as least we had a car...|
|Fuel stop, look at the prices|
The next challenge was driving 3 hours from Samana to Santo Domingo and then finding our way around town. We crossed rice fields, rolling hills with cattle, river valleys, rugged mountain passes and finally into the metropolis of town. Once in Santo Domingo, it was C R A Z Y....like driving in NYC. Cars cutting us off, multiple lanes of traffic, signs in Spanish, treacherous culverts on the sides of the streets, children sprinting across the divided highways, few traffic lights and "Una Via" streets everywhere.
Thank goodness for Don's LTE chip on T-Mobile, so he was able to navigate for race car driver Meloney as we quickly threw ourselves into the crazy flow.
Once in the city, we stopped at a super market to secure funds from a Western Union where buddy boat Sea Star needed some serious cash to fix their bent prop and prop shaft damaged while we all crossed the Caicos Banks. They hit a coral head in the low angle morning light where none of us could see the massive coral heads as we powered at 6 knots into the sunrise. The Caicos banks are dangerous due to these large coral heads. You can not see them until it is nearly too late. Unfortunately, Sea Star caught one prop on the edge of coral and took damages. Lucky for them, here in the Dominican Republic, they hired divers to replace the shaft and prop while in the water! WOW, amazing workers like this are needed, since we have heard there are no haulouts anywhere in the DR.
After a quick stop at the very large store, we moved on to the colonial section of town. Here are some photos of the Carrefoure Store. It was a food store and a Walmart type store.
|20 eggs shrink wrapped, unwashed and unrefrigerated. They will stay fresh for weeks.|
Driving into the colonial section of Santo Domingo, we enjoyed seeing the street vendors' carts of coconut water drinks and fruit stands. The DR people are so hard working and everyone has a shop, a cart, a stand, or some crafts to sell. It is really a bustling city and it was very exciting. Especially when compared to the Bahamas or Exumas.
|Coconut water drink cart|
|Typical fruit stand|
We parked the car and walked into the colonial district where we bought a very valuable English audio tour of the Cathedral Primada de America Catholic Church, the first cathedral in the new world. Construction began with the consecration of the land in 1514. Over the next 200+ years, they continued to add twelve small chapels onto the sides of the main sanctuary. The church is in amazing shape and was very impressive.
In the plaza outside the church is the monument of Christopher Columbus who sailed into Santo Domingo on December 5, 1492. This is believed to be his third landfall in the New World after first landing at San Salvador in the Bahamas and next Rum Island/Long Island and then here.
After our tours, we were guided to a lovely local restaurant named Mimosa by one of the government tourist guides who keep you safe from the locals who try to walk you out of the safe zone to shake you down. We all enjoyed a very fine lunch of various pasta meals and chicken dishes along with a dozen beers. The total bill for all 6 of us was 4,740 RD including tax and tip. This comes out to $108 US divided by 3 equaled $36 per couple! We are finding the local prices to be very reasonable and with the beer costing 100 RD or $2.12 apiece we can see why so many people vacation here.
Here are a few photos of walking around Santo Domingo
We bumped into this local arts celebration with a band and marching girls. They all looked so cute and happy and proud.
The drive from Samana to Santo Domingo
3+ hour drive