Friday, February 28, 2014

Dominican Republic-Not Bike Friendly!

My parents are staying at the resort that's a 10 mins bike ride from us at the marina, which is amazing. We went to the resort and tried to find them, but couldn't, so we asked the Bell Hop how far the city centre was. He said, not far, about 20 mins on bike. So we thought, let's do it. The problem was that the Dominican is not exactly bike friendly, people were shocked to see us biking, we are literally the only people in Puerto Plata with bicycles, and I was shocked we didn't get hit. No bike lanes of course, so we had to share the road with the cars piled high with people and the many motor bikes zipping around us (far too close for comfort!). We later found out that the Dominican has one of the highest fatalities from car/motor bike accidents-we even passed one on the way back! 

After a good half hr of biking, and not seeing the city centre, I asked someone again where it was. He said, about another 20 mins. Okay, we made it this far, why not? 20 minutes later, I ask someone else. I asked if it was far, and he said it was pretty far, at least another 20-30 minutes! The first guys I asked, told me it wasn't very far, an hour of biking later and now it's far?! Needless to say, we decided not to keep going, we were pretty exhausted and hungry.

The actual town of Puerto Plata is quite poor, and it's easy not to see it if you never leave the luxury of your resort. There is a lot of garbage, there are kids playing with garbage, and there are many street dogs. There were many people on the streets, but it didn't seem like many stores or restaurants were open. Also, the men assume that I don't speak Spanish and so they think I don't understand what they're saying to me. One guys passing said under his breath "linda" which means pretty in Spanish, John was very confused as to why the guy thought my name was Linda. That I don't mind, but when they hiss at you, that creeps me out-even the men in the military are doing it!

Aside from that, the people here are very nice and friendly. We finally found a shop that was open, and John was very happy to get his "pollo" which he had been looking everywhere for, while I was very happy to find some ice cream (it's been so long!). And it's quite a change from the sparse islands of the Bahamas with towns of 50 or so people. Time to embrace the

Latin culture!

Coco loco?

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