We are doing great back in Luperon after our wonderful visit to Florida and Idaho last month. Hard to believe that it’s already been two weeks since our return on August 8.
We traveled a day ahead of the terrorist scare in the UK and had a smooth trip back to the DR, even though we were weighted down like sherpas with all of the items for the boat. We expected to have to use our Caveman Spanish with the customs guys at the Puerta Plata airport upon arrival to try and explain the wind generator, VHF radios, SAT phone, etc. while attempting to avoid any customs charges for bringing such high ticket items into their country. However, we employed a different tactic and just bypassed the customs line and marched confidently out the door with our truckload of bags in tow. We were intercepted by an official who asked us something to which I answered “Bahia Luperon” and instead of redirecting us to the customs line he helped us out the door! Resisting the urge to look back, we were happy to see a man in the loud crowd holding a hand-written sign that said “Lisa – Luperon”. That must be Jaime, our driver that was to pick us up in his large van. Turns out it was Julio, Jaime’s cousin, who was picking us up in his much smaller, much used car. Four of our bags fit in the trunk, two carry-on size bags went into the back seat with us, while both the giant orange 70 pound bag and the retro hard-sided red Samsonite bag were delicately shoved into the front seat. Julio drove with one arm atop the red Samsonite to keep it from landsliding onto him. And we were off on a typical Dominican taxi ride – fast and chaotic, but with a very friendly driver who seemed at ease with the other loco drivers.
It was a relief to be back to the boat and see that all was well. Instead of experiencing the anticipated culture shock upon returning to the D.R. after being back in the States, we found a comfortable familiarity. On our way back to Luperon I smiled as we passed a boy riding a burro down the side of the road. Smiled again at the sight of the typical game of dominoes taking place on a sidewalk table with players slapping their dominoes down with furrowed brows. Smiled at the sight of a beautiful young Dominican woman strolling confidently along with gigantic pink and blue rollers in her hair. Then I noticed I was just simply smiling. As much as we enjoyed our visit “home”, it was good to be home. Oh sure, I miss running water and toilet paper in public restrooms but all in all it’s good to be back.
Next on our project agenda is to get the new wind generator installed. We’ve ordered the pipe necessary to build the pole and we just need to go to Puerta Plata to pick it up. The trade winds continue to blow a steady 15+ knots from early morning until into the evening so we are looking forward to the additional power source. The solar panels have been doing a great job but we still end up running the engine a few hours every 4-6 days to keep the batteries charged. The investment in the wind generator should save on the wear and tear of Forrest as well as our nerves. Sitting on a boat at anchor with the diesel engine idling at 1800 rpms is not a party.
Next week we are considering a trip back to Santo Domingo to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary! We’ve been studying our Lonely Planet guide to the DR to consider our hotel options. We definitely want to stay in the Zona Colonial, the historic colonial zone that is rich in 16th century architecture and modern culture. Hopefully we can find a place with modern bathrooms.
Hasta la proxima vez.