Feb 17 – today was a travel day, and a day worth describing. (Yes, dear friend Tom, this post is for you!) We had our final breakfast in Santo Domingo, and called for an Uber to the bus station, where we rode a big bus north in air conditioned comfort for three hours to Las Terrenas. There was even a movie on the bus!
As soon as we got off the bus, we were surrounded by an eager group of drivers inviting us to take their taxi or moto (motorcycle). We have left urban Santo Domingo, so Uber is no longer an option.
We were looking for the local public transport, or guagua station, but couldn’t find it, although we walked up and down the street where Google said it should be. We ducked into a shop, and a very nice tailor left his sewing machine and pulled out his phone to help us. Nice person of the D.R.!
Turns out there is no longer a guagua heading to our town. The best option was to cross the city of Las Terranas by motorcycle and find a guagua heading for El Limón. Please note that I have never ridden a motorcycle ever, let alone ridden helmet-less behind a Dominican. But here we are, so here we go!
Ten minutes (and $1) later, hair blown back, we were on the other side of town, stepping into our guagua, otherwise known as an open pickup truck. Here’s Jim getting in with his pack. Yes, we sat on the wood slats on the sides. No, we didn’t worry about falling out, as once all nine of us were shoehorned in, there wasn’t much room to move.
The truck took us half an hour (16 miles) to El Limón, where we were instructed to leave the truck and hop into another guagua, this time a van, which was nice and breezy as the doors and windows had been removed. The van took us 15 miles to Samaná, where we transferred to an even sadder-looking van with a cracked windshield, and wooden crates where the seats should be. All the interior upholstery on the sides and top had been removed as well, giving the van a nice, rusty metal vibe.
I thought the van was quite full enough with twelve people plus the driver, but the driver kept calling ‘Las Galeres!’ out the window until were reached our 15 seat capacity. From there, it was stop and go every few blocks, as folks got off and others got on, greeting their friends and keeping up a noisy chatter. Big parcels had to be strapped to the roof rack, and when we passed a grocery, the driver got out to do some shopping. He was nice enough to inquire if anybody else needed anything.
17 miles later, we arrived in Las Galeres. Almost there! We were just two miles from our destination, and guess what? Two motorcycles were standing ready, waiting to take us! I jumped right on, this time. I am a biker pro!
So now we are in our seaside villa, listening to the lap of the waves and feeling the gentle breezes. There is a salamander on our bedroom wall, and cows lowing right beneath our window. It’s good to be home.