Archive for the ‘Blog friends’ Category
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Here we are able to present yet another enlightening and certainly entertaining Dominican Republic Boca Chica story, this time at the expense of one of Playa Vista’s best friends from the cold North who reports with such descriptive pathos we quote him word for word.
Taxi to the bus station – Caribe Tours in Santo Domingo – was fine, arriving at 6:25. Headed to the ‘Bileteria’, asked for ticket to Sosua – “No” – “Whadya mean, no?” – ” Last bus at seven” – “But it’s only 6:30″! – “Bus full”!
Oh my God! Recurring visions of last year’s rescheduling. “Only bus is to Santiago at 8PM” – “OK. I’ll take it” At least it would get me beyond half way. I ask at the ‘Informacion’ if by any chance there’s a bus from Santiago to Sosua. The girl consults with another and says there is and that it leaves at 10:30… exactly the time the first one gets there. She assures me that it will connect! An hour and a half later, just to be sure, I ask the driver as I’m boarding the bus, if the other bus will wait for this one. He tells me there is no other bus, well not Caribe Tours, anyway. I will have to get a taxi to another bus station in Santiago for the bus to Sosua.
On the way, the air conditioning is so cold that water is condensing on the luggage rack and dripping off a joint above my head right onto my glasses. I recline the seat a bit more and soon my chest is soaking wet – can’t move, the bus is jam-packed.
Arrive at Santiago and there is one taxi who tells me there is no other bus station or company! I figured it was the old trick to get me into his cab and there was no one else around to ask. “That’s it,” I thought, “I’ve missed the plane again and I’ll be stuck here until morning.” He says he’ll take me all the way to the airport. I figured that if it cost $180US to get from the airport to Boca Chica last year, that Santiago to Sosua is going to be around $80US and I knew I hadn’t got anywhere near that much on me. “Mucho dinero.” I say. He pulls out a cell-phone, punches the keypad and shows me the figure RD$1600. I didn’t bother to figure what that was in dollars – I just put my hand in my pocket and pulled out what I had – 1640 pesos. Whew!!! “Bueno!” I said… grabbing at the offer like a drowning man, which I pretty much was.
I still had four hours to be safe for the plane and I asked him how long the trip would take. He told me about an hour and a half. I had noticed, whilst negotiating with him, that both his eyes looked in different directions but it wasn’t until we had been traveling for about ten minutes that it became fairly obvious that he couldn’t see worth a damn. He never exceeded 40MPH and overtaking cars were whizzing past us by the dozens. When anything came towards us in the opposite direction, he would slow almost to a standstill and, at the last moment, swerve violently away from it, the right-hand wheels gong off the edge of the road. Of course, he had to slow down for those really bad, pot-holed patches, but he would jam on the brakes on smooth roads for potholes that weren’t even there! I was convinced that we were not going to make it all the way without some terrible calamity. On top of all this, the radio was on at full volume the whole time and the window on my side wouldn’t go up, so when it started to rain near Puerto Plata, I got soaked (some more). The rain reduced what little visibility he/the cross eyed chauffeur had, and with it, our speed down to around 20MPH. The whole trip took two and three quarter hours.
The saga is not finished yet, my friends. When, after the long wait with only 40 pesos in my pocket, which is insufficient to buy any refreshment at airport prices, I reached the boarding gate clutching my precious obligatoric $10US only to be told that I had first to go to another desk and pay a departure tax of an additional $10US. I told them I hadn’t got it and had not been advised that I would need it. “Well, you can’t get on the plane until it’s paid!” Arguing the point was futile – they took away my boarding pass! Then one of the agents at the gate made an announcement to the waiting passengers asking if anyone could lend this gentleman the necessary sum. Three people instantly stepped forward with $10 bills and I was saved. Believe me, at that moment, I was on the point of breaking into tears of relief!
Everything went smoothly after that, and my wife had a $10US bill with which I was able to repay the kind lady from whom I had borrowed it. I was so glad that it was all over, that even the twenty centimeters of snow that started to fall as soon as I arrived, seemed quite welcoming.
It must be pointed out that the recurring visions of last year’s rescheduling that our indomitable traveling friend had, were due to the fact that, because of a long sequence of quite different crazy occurrences, he completely missed his plane in Puerto Plata!
Well back in the cold North we asked our comrade if his unplanned departure-adventure would put him off visiting the Dominican Republic and good old Playa Vista again? “It would take a lot more than that episode to discourage me. Of course I’m coming back again” he stoically responded without hesitation.
So… thanks to the good old bull dog spirit we look forward to seeing him again very soon, and naturally we at Playa Vista will be waiting with open arms to again offer the kind of welcome that such a spirited and playful actor on the Boca Chica stage deserves.
Thursday, July 7, 2005
Charlie welcomed us back from our minor break in the fine routine with this e-mail:
I didn’t realize you guys would take a holiday. I was very concerned about your health when you didn’t post anything on you page for a month. I check it every morning in hopes of news from the Dominican Republic. I love your page.
A faithful fan, Charlie
(- honestly we didn’t make it up!)
Meanwhile Dennis welcomed us in quite a different way. The warmth of his welcome was soon felt in the strength of his powerful winds, accompanied by a number of heavy downpours of rain and then finally a 3-4 inch deposit of sand on the beach before he passed on by, a respectful distance well out in the Caribbean Sea, quite harmlessly for all of us here in the Dominican Republic at least.
We hope for the sake of the good folks along the coasts of Cuba and Florida that daunting hurricane Dennis will not end up nicknamed ‘Dennis The Menace’.