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Thread: Observation from a recent trip to the DR.

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    Cool Observation from a recent trip to the DR.

    Compared to the three years ago, the MOPC has made substantial road upgrades in the north coast, Las Terrenas, Santo Domingo and the road to San Cristobal. The roads in some areas are wider, smoother, brighter and have a shoulder to accommodate motorcycles. Most motorcycles operates were using hand signals on the highway and a few in the city. It felt less necessary to be force toward the road shoulder by approaching traffic, of the opposite direction.

    The police were helpful when reminding me of “una via”, in the wrong direction. I have never been stopped on previous trips. This time I covered the length of the country from Dajabon to Las Galeras. I guess the length of travel cause the police encounters. Once, at a check point leaving Dajabon, an officer ask for something to drink. I check an empty carton of pear juice, and informed him, No tengo mas. He motion us to proceed without issue. Another time en route to Nagua, I was stopped and questioned regarding my destination. The officers request my license and papers, I began to pass them and he turned away and motion me to continue driving. Other check points, I drove pass them without blinking. Unless they made an effort to delay me, otherwise I ignore them and didn't slow down much.

    Crossing the border to Ouanaminthe was quick and easy. Many people don't even bother to get a passport stamp, but some of us need to play it safe. Just encase things go south. The roads toward Cap Haitian are similar in smoothness to DR route 45 and route 1. Everyone working immigration on both sides was cooperative and slightly preoccupied in conversations. They were a little slow to get the other employees to the windows, for accommodating overflow of travelers. 30 minutes to cross between both checkpoints was not bad. No way would I pay a guide, which I didn't request, $40 to point toward Haiti and claim he helped me cross. Life is really less bearable on the Haitian side. Virtually no shade trees on the entire National route 6 in Haiti. Ouanaminthe needs to cover adjacent dirt roads with rocks to abate the dust, post something to offer shade when walking on the sidewalk and add bigger public transportation vehicles. In this region of Haiti compared with northeast coast of the DR, you have remote areas without sufficient shade. You can bring everything you need for comfort, however without a tree. It feels like you need to sit in your vehicle to avoid a heat stroke or to enjoy the scenery. Haiti needs more parks and larger ones in urban areas. Similar to Parque Mirador Del Sur and Parque Mirador Del Este. I did enjoy my first trip to the northern coast of Haiti.

    Monte Cristi, Nagua and San Cristobal were pleasingly less congested and comfortable to explore, than other places I frequent. Every region in most countries has dirty sections and cleaner areas. I could return to either of these places and stay a few days. They don't have the same distractions as the high profile tourist destinations. People were not set to autopilot to ask you for something. I may revisit Dajabon again, but preferable a few block further away from the border. It is more quite.

    Crossing the bridge was a flash back to vising Haiti years earlier and visiting barrios in the DR for the first time. It does provoke some passive aggressive thoughts to witness people drying clothes on the river banks and people bathing in nearly dry river bed of murky water. Doing the same in the campos seem more secluded and private. It is a reminder on the island, also in richer nations, the character of too many people in leadership are disingenuous to the core. It is a problem which money alone will not resolve. Maybe an NGO or the government can try this model on a large scale. Provide a basic education to international standards. One which can lead to enrolling into on-line courses or admission into an accredited university. In return you clean up the area and prevent trash dumping. You work in a community garden 8 hours a week and take home food for your household every few days, along with free sanitation assistance. Back to the narrative of the actual trip.

    The stretch from Rio San Juan to Las Galeras offers some fantastic variety of beaches. Ones with amenities and ones without. I like both types. Nagua, Coson, Playa Bonita and Las Galeras area contain kilometers of contentious sand. Plus there are trees to frequently provide shade. Once exception was the beach north of Limon. The tree line is significantly recess from the shore. I may have viewed it during low tide. For years, I read on DR1 regarding the beauty of the coastal drive. It was accurate and worthwhile advice to follow. The drive was fairly smooth. Near or just past Rio San Juan the quality of the road noticeable improves, when heading toward Nagua. This region wisely incorporates storm water management into the road side, combining concrete or mortar with rocks. Some of the hillside drainage was lined with concrete, to prevent erosion.

    California use of palm trees seems like an intimation after experiences a few minutes at most beaches along this coastal drive. California is more polished and symmetrical in placement of their trees. I prefer the variety of shapes and sizes the DR provides. I witness hard working Dominicans and Haitians, as they work to clear the foliage adjacent the road shoulder, in the hot sun. I wonder if the DR has a program as some USA communities. Having prisoners work along the road side to cleanup trash. It is disheartening to see trash covering a scenic view and knowing local Dominicans and Gringos living in the vicinity are the source of pollution. Especially when it is well secluded from a tourist area. People throw trash down all over the world where it does not belong. Despite those very few ugly incidents, the DR coastal drive between Rio San Juan and Las Galeras is phenomenal.

    Los Alcarrizos is a large region bordering Santo Domingo to the Northwest. To pass some time, I explored in the day time Barrio El Chucho, 24 De Abril and Paraiso. Looks the same as most congested urban areas bordering a larger city. Seems like one big barrio, instead to several ones together. Los Alcarrizos has a reputations of being dangerous, as one waitress reminded. So does sections of the top 25 cities in the USA. Some rough areas in the USA are withing a stray bullet distance of downtown or an interstate. Even the White House has been hit by stray bullets.

    Cleaning “some areas” of Central Santo Domingo proves some Dominicans are trabajador. Cleaning the streets with a broom and shovel while wearing a jumpsuit, in the hot sun. Some only with their gloved hands and a trash bag. Others in an ADN sanitation truck picking up trash piles on the curb. I watched one pile take 14 minutes to retrieve. Those curb side trees can only provide so much shade.

    Santo Domingo is moving forward in traffic control. It is more difficult to drive in on coming traffic lanes with mediums blocking crazy drives. Also, adding no blocking the intersection marking has help the flow of traffic. Morning and afternoon traffic is always bad south of 27 de Febrero. This trip the traffic was moving a little more constant. Trash on El Conde was for less than one year ago. Adding elevated trash cans was smart. Hopefully the rest of the power lines can become burred underground.
    Finally one of the beast features of the Colonial zones has been restored, the handing garden of the parking garage.

    I prefer some aspects of Calle La Calzada in Granda, Nicaragua little better than El Conde. El Conde and the Colonial zone has more options of actives such as museums, restaurants, stores and etc. La Calzada has more outdoor seating establishments. Overall, the Colonial zone remains a sufficient location to meet most necessities. Especially with the new Nacional supermarket on El Conde.

    I am hoping the DR and Haiti will not follow and maintain the path of concentrating 90% of resources and all foreign investment into tourism, expat areas or affluent local areas. Further more, people on DR1 were not lying about the number of abandon hotel/resorts in the DR. Some have a large track of land which is no use to anyone.
    Last edited by islandhopping; 09-07-2016 at 03:13 PM.

  2. #2
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    Thank you for taking the time to tell us your observations of then and now.
    I found it an interesting read.

  3. #3
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    contentious sand

    Please define "contentious sand." I'm not going to be able to sleep until I know.

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    Igual....

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meemselle View Post
    contentious sand

    Please define "contentious sand." I'm not going to be able to sleep until I know.
    Not to be contentious, but I'm guessing he meant long stretches of CONTINUOUS sand. (;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meemselle View Post
    contentious sand
    Please define "contentious sand."
    With all the new developments, and walling off easy access to beach areas...

    Such as: Beach Access In Cabarete

    I'm sure there will be a lot more 'contentious sand' in the future!

  8. #7
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    That was a typo. I could not correct it to continuous, after 10 minutes.

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