Trip to Dajabón and back.

SomebodySmart

Member
Oct 24, 2015
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On Sunday, 16 September 2018 I took Expreso Liniero from Santiago to Dajabón. It was an uncomfortable ride as the only seats were above the rear wheel and so I was stuck with my knees up for much of the time. The bus goes through Montecristi but I don’t know if that is your best route if you are driving, since you are not in the business of picking up and dropping off persons on the way. The ride was about 3 hours 20 minutes to a stop in Dajabón where it looked like everybody was getting out, so I got out. It turns out it was still short of the terminal. I was on the main drag, at the corner of the street that leads to Dominican customs, the Mercado Binacional and, yes, the bridge to Haiti. Because of my pending case I could not leave DR or I’d blow my residency application, since my permiso de reentrada has expired. I did approach the border and also visited Mercado Binacional . It is like a big flea market, and many of the dealers were closed because of Sunday. I never saw a lady riding a motorcycle through an indoor flea market before, though.

I also observed people selling booze on the street. I suspect they are allowed a small amount through customs and so they make a few pesos with that allowance. I was also assured that if I wanted a bus to Port-au-Prince I would have to arrive early in the day, and take one from the Haitian side. I am considering when I return to my country going through Haiti and flying out of PAP just for variety since I have never been to Haiti.

The return trip to Santiago was different. I arrived at the terminal and walked up to the bus and asked where you buy a ticket, and was told to board. The fare is collected on board, same as the westbound trip. The difference is (a) I boarded a big, comfortable Expreso Liniero motorcoach; (b) a uniformed Migración officer stood at the door to review the skin colours of persons boarding the bus; and (c) there were seven mandatory stops at law enforcement stations. At all seven, some persons were told to produce their papers. At none of these stations was I questioned. The first three stations were between Dajabón and Monecristi, the other four after Montecristi. After the fifth station, I said to the guy sitting next to me, cinco paradas mandatorias y nadie dice nada a nosotros. Of course, we don’t wear that tell-tale dark skin. I joked that it must be my Aguilas cap assuring the bureaucrats that I am obviously Dominican; that the Haitians should wear such caps, too.

The only excitement was at the third stop, where the guy pulled a gym bag out from under a seat, unzipped it, and found contraband. He did not say a word, simply gave the lady a dirty look and took the three bags of garlic to the station. Garlic is expensiver in DR because the less-expensive Haitian-grown garlic is illegal to import. This law protects Dominican producers, but robs the Dominican consumers by forcing them to pay the higher Dominican price instead of being able to buy Haitian-grown garlic, and also robs Haitian growers by preventing them from benefiting from the higher Dominican price.
 

bob saunders

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Jan 1, 2002
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dr1.com
On Sunday, 16 September 2018 I took Expreso Liniero from Santiago to Dajabón. It was an uncomfortable ride as the only seats were above the rear wheel and so I was stuck with my knees up for much of the time. The bus goes through Montecristi but I don’t know if that is your best route if you are driving, since you are not in the business of picking up and dropping off persons on the way. The ride was about 3 hours 20 minutes to a stop in Dajabón where it looked like everybody was getting out, so I got out. It turns out it was still short of the terminal. I was on the main drag, at the corner of the street that leads to Dominican customs, the Mercado Binacional and, yes, the bridge to Haiti. Because of my pending case I could not leave DR or I’d blow my residency application, since my permiso de reentrada has expired. I did approach the border and also visited Mercado Binacional . It is like a big flea market, and many of the dealers were closed because of Sunday. I never saw a lady riding a motorcycle through an indoor flea market before, though.

I also observed people selling booze on the street. I suspect they are allowed a small amount through customs and so they make a few pesos with that allowance. I was also assured that if I wanted a bus to Port-au-Prince I would have to arrive early in the day, and take one from the Haitian side. I am considering when I return to my country going through Haiti and flying out of PAP just for variety since I have never been to Haiti.

The return trip to Santiago was different. I arrived at the terminal and walked up to the bus and asked where you buy a ticket, and was told to board. The fare is collected on board, same as the westbound trip. The difference is (a) I boarded a big, comfortable Expreso Liniero motorcoach; (b) a uniformed Migración officer stood at the door to review the skin colours of persons boarding the bus; and (c) there were seven mandatory stops at law enforcement stations. At all seven, some persons were told to produce their papers. At none of these stations was I questioned. The first three stations were between Dajabón and Monecristi, the other four after Montecristi. After the fifth station, I said to the guy sitting next to me, cinco paradas mandatorias y nadie dice nada a nosotros. Of course, we don’t wear that tell-tale dark skin. I joked that it must be my Aguilas cap assuring the bureaucrats that I am obviously Dominican; that the Haitians should wear such caps, too.

The only excitement was at the third stop, where the guy pulled a gym bag out from under a seat, unzipped it, and found contraband. He did not say a word, simply gave the lady a dirty look and took the three bags of garlic to the station. Garlic is expensiver in DR because the less-expensive Haitian-grown garlic is illegal to import. This law protects Dominican producers, but robs the Dominican consumers by forcing them to pay the higher Dominican price instead of being able to buy Haitian-grown garlic, and also robs Haitian growers by preventing them from benefiting from the higher Dominican price.

It is the features more so than the skin colour that identifies Haitians to Dominicans.
 

mobrouser

Bronze
Jan 1, 2002
2,346
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......

The only excitement was at the third stop, where the guy pulled a gym bag out from under a seat, unzipped it, and found contraband. He did not say a word, simply gave the lady a dirty look and took the three bags of garlic to the station. Garlic is expensiver in DR because the less-expensive Haitian-grown garlic is illegal to import. This law protects Dominican producers, but robs the Dominican consumers by forcing them to pay the higher Dominican price instead of being able to buy Haitian-grown garlic, and also robs Haitian growers by preventing them from benefiting from the higher Dominican price.


Another garlic smuggler caught.
So how much does a Dominican grown garlic bulb cost in RD that makes it worthwhile for smugglers to bring it in from Haiti?
 

AlterEgo

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Staff member
Jan 9, 2009
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Another garlic smuggler caught.
So how much does a Dominican grown garlic bulb cost in RD that makes it worthwhile for smugglers to bring it in from Haiti?

I don’t know where it comes from, but at the produce stand where we buy fruits and veggies it’s 150 pesos a pound
 

SomebodySmart

Member
Oct 24, 2015
194
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18
I returned Tuesday because I realized I needed a scouting report done during the a business day. Mercado Binacional, alas, is open Monday and Friday, pre-sales on Sunday and Thursday. The place was closed. The town has a number of cheap hotels, including Hotel Brisol, for 800 pesos with fan, 1000 with AC.

Scotiabank has a branch in town. On the wall is a poster bragging about their foreign exchange offerings. They gladly deal U.S. dollars, Japanese yen, British pounds sterling, euros and Canadian dollars. I asked about money from Haiti, the country less than one kilometer from the branch. They don’t even buy or sell the notes. <sarcasm>This makes sense when you consider that there are so many Japanese people in Dajabón and so few Haitians.</sarcasm> I kept asking around and was told to go to la aduana, where there are always dealers. This is the informal market. I would have thought there would be businesses buying and selling and making a good profit at it. I would be more comfortable walking into a bank and trading notes at a teller window than dealing with total strangers on the street. I wonder if pesos are bought on the Haitian side. A banker told me that people exchange Haitian gourdes for U.S. dollars in Haiti and then cross the border with U.S. dollars, which they can exchange for pesos.

Now I know how I will get my Haitian money once my residencia gets issued. Then I will go to PAP and fly out that way, pack my bags back home and get ready for the big move.
 

mobrouser

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Jan 1, 2002
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And how much was your trip to/from Dajabon? I'm trying to decide if I should get in to the garlic smuggling business lol.

:classic: mob
 

hammerdown

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Apr 29, 2005
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Unfortunately most of the garlic in the DR is Chinese, where the Haitian is a far superior product but the bias against Haitian producers is why it is contraband.....There is very little DR (criolo) garlic here in the DR.....
 

AlterEgo

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Jan 9, 2009
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South Coast
Unfortunately most of the garlic in the DR is Chinese, where the Haitian is a far superior product but the bias against Haitian producers is why it is contraband.....There is very little DR (criolo) garlic here in the DR.....

I thought a lot of garlic was grown in the Constanza area?
 

Tom0910

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2015
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I'm sure many people here know Patrick the "Vegeman". He had garlic from Constanza last week,great stuff.