Today is May 19th,2018. I am currently traveling through the Dominican Republic in pursuit of my goal of world travel. I’ve started this blog in order to document my experience.
Since my last blog entry, not much has happened as far as adventure goes. The public transportation in Punta Cana didn’t turn out to be terribly complicated as $40 DPO (.75 cents) got me anywhere I wanted to go in the regions surprisingly efficient public transportation system. My first run was a little rocky as I attempted to go to the beach and ended up at an outlet mall. However, once I got familiar with the area, I was able to go about wherever and whenever I wanted. Although the hotel wasn’t terribly impressive, the neighborhood that it was in, Fruisa, had pretty much everything I needed. There were two gyms, an internet café, and several ATM’s within walking distance to my hotel. There were also several juice and empanada stand within a two-block radius. Had it been closer to the beach, it would have been an area where I could see myself staying long term. I did finally make it to Playa Cortecito, one of the main beaches in Punta Cana. While it did have white sand beaches and aqua blue water, 95% of the beach was either closed off to the resorts or had motorboats zipping through the water. There was really no place to lay a towel down without being hassled by a security guard or an excursion salesman. However, I did eventually manage to find a bar where I bought a non-alcoholic Pina Colada for $200 DPO ($4 USD) which secured my access to one of the restaurants beach chairs. I ended up staying at the beach for a few hours before calling it a day. In between relaxing at the beach, I continued to do extensive work on the travel website which is getting more detailed and refined by the day.
To say I survived the three days in the outskirts of Bavaro would be overexaggerating, nevertheless I was glad to finally be able to move out of the Hotel 2 Bavaro to the White Sands Bed and Breakfast closer to beach. I left the hotel yesterday at 11:30 AM. I hate traveling with my backpack because it automatically identifies me as a tourist and puts a target on my back for locals to hassle me or try to swindle me out of my money. I would face this problem not even 5 minutes after I left the hotel as I stopped to get lunch at the local empanada stand. I went to same place that I had been frequenting the last few days where the empanadas cost $20 DPO (.40 cents) a piece. I ordered two and gave the guy a $50 DPO bill. With my empanadas in hand. I sat there for about three minutes and waited for my change of $10 DPO (.20 cents). When it became obvious that he wasn’t going to give it to me I called him out on it. Even though there was a sign that clearly stated the prices, he (and his mother) tried to claim that there was a “tax” on the purchase. I might have believed him had I not come to the same stand at least five times in the last two days. I told him there was no tax and asked if $10 DPO (.20 cents) was worth getting the police involved. At that point he knew he was wrong and went to give me my change. I let him keep it because it was never about the money, it was about the principle and I had made my point.
I caught the local bus from the central plaza to my new hotel. However, halfway through the drive, the bus pulled over and we were told to get off. It turns out that the bus caught a flat tire, and I would have to wait for the next one. As a result, I stood for about half an hour on the side of the road with my big touristy backpack. After turning down every moto driver in the city, the next bus finally arrived. I got to the stop and knew I was in the right place when I had to help 2 girls communicate with a moto driver because they didn’t speak Spanish. I walked about 800 meters when I arrived at the hotel building. I walked into a lobby and told the lady that I had a reservation. She was adamant that I didn’t and when I showed her the receipt, she said that was for the OTHER hotel located in the same building. After trying the “other” hotel, I found out that the building actually had four hotels in it and I didn’t find my hotel until the last stop. Despite the difficult in finding it, the owners seemed to be fairly nice people. The husband was an American white guy that spoke perfect English while the wife was Hispanic (not sure if she was Dominican). They actually gave me an “upgraded” room with a bigger bed. After settling into my temporary home, I spent the next few hours working on my website. The hotel was fairly close to the beach and while there was a nice comedor with cheap food, the beach itself was designed for day tourist groups and there weren’t many chairs for lounging or relaxing.
So here we are. Today is my last day in Punta Cana before heading back to Santo Domingo in preparation to my flight back to the United States. I will write again once I’m back in Santo Domingo and provide my final thoughts on the trip.