After visiting my parents for a while, I definitely needed some warm weather before I headed back to colder climates. Even southern Florida was on the cool side, so I decided to head south into the Carribbean. I chose to visit the Dominican Republic, just north of Venezuela. Here I am leaving Atlanta...a Delta Hub!
Looking down here at the Space Coast of Florida...I used to go to college down there, in Melbourne, at the Florida Institute of Technology. It was pretty cool to look down and see the coast, from the north all the way down past Miami we flew. Then we headed south-east towards the Bahamas.
Now looking down at islands of the Bahamas...
More Bahamas...
Now the Turks and Caicos Islands...
A cruise ship heading north towards Miami....or the Bahamas maybe...
After leaving Atlanta 3 hours earlier, we fly in over the Dominican Republic, heading for the northern city of Puerta Plata.
From the beach looking up into the hills....
And now at my hotel's beach. I stayed at the Celuisma at the Playa Dorada resort center, just east of Puerta Plata. Here is a shot looking east...
Looking west towards the city....
I spent many days jogging on the beach...and when it rained, (which was often) I would swim and snorkel in the surf.
You could actually go several miles before you hit the city. You did have to ford several rivers tho...some small...some not so small.
The Orange Market. A tourist trap on the beach just a half mile down the beach from my hotel.
Lots of tourists...lots of vendors. Sadly, there are only about 4 kinds of shops...just endless repetitive setups. I was pretty dissapointed in the selection of items on the island to buy.
Here is a shot of my building that I stayed in.
Here is the resorts main plaza, during one of the many rainy days...
I took a number of tours into the countryside. Here is a typical village in the back woods.
Children all wear uniforms of kahki bottoms and blue shirts.
For those without raincoats, the tour guides handed out some garbage bags. Tear a few holes, and instant rain coast!
Lots of the better homes were heavily barred. Their is not alot of violent crime in the Dominican Republic, but alot of burglaries tho.
Rolling hills, and lots of cattle and goats. Lots of banana plantations, sugar cane and melons were grown all over.
This cactus here is extremly acidic. Any sap on the skin will leave a permanent scar. Any sap in your eyes will permenatly blind you. For this reason, this kind of cactus is used extensively as a way to keep people out. A zone 200 feet thick is used to keep people from Haiti from getting into the Dominican Republic...or so the tour guide said.
Looking down onto the hills. The fences are made of a certain kind of wood, that 90% of the time takes root. So, the fence post doesn't rot out...because it's alive! When it's large enough, branches are cut off, and used for new posts...which grow, and the cycle repeats.
Our tourguide gets some spices from this tree, next to a sugar cane field.
We got a chance to visit a local school and see the kids in their class rooms. This school had two rooms. Kids only go to school for about 4 hours each day, so that there is enough room for all the kids to attend.
We got to watch the school kids do some lessons, and they sang some songs for us.
We also visited this small far, where they grow chickens, coffee and cacao (which is used to make chocolate).
Cooking is done in a sperate room, downwind. Notice all the black soot,...and that is the reason. The stoves are these clay/brick structures. Pots and such are put over the stoves.
Inside the house...this is actually a house of faily well off dominicians.
The lady cooking here filled this net with coffee grounds she just ground, from the trees behind her. She poured hot water into the top and then handed me the cup.
I sample some freshly roasted, freshly ground, freshly brewed coffee...grown 100 feet away. It was strong...but pretty good!
We enjoy Rum and Coffee before heading on with the tour.
School kids done with their 4 hours a day, heading home to probably work.
A typical house. The wall boards are actually made from planks shaved off of palm trees...Royal Palms specifically. Notice the kitty cat by the front door.
Hiking from the buses to the secluded beach. We drove a half hour thru sugar cane fields to get here. We had a huge beach all to ourselves. For some reason, most Dominicans are not thrilled to go spend a day on the beach. I guess it's not a special unqiue thing for them...
Looking north towards Puerta Plata
Some people walked along the beach, some surfed with the free boards the tour company offered...some did both! (like me!)
One of the other tourists took my photo here before surfing....