In Cuba, there were a mix of small electric and gas motorcycles. Here in Republica Dominicana, I don't see those electric ones, only the small gas motorcycles. Gas here costs I think far more than in the US, and people make far less money, so it makes sense to see so many small engines.
Leaving the city yesterday, as soon as I put the chain back on my bike and tried spinning the wheels, the chain fell off again. The mechanic had poorly jerry-rigged the replacement wheel, which also has at least one broken spoke.
I fixed it myself, far better than the mechanic had, so that now the bike rolls smoothly!
Rode to the next town, Boca Chica, without putting a foot down!
Walked around, had some lunch (hamburger, salchipapas, sodas). Met some locals.
Kept walking. Was going to ride further, since the town seemed small. However, noticed a second, separate part of town. Walked down to the sea. A beautiful beach!
Kept walking along the beach. Ate a johnnycake!
Kept walking along the beach. After a while, the beach and weather seemed so nice, decided to spend the remainder of the evening there.
At night, checked out some hotels. Most seemed closed. Some had Russian lettering, indicating tourists from there. Prices in general were in US$, and tons of gift shops, indicating a touristy place. I'd seen numerous international tourists at the beach during the day, reminding me of elsewhere. This was the first part of Republica Dominicana where I felt that taking out my wallet or phone wouldn't attract unwanted attention.
Found another hotel, the front desk attendant showed me some rooms, but they were expensive, geared towards the tourists. I kept walking, to the edge of town. Found a quiet place. Camped! First time in RD. Relatively quiet spot, birds & lizards.
Today I plan to ride further along the coast. We'll see how far I get. Probably at least to the next city.
Already, on my first day out of the capital, I felt better. More spacious, kinder people, more beautiful!
So far, the Dominican highways are safe and fun and beautiful to ride!
Wide shoulders, smooth pavement, scenic ocean views. Few other vehicles nearby, other than the occasional motorcycle on the shoulder.
A wifi hostpost! From the Dominican government. Oh wait, it doesn't work.
Probably three days to the east coast. Averaging around 30 km/day. Maybe longer or shorter, depending on attractions.
Went shopping at a "hipermercado" (hypermarket), a modern supermarket.
Bought some inexpensive vegetables and canned foods. They have a product here which I haven't seen in other countries, canned beans with coconut milk. Yum!
I've encountered numerous rude people in Republica Dominicana, including in the smaller towns and cities. Doesn't seem like a refined society.
Sunblock doesn't seem that widely available, and it seems expensive. Dominicans don't wear much sunblock, like Cubans, which may explain some of the common skin disorders here.
Thinking of riding on tonight. There's one more sizable town on the way to the coast. After that, a quieter route.
Woke up, went riding!
Had a fairly solid ride, in spite of heat & humidity, thirst, breaking bike.
Stopped repeatedly to pick up drinks.
Just as I made it into the next town, my destination for the day, got a flat!
Struggled to fix the flat for a while. Turned out to have a sizable plant spike making a few holes.
Patches didn't hold at first. Also, looks like a screw has fallen out from the rear derailleur (which normally switches gears, although on this bike a cable is broken, so its job is just to hold the chain in place).
After some jerryrigigng, I think it may hold in place, at least for a short while.
During my ride, encountered a group of road riders. As we rode, one of them asked about my route. I would have been surprised years ago if you had told me that one day I'd say in Spanish that I'm riding to Haiti!
Next let's see if I can find sunblock, wifi, etc.!
After some difficulties, arriving in Higuey. Having a large lunch including three sodas for four dollars US.
Over two hours to find working wifi, still not sure. Running down battery, sunblock.
Republica Dominicana strikes me as a version of a dystopian society. After the Spaniards found the American mainland, they largely deserted the island. This left Hispaniola for pirates, slaves, colonizers to populate. Their descendants now ride around on loud motorcycles, with black smoke filling the cities.
Tons of heat, humidity, headwinds, etc., making it hard to ride!