Challenges in Santo Domingo

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 08/08/2019 - 10:28

I think that once I know the neighborhoods of a place, is when I feel bored.

More Airbnb frustrations. At least there's nice music and scenery, sitting outside a colmado (bar/convenience store/etc.) where there happens to be wifi. Getting a taste for local culture, people heading out for a night of drinking Presidentes, watching baseball, etc., as stray dogs roam the streets. A cool wind prevails, after a brutally hot day.

Yesterday (Wednesday) wasn't my day. Seems like I'm having a number of challenges from day one in Santo Domingo. Also some achievements.

I went to supermarket for the first time since I've been in Republica Dominicana. A small store in a relatively upscale neighborhood, it even had American-style automatic sliding doors.

The vegetables were about half the price of in the US, but also somewhat flavorless as in US supermarkets. The pastry selection was limited. I did find in the bakery some pan sobao and pan de agua, bread common in Puerto Rico.

Later, after the next Airbnb host had still not responded, I had to find another one. The second place had a wrong address.

Hispaniola Planning

Submitted by eagle on Wed, 08/07/2019 - 13:32

Looks like some Airbnbs in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, but not in smaller towns.

Around 400 km from Santo Domingo to the Haitian border.

Something like 50 km from the border to Port-au-Prince. Maybe just ride it all in one day, instead of pausing a night partway, as I had thought of doing.

The iffy weather forecast predicts light rain next week. I think I'll probably head east around then!

Caribbean Dreaming

Submitted by eagle on Wed, 08/07/2019 - 10:49

The Lesser Antilles (?) look smaller and more tightly packed. I think there are more ferries among them. I may walk instead of bike there.

I've noticed while looking at Airbnb maps of some of these poorer Caribbean countries that, despite the presence of rooms for under $10 a night, there are also places available for thousands of dollars per night!

It feels comfortable to stay in so many Airbnb's after a while camping. (Comfortable inside, a pain to reserve and get to the places with their poor descriptions.) Still, it's running down my funds, since I've had some struggles getting as much paying work as I now want. Also, I like the sun, the wind, etc., when camping.

I like to have quiet denouement periods at the end of the day. After working, to relax. Towards sleep.

I've been on an early schedule for a while. Waking up early, getting some work done, often seeing a sunrise, getting out in the daylight, often seeing a sunset, getting to bed early.

I worried that staying indoors more often, my body would lose its connection with the daylight, and I'd wind up sleeping in. Luckily, I'm still on an early schedule.

In some areas, like Europe, a country encompasses a medium size region with one or more traditional populations, having unique languages, traditions, etc. In other areas, like the USA, a country encompasses a large size region with a mix of different populations. In yet other areas, like the Caribbean, a country encompasses a small size region with a mix of different populations.

In these small countries, each country still needs the basic requirements for a country. So it's funny to see on some small island the size of a neighborhood the national center for art, the different branches of government, the military, etc.!


More Caribbean research

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 08/06/2019 - 16:54

For worriers. There are enough threatening-seeming things to scare people in any environment. Instead of worrying excessively, worry enough to take appropriate actions, and deal with more important things.

Looks like hurricane season goes through at least October, so I'll probably stay in RD at least until November, maybe even until December.

Maybe I'll go SCUBA diving in RD. It's an activity that I want to try at some point. Looks expensive to learn.

Petionville, Haiti for food? Looks like it has a restaurant scene.

An outdated travel book at this Airbnb says that Haiti is safer than Jamaica.

My leg's feeling somewhat better this morning, after the dog bites yesterday.

The discovery of America was by accident. So were most major scientific discoveries. Let's make more mistakes!

Hispaniola has changed hands so many times, it's hard to count! Pirates were here, Spaniards, French, English, Africans, Tainos, Arawaks, etc.!

I feel like adventure travel enforces a more realistic perspective. Or maybe it's the old age.

Hispaniola once formed a major part of the planetary economy. Today it mostly forms a vacation spot and some residences.

Looks like northeastern RD (the Samana peninsula) gets tons of rain, and has mangroves. Looks like southeastern RD is arid, even desert!

The Caribbean has a mix of different cultures and geographies spread about its dozens of small and large islands.

In addition to its large number of populations, RD has had large numbers of governments: several dozen in around as many years!

This travel book says that much of RD outside of the capital is rural!

Maybe I'll go see a cock fight?

Maybe not, seems gruesome.

Looks like there are no other ferries from RD than PR. So, I can fly out, or ferry on via RD, or get on another sailboat.

Reading up on voodoo (still from the same book), looks like it often involves animal sacrifice.


Monday: Rough Continuation

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 08/06/2019 - 01:01


Groan, laugh, etc.!

Went for a walk. Outside a huge truck repair place, had a sandwich and donut at a small puesto (food booth).

Kept walking. Still hungry, stopped in at a restaurant. Had some sancocho (a rich and complex stew), white rice, green salad, and a cola. Someone there paid for it.

Walked to the port, down the street.

On the way back, I was going to take a different route. However, the side streets looked sketchy, and after the recent crime spate, I decided just to go back on the same street. Not even more than around halfway down the first block, some dogs barked at me. I shooed them back, and walked on the street between the curb and the parked cars. I felt something sharp hit the back of my leg, thinking it was either my bike gears or some luggage on the bike. Kicking back somewhat, I then kept on walking, but felt it again. I kicked back again, and kept walking. Now I could see that it was one of the dogs that had bit me!

Getting back onto the sidewalk, with the dog retreating, I looked at my leg. Some sizable bite marks, but thankfully not any deep wounds. I washed off my leg, and kept walking, sore. My leg still hurts, especially when I walk.

Later, on a walking tour, (it was sunny and it's supposed to rain and t-storm the upcoming days), I went by some government buildings, more industrial areas, shopping centers, residential areas. Overall, most areas of Santo Domingo don't appeal to me that much. The people seem distrustful (understandably), most things are behind fences, etc.

The Airbnb host had said that my planned arrival wasn't available, so I decided to go early. When I got there, I put my stuff in the room, which oddly didn't have a working lock. On the way out, I asked if the wifi needed a password. The host said that there wasn't wifi. I said that the listing indicated that there was. The host said he was sure that it didn't (I later checked, and confirmed that it did so). As I was going to head out anyways, the host said that he was going to cancel the reservation.

In need of another place for the night, and already getting on, I went looking for wifi. Found a pastry shop. Overpriced and bland pastry, rude staff, only half an hour of wifi. Quickly booked another place.

As it got darker out, I found another wifi spot. Went looking for the Airbnb address. Got a message from the host saying that she was out of town, and unavailable!

Quickly booked a third place for the night, as the sun set.

Got a message from the third host saying, "Sorry--" Uh oh! But in this case, at least there was a backup plan, and the host had a relative who let me in. Now indoors!

As I've mentioned before, I feel that things often work out fine despite some issues along the way.

This place even has AC, the first at a Dominican Airbnb that I've seen!


Submitted by eagle on Tue, 08/06/2019 - 01:01

After restarting the laptop and wiggling some more, the hard drive works!

Also, found out that the cable is in fact a variant of a common cable type, not proprietary!


Monday: Rough Start

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 08/05/2019 - 13:48

New week!

Trying to get some work done on the spotty wifi.

Later in the day, walk to the west of Santo Domingo. Then turn around and head towards the next Airbnb. I like to stay at a few different places around town, to have a chance to see different neighborhoods.

I guess you have to deal with things not working, there's generally something else that you can do productively.

External hard drive not working again. Seems like a broken cable. Unfortunately, this hard drive requires a proprietary cable. Doubtful that I can find another such cable in Republica Dominicana. Maybe order one online, but hard and probably expensive to ship it when I'm not sure where I can receive it.

Wifi working again after router restart. Hard drive still not working.

More RD Research

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 08/05/2019 - 13:47

Often, at the beginning of a process, whether large or small, there is abundant room for choices, for making design decisions. After getting underway, the previously made decisions, plus the results in the environment, often lead to more fixed choices. In short, after getting going on a project or whatever, which is often open to creativity, it often produces a more constrained set of choices. Both can be fun, I find the opening moves more interesting, but the straight-ahead can be more productive.

Republica Dominicana is halfway between Puerto Rico and Cuba, geographically and culturally.

The wifi sometimes works ok, sometimes not. The people are sometimes friendly, sometimes not.

Economically, too. The prices are somewhere in the middle.

A few more sample prices (US$):

Hot meal (rice, dish, side): $2.50
Foreign food (e.g. Chinese): $5-10

Now in the hot and wet part of the year, here in the Caribbean.

More illegal Haitians in Santo Domingo than in the rest of Dominican Republic.

Hay mucho mas dinero en el capital que en las provincias.

Santo Domingo seems like a fairly exciting city for the Caribbean.

So far, I like the food (rice & beans!), architecture, and some of the people I've met -- as in the rest of the Caribbean.

Foods and drinks I want to try in RD include: mangú (mashed green plantains, sounds like Puerto Rican mofongo), sancocho (a stew, which I've had from a can but want to try fresh), mamajuana (an apparently aphrodisiac drink), and more sweets.

Seems like I'll want to buy more vegetables, since they're hardly used here. I've seen an occasional side salad, or a few small pieces of vegetable in dishes.

RD has the largest economy in the region, largely due to having the largest population.

Services (esp. tourism) have recently overtaken agriculture in leading the economy.

The Dominican economy has been growing and continues to do so.