Puerto Plata, Republica Dominicana!

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 10/15/2019 - 21:59

Computer repair store, which I went back to today now that the repairman was in, didn't have the right size screen.

Other computer store, where the previous store said may buy my old laptop, said they now mostly operate as a legal advice service, or some such.

Now working on an older, slower computer, can see how technology advances!

Now planning to head north to Imbert. Looks like another hike over another mountain. Hopefully a shallower slope!

Even though things don't often go as expected, that implies unexpected opportunities as well as unexpected challenges.

Rode in to Puerto Plata!

Puerto Plata, República Dominicana!

Seems like a far more beautiful place, popular, compared to some of the inland stuff.

Sometimes things go slowly. As of now, I have a slow computer, slow wifi, no cash.

Still, at least I'm not going hungry. It seems like it'd be hard to go hungry here in Republica Dominicana. With the fruits and vegetables growing so much, and the kindness of many people, I've often had too much food when I don't have cash!

It's important to take care of business, even if it's difficult!

It's tough to deal with many of the challenges of the road. I would say far harder to deal with that in addition to the regular challenges than the regular challenges alone. Still, it can lead to personal growth. I feel like I have become nearer to my ideal person, although of course far from that. I often get to do things that I once wanted to do. I most often like them even more when I'm doing them than I had anticipated. I recommend taking a chance on your goals!

It hurts to face the losses. Still, there are losses anyways, one may as well face them en route to one's victories.

Over the last several years of traveling, I have had the chance to see dozens or hundreds of cities and towns, in some of my favorite countries. I have also discovered fascinating places, in countries that I did not previously think seriously of visiting. Along the way, I have tried dozens of new activities, hundreds of foods, met so many people, seen so many sights!

There have been tons of hardships. I can hardly keep track of how many times I've asked myself why I'm doing this. Yet, in the long run, I think it pays off. I plan to keep at it!

Travel amplifies the wave of life!



Submitted by eagle on Fri, 10/11/2019 - 13:14

While riding down a steep slope, with rocky terrain, hit an especially rocky section. Deciding whether to walk it or ride it, decided to ride it. Even before heading into it, I thought it was a poor idea. Went flying head-first over the handlebar. Landed on my two most valuable possessions, my face and my laptop.

Eagle Gamma after taking a tumble

What a situation.

Not exactly what I want, but I have to deal with it.

I guess you have to adapt, deal with situation.

So, with broken laptop, broken glasses, broken heart, I continue. At least happy to have a way on!

It takes some adjustment, but honestly most of these things that we get used to, we can do without. After a short while, we adapt, forget about the old stuff, and take the new stuff as the new old stuff.

Back in mango-growing area. So far haven't found many of my favorite types of mango in Republica Dominicana. Nor anywhere near as many as in Cuba, Puerto Rico. Still, at least some.

I've also become more of a guava enthusiast in the Caribbean.

Right at the small settlement at the peak, some kind people assisted me in fixing the bike. The ride down the other side went way smoother, the trail was at an easier slope, and had fewer rocks.

Now in Navarrete, another town. This one more boring than some of the previous ones. Still, it does have some socialist graffiti,  which I haven't seen much of around RD.

A split-section decision can wipe out weeks, months, or even years of work. I liken this to Warren Buffet's comments on it taking fifteen years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it.

It's tough to sustain losses, but it's part of the adventure.

It knocks you off track. I think it's important to remain on track. To make the effort to restore, although not exactly, your goals, if you still retain them. Which I largely do.

It can also provide an opportunity to regrow in different directions. I liken this to Germany and Japan's rapid economic development in the latter half of the twentieth century.

The psychological toll can in some ways be harder to bear than the financial and logistical tolls. Like dealing with loss of confidence etc. after suffering from a crime.

It's a complex and messy thing, recovering from a mistake. Bill Gates noted that failure can be a better teacher than success.

For me, I'm trying to become less dependent on expectations. To realize that plans are meant to go wrong (as rules are made to be broken).

Also, I'm trying to become more tolerant of failures, of my own and other people's. We all strive in a difficult environment. It's normal for things to go wrong often.

The wounds heal, the parts get replaced. After a while, the mistakes get replaced, and turn into decent stories. We grow through problems. I still think it's important to take risks, make mistakes, etc. Of course, sometimes they bear costs, negative consequences.

Overall, to get anywhere, you need to take the occasional step back.

Take your lumps. School of hard knocks.

I think that this tumble also brought me back to earth, figuratively. I'm more cognizant now of some of my idealistic notions (positive or negative), as such, rather than confusing them with reality to the same extent that I did before.

Things break. It's a question of when, not if. It makes sense to plan around some destruction here and there.

Same goes for people, or anything. That's part of the process of replacement, improvement.

I may go west next. I was thinking of heading north to the coast. However, given my loss of equipment, it may instead make more sense to spend a longer while in this area before heading to the coast. Also, this way I think there's a shallower gradient over the hills to the coast. Maybe I'll still go north though.

Things operate on a different schedule here. After a number of recent occasions of going to a store, be it a supermarket or computer repair store, and seeing it closed in the middle of the day, I asked someone and realized/remembered that it's common for stores to close down during lunch and reopen later in the day.

Modern technology makes such losses much more bearable. So much stuff is automatically synced to the cloud, that you hardly lose a day's work in switching from one machine to another.

Things seem to be working somewhat faster, now that I'm readjusting. Probably keep going this weekend, even though it's looking like difficult weather.

Rock & Roll!

Riding Down to Jarabacoa, Republica Dominicana!

Submitted by eagle on Sun, 10/06/2019 - 13:32

The climate in this town is different than down at lower altitudes. It gets cold here!

I want fast wifi and a quiet environment. Instead, I get slow wifi and a loud environment!

So much noise in so many places. Often best just to ignore it as one can, and focus on the important stuff.

Constanza is high enough that it feels like a northern town. Northern crops, cool nights, etc. Feels far different than the rest of Republica Dominicana. It's also high enough (and hard enough to get to) that it gets quiet at night, even in town.

Constanza, Republica Dominicana!

After touring the scenic town, started riding downhill. After getting through the first few mountain towns, it started to rain, heavily. Instead of a quick storm, it stayed around throughout the evening.

The weather forecasts have been atrocious. Instead of no precipitation or a low chance of a few drops, it's consistently rained all day.

Next I plan to finish the ride down to a larger settlement. Still quite a ways, hundreds of meters (thousands of feet) of elevation.

Much as I like warm weather, it's nice to have at least an occasional pause for the cool.

Still, looking forward to getting back to the coast!

Rode down the huge hill!

Riding down a mountain in Republica Dominicana!

Made it to the next sizable town, Jarabacoa!

The map said 6 hours, I was told 2 hours, it took 4 hours.

Along the way, found some fruits and vegetables, in this abundant area.

On a steep slope up the mountain, met a man riding on horseback. We exchanged greetings, he joking that we were both on foot (I walked my bike up that part). As I rode away down the hill after we topped it, I noticed that he was typing on or looking at his phone while riding his horse on the mountain!

In spite of distractions, challenges, failures along the way, if one persists at a goal, one can often achieve it!

So far, Jarabacoa seems like one of the more upscale towns I've seen. Public art, fancy cafes, etc.

Dominicans are very sociable people, like Cubans (although perhaps somewhat less so than Cubans). Things generally happen in groups. People get together and talk, just cuz.

I heard there's political turmoil in Haiti now. Not sure yet how serious, etc.

Some nice music here, slow beautiful songs.

Also, some loud noises, music, motorcycles, etc.

Next I plan to ride back to an area I've been through before, as it's on my way down to the coast.

So many beautiful places, can't see them all. I guess we can at least appreciate what we do get to see!


Up to Constanza!

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 10/03/2019 - 19:53

Set out for Constanza. It's a town up in the hills. No serious reason to go there. Just seemed like a decent next destination, looking at the map. Somewhat farther and hillier than I'd wanted, but not much choice in this area. I'm in the central mountain ranges of Hispaniola.

After walking a while, was getting sore, somewhat bored and sick of climbing. Did find some passionfruits and guavas along the way, which brightened my mood considerably!

Kept walking. Was planning out how I'd spend my last remaining coins for snacks at any upcoming settlement, when a fruit truck pulled up, offering me a ride. I accepted, saying that they could drop me off at the top of the hill. From there, I'd be fine riding down, then up the next hill.

Eagle Gamma riding to Constanza, Republica Dominicana

Along the way, we paused at an overlook. A number of other vehicles had congregated. Apparently there was an accident further down, a bus had gone of the road, leading to serious injuries.

Passersby overlooking the scene of an accident in Republica Dominicana

As we kept going, I was enjoying the ride.

I think the first time I've hitchhiked in Republica Dominicana. Most people here ride motorcycles, so not as many options.

One of my bags fell off my bike. A bag containing my food, at this point just some avocados and oranges and stuff. Not much of a loss.

I decided that I'd be fine riding all the way to Constanza. When we stopped and they indicated we'd reached the top of the hill, I asked where they were going. All the way to Constanza. So we kept on going.

It soon started to rain. Heavily. Kept pouring down hard, flooding the streets, even pooling into houses.

Just as we got into Constanza, the rain stopped. I'm super thankful!!!

This area seems heavily agricultural. Billboards advertise agro products. Tons of farmland. Looking forward to seeing more of the area!

Constanza, an agricultural town in Republica Dominicana.

Turnabouts in Republica Dominicana

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 10/03/2019 - 13:30

Wifi in RD, even when it's there, seems quite slow.

Now at an expensive restaurant, for the wifi. Going to eat a croissant ham & cheese.

My taste on jagua (which I previously miswrote as jarua) has undergone a surprisingly fast turnaround. My first bite, I spat it out, it was so disgusting. The first fruit, I thought was gross, except for novelty value, which was high. My second jagua, delicious! Rich, complex flavor, spicy, texture like an oyster or mushroom, filling, satisfying. Important to give things a second chance, I guess!

Gross-slash-delicious jagua in Republica Dominicana!

Challenges & Rewards in Republica Dominicana

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 10/01/2019 - 14:17

A frustrating period. Rain, mosquitoes, dogs, "motorpsychos", more indigestion, hard to find wifi, etc.

Some locals offered me breakfast this morning. Malt beverage mixed with canned milk, some pastries, bread. Interesting.

Now in Cotui, this city is loud. Again, confirming my growing preference for towns and country over cities.

Often when I stop in a town in Republica Dominicana, people ask me "Que viende?" (What are you selling?). I must resemble traveling salesmen in this country, with my bike loaded full of cargo.

Bought some fruit from a roadside vendor. "Jagua" has a strong, pungent odor and flavor. Something like a mix of automotive or industrial fluids, and garbage or rotten fruit. Yet, juicy and somehow somewhat tasty.

Is that the same as duran/"garbage fruit"?

Now getting ready to ride further, towards some more towns for some more work.

It can be difficult to take care of business while touring. Still, you often get pleasant surprises along the way. It's a tradeoff, like anything.

Often you have to go through some serious discomforts to get to any serious rewards!

Eagle Gamma getting ready to ride in Republica Dominicana!

I haven't participated in, and am unlikely to, arguably two of Republica Dominicana's most prominent activities: bancas, and clubos gallisticos. Both of these involve gambling, a prominent Dominican activity. Also, the cockfighting involves violence, not my thing. The bancas are so common that I've even seen small towns that have these lottery stores but not any grocery stores.

Now riding through gold mining hills!

Riding Further in RD!

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 09/30/2019 - 14:33

Rode out of town.

Camped among some cacao!

Tasted amazing!

Eating fresh cacao is like eating cream, liquor, nuts!

Big thunderstorm last night. Soaking wet.

Another flat. Small one. Patched it, reusing a patch that had got wet the previous occasion. I let the patch, the bike, and my other stuff dry out in the morning sun first, before patching. Found a nearby puddle in which to test the tube for the hole!

Next probably ride into the town, Castillo, which boasts the best cacao on the planet!

Grab a bite to eat, then maybe ride around the countryside for a while.

The cacao tree is a somewhat ugly tree, unbefitting of its fruit. It has knobby bark, large leaves that don't smell much like chocolate, and wood that looks like it doesn't burn the nicely (although I may be wrong).

Now more thunderstorms, at least they're somewhat off in the distance for now. Unsure whether they're coming this way. Vulture overhead.

Yesterday, rode on.

Still more indigestion.

Stopped at several roadside groves to go to the bathroom. At one, right after going to the bathroom, I turned around, and there was a guy in Dominican military uniform, holding a handgun.

Kept riding. Found some oranges, cacao, etc.

Hungry, stopped in at a cafeteria. "Que hay a comer?" (What's to eat?) "No hay a comer. Hay chicas para sexo" (putting her finger through a finger and thumb on the other hand.

Kept riding. Those thunderstorms did come through. Ducked out of the rain at an old building. Camped out back.

Found another cataño. A fruit I've seen around. Everyone here seems to have their own word for it. Not sure if it's breadfruit? Planning to try cooking it.

Feeling sore and tired today. I think it's largely the cloudy weather. Hope I feel more alert later!

Yesterday, rode through small towns. Cooked cataño and onion on a fire. Super delicious!

Rode on a gorgeous trail, full of cacao and banana trees!

Riding on the Cacao Trails!

Tons of mud, mosquitoes.

Camped out in an old abandoned building.

While I wrote that cacao trees can be ugly, the leaves and pods are beautiful, and the trees do form beautiful canopies.

I feel much better in general nowadays when out in the quiet countryside. I'm tempted to take a while along my journeys and have another sedentary break, but in some small town.


More Routes in RD!

Submitted by eagle on Fri, 09/27/2019 - 15:35

For my upcoming route, I'm thinking, castillo, eugenio, cotui.

Maybe a rest day, e.g. Saturday.

Maybe a work weekend.

Looks like not much to the east of cotui.

Maybe ride around the countryside to the east of here for the weekend.

Then have a week with some more cities. Cotui, Bonao, etc.

It's interesting to see one part of a country, then travel further, then wind up back nearby the previous place, but seeing the region from a different perspective. You can see how the first place fits into the larger area of the country, and you can see it with fresh eyes.

If I go to Cotui this weekend, maybe make it a work weekend.

That seems reasonable, I see a few cities along the way for an upcoming work week.

Afterwards, maybe head over to the Jarabacoa area. Some Dominican places (like that) have names comparable to Puerto Rican places.

From there, head back towards Janico, then I can either make my way westward for any additional distance I want (I don't think I will, but maybe), or head back down to the coast.

Anything of interest on that western route?

At the least it looks like it reconnects with some larger roads!

Route Planning in Republica Dominicana