Santo Domingo and Public Transport
I had my first visit to the capital of the Dominican republic last week, Santo Domingo. It is a 4 hour drive from where our boat is here in Luperon so when I was invited to go with friends Kach and Jon from S/V Empress, I decided that because of the distance this would probably be my one and only trip to the capital city.
I grew up in a capital city, and even lived near Boston MA, but nothing compared to the size and population of this city. The sheer volume of cars and people was remarkable, and the lack of traffic laws made the commute an adventure; between people, animals, motorcycles and guaguas (dominican bus) there was always an obstacle to be conscious of. Thankfully I didn't have to do the driving and I could just sit back and watch the madness ensue! Cudos to our driver Johnathan who made driving in the crazy city seem effortless!
The whole point of the trip was for Jonathan to get his US visa in order to sail to Puerto Rico later this year, so while we waited for Johnathan, Kach and I decided to walk to find some food. We remembered passing a McDonalds on the way into town so we set out on a walking adventure to find it. A mile + later and we had found a McDonalds! What an American treat; hamburgers, milkshakes, french fries and air conditioning! Honestly it was one of the cleanest McDonalds I had ever seen and the furnishings made it seem more like an upscale restaurant than a fast food place.
After we enjoyed an early lunch we decided that a ride back to Johnathan and the car would be better because we were full, tired and it was getting very hot outside. So……. I took my first (and probably only) ride on Dominican public transportation, a guagua! Check out this crazy thing! You can literally flag them down from anywhere on the street, they pull over, you hop in and off they go, door open and everything. It is like $1 for a ride and they will drop you off wherever you would like. So what felt like the shortest ride on earth (because it was really only a mile) had us back to the car and meeting up with Jonathan. Now it was time to get the fun part of the day started and go and see some sight of Santo Domingo.