Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Day in Santiago

We are on a quest for a couple of things. One is a Honda 2000 generator so that we can charge our batteries (so we can make ice) without running the ship's engine twice a day. This is a pretty big country and you'd think you could find stuff and we probably will. . . it's just not so easy.

To get to Santiago from here you first take a gwa gwa (pronounced Gwa Gwa) which is a smallish van to Imbert. This costs 40 pesos or just over a dollar. When we left the gwa gwa stand in Luperon there were about 6 of us on board. By the time we arrived in Imbert we had 18 souls on board! I counted.

We looked like clowns getting out of one of those little cars at the circus! The bus to Santiago was waiting so we just jumped on board. This hunk is a very nice air-conditioned (un heard of in this country) bus for 80 pesos. All together the trip is probably around 50 miles for 120 pesos or just under $4.00.

Above photo is looking forward, other photo is looking aft. That's Kathy and Kerry sitting behind us.

Santiago is a very bustling city with busy streets, cabs and lots of honking. We walked all around the 'old town' which is the downtown area. I got a prescription filled for 3 months for what it costs for about 1 month in the states. Oh, and you actually don't need the little doctor note, just the empty bottle! Sue checked on getting glasses. They have same day service but you'd have to be there earlier and stay later than we were. Looks like new glasses will be about $90 including the exam. Can you tell that we are like the Howells here (Gilligan's Island reference)? We walked back out on the road into town to find the Ochoa (8A is there logo...get it? 8 - A = ocho - A) This is there Home Depot/Target. Lots of stuff but no Honda generator. We found the big grocery store and while Sue and Kathy did food stuff Kerry and I did manly hardware store stuff. No generator but I did get the rest of the rig I need to keep the frig charged up. The sales guy spoke no English but went and got a guy who spoke a little. Together we figured out what I was asking and needing. At the end I apologized for my rotten Spanish and he apologized for his weak English. I told him THAT'S not a problem. . . it's your country! Too bad I couldn't have said this in Spanish...would have had more punch.
Above photo is of the monument sitting on a hill overlooking the city. We're not sure who scored but it was obviously GOOD!

We hauled our groceries the few blocks back to where we saw the buses to take us back to Imbert. After much hollering and waving of arms we stood in the right place for our bus. The ride back was uneventful and the gwa gwa only had 5-6 people all the way back to Luperon. In Luperon we stopped at the little restaurant on the corner that has the tree growing right inside and had a couple of beers. We were all pretty thirsty and beat from walking around all day.

This is a photo of an eager mango collector. As we sat sipping our cerveza on the second floor of the restuarant, suddenly we hear bang! bang! bang-bang-bang!!! This guy is shaking the mango tree and they are falling on the tin roof below then rolling to the ground. Several other fruit lovers are gathering them up. The shaker guy doesn't wait to taste the fruits of his shaking.

We're working on a photo essay on the wonderful variety of cruising boats in this harbor so look for that coming up soon. Also we plan on renting a motorcycle for the day and exploring the countryside on our own. It is very mountainous and beautiful here and so many times while in the gwa gwa I've wished we could stop for some photos or to have a beer or a snack at the VERY little towns along the way. We'll see. I don't actually know how to ride a motorcycle but then. . . I don't actually know how to sail either!

Finally. . . here's a couple of links I've been meaning to post:

All about Luperon is a site by Bruce Van Sant author of Gentleman's Guide to Passages South. He lives here now and his boat is for sale. Check it out!

Also for all you wannabe or active runners my daughter, Leah and her husband, Jason, maintain a wonderful blog on running. If you have ANY questions about training, equipment, or shoes (especially shoes!) check out their blog. They are actively in training mode for the Chicago Marathon right now.

Thanks in advance for all comments! Our e-mail us directly. Addresses are over there on the right. . . or left. You'll find it!

Captain Snappy internetting at the Luperon Yacht Club. Nice view!


LeahC said...

great story of gettin to Santiago...the picture of you on the internet looks like there is just a backdrop sheet behind you. :-) beautiful!

Jay and Jen said...

Thanks for checking out the DR for us! Sounds like you guys are settling in very nicely. Wish we were there with you guys enjoying the adventures! Speaking of which, we are thinking of jumping to the USVI in November to have our rum reunion. What do ya think?
Da' Rum Runners