Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sunday 7th January

Dominican Republic

19 54.4 N
70 56.5 W

Our day started out with trying to find the cruisers net which we had been told operates on Sunday and Wednesday mornings at 08.00hrs on channel 68/ 72. we tried for ages but had no luck finding it, eventually giving up. We then loaded our dink up with charts and cruising guides that we no longer needed and headed into the marina as one of the yachties from last night had told us that there was a flea market at 10.00hrs in the marina bar. We arrived to a small throng of people standing around chatting and passing the time of day looking at items for sale. We dumped our stuff on one of the tables and then had a look around the place ourselves. There didn’t seem to be too much there for sale and nothing that we wanted. I had expected a few more people as the harbour is pretty full. As we began to chat with a few “local” yachties we discovered why – the time here is an hour ahead – they don’t have daylight saving and we were still working on Florida time so we were an hour behind! It explained why we couldn’t get the cruisers net too. Apparently there were a few more vendors around earlier who had since packed up and gone home. Obviously we are in cruising time mode! We stayed for about an hour and then packed up our stuff and headed back to our boat with plans to go in the opposite direction, towards town, once we had dropped our charts and books back on our boat. After making it back to the our boat, dropping off stuff and picking up the camera and the computer stick which had the blog saved on it, I locked up the boat and then went to climb back into the dink only to have Gerry laugh at me and ask if I was actually going to lock the boat up. I had put the padlock in place without actually lacing it through the latch – I had truly lost the plot! It took a moment or two longer to lock up properly, compose myself and climb back into the dink and head to the town dock. The dinghy dock was a very unsafe looking floating wooden dock which we secured our dink to prior to walking the short distance into the “Town”. Our initial impression of it was that it was like the docks around Brazil – dirty, smelly, loud music, busy, full of small children in varying degrees dress, skeletal dogs roaming around everywhere, the odd pig (2 actually), horse, ducks, cow and chicken roaming wild, motor scooters everywhere with the riders blasting away on their horns for you to get out of their way, small dwellings which were open onto the street and which you could see straight into, small openings in the walls which seemed to be cafes or store fronts, lots of locals hanging around doing nothing in particular and a few official looking men in various bits of uniform – possibly customs, immigration, police – who would know! The immigration, customs & agricultural office is located immediately at the end of the dock path – it is a beat up looking blue demountable shed containing a couple of desks and a few chairs, most of the staff however are to be found outside under the shade of the nearest tree as the building has no fans or air conditioning and could be likened to a furnace in the heat of the midday sun. The road forked and we took the right hand fork in the hope of finding “Steve’s Place” and yes just a short way down this street we found the sign for Steve’s place which advertises itself as being a restaurant, bar, wholesaler, internet cafe and Laundromat. It reminded us of a typical open air cantina similar to the ones in South America. We went in and ordered a drink and lunch, enquired about the internet – it’s free if you eat here. Whilst we waited for lunch to appear we checked our email and I uploaded the last few days blogs, try as I did I couldn’t get the photos to load so I’ll have to try that somewhere else and you’ll have to check back later if you want to see them! Lunch was excellent and very cheap; a lot of the yachties from the harbour seem to come here regularly from what we could tell. We bought a dozen bottles of coke from them, listened to Steve telling us what other things he sells (hamburger meat, chickens – cooked and fresh, fruit and vegetables –as displayed, beer, rum and other things if you ask in advance and he can get it) and we then headed back to our dink and motored back out to the boat. A short while later we had a visitor – an official from the “tourist board” who hadn’t been here to see us yesterday but needed $10 each to issue us with tourist cards which we had to then take into the “authorities office”, have stamped and then place in the box marked for them in that same office – we could do that tomorrow but we had to part with the cash now. The rest of the afternoon was spent doing a bit of personal laundry in the Margarita mixer bucket – it’s a portable camping washing machine, literally a bucket with a motor for those of you who haven’t seen it, we think it would make a perfect margarita mixer! As it rained a bit we decided not to go back ashore in the evening, we just stayed onboard and read books.



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