In Luperon   3 comments

The local scenery.

 

The Dominican Republic may have caught Lee and I a little off-guard but I’m happy to say that things do get easier. They get so easy, apparently, that many sailors set up residence here. They stay for a hurricane season that lasts years instead of months. We have no intention of staying here that long but we are adjusting to life in this mind bogglingly loud, lively, dirty, colorful country.

I have found my favorite mini-market and the one-handed proprietor knows me by sight and first name now, even though neither of us speaks the other’s language. The other day I bought a bag full of bananas, a pineapple, and a green spiky mystery fruit (I later learned it was a soursop) from him for a ridiculously small amount of pesos. I returned to his replenished produce table for a chayote squash, iceberg lettuce, two monster carrots, and two beautiful eggplant (all for less than $2).

Tuesday morning’s produce market in the street was pure heaven. We were there a little late so I think some things were already gone. Still, there were chayote, beautiful tomatoes, broccoli, fresh herbs, pumpkins, peppers of various kinds, potatoes, shallots, pineapple, yams, beets, lettuce, and okra. My eyes glazed over as I started filling my bags. I wish I’d bought some of everything but that would have been too much to carry. The chayote, I think, is my favorite.

 

Easter weekend celebrations are over now but they were certainly wild while they lasted. We joined the party on the beach (La Playa Grande) on Saturday night. Dozens of little tents and tarp canopies covered bars, each of which had a sound system blaring music as loudly as possible. Plastic tables and chairs surrounded each tent bar to roughly the radius of the music’s reach, then rant into another tent bar’s area. Most bar’s were also equipped with barbecues and they churned out a surprising number of bunless hot dogs. People were eating the hot dogs on sticks with strips of condiments squeezed along the length of the dog.

People of all ages milled about this beach party, eventually taking to the dance floor for some raucous merengue. I couldn’t get any closer to dancing than 5 feet from the covered stage. The music (live and then recorded) was so incredibly loud that it hurt my brain. When we weren’t wandering aimlessly, Lee and I sat at one of the quieter tables with our sailing friends and tried to talk over the music. This was definitely unlike any Easter celebration I’ve ever experienced.

The town was quitter on Sunday. Lee and I went on a morning run near the beach from the night before. We made a brief visit to the weekly swap meet at a local hangout. There, we met a resident/cruising woman selling notecards who shared lots of useful information about the area. I was happy to find someone to ask about getting fresh eggs and she was happy to tell me that the bakery, a yellow storefront with no sign, has the freshest eggs (none of which come refrigerated here). She hooked Lee up with someone who could rent us a motorcycle and said she would take the few remaining thank you cards I needed to mail to a guy who is going back to the states on Wednesday. I guess that’s the best way to send mail to the U.S. from here.

After that productive venture, we spent the rest of the day sweating on the boat. Lee worked on his projects while I baked flatbread, read, and tried to find the least hot place on the boat. It was a scorcher. Today is much cooler as the wind is blowing 20 knots in the harbor. Still, I was burning up in the morning sun doing yoga this morning. That was before the wind started blowing.

We finished checking in with the rest of the Dominican officials this morning. Immigration, agriculture, and the Navy all filled out paperwork about is and then took our money. None of the officials spoke much English but we had much better luck communicating than we had with the customs officer on Friday. We got off the hook on having Navy officers about our boat because apparently the right person wasn’t around. After shuffling through the bureaucracy, we got a local sim card for our Blackberry, yet another challenge to our communication skills.

Our guide, Anthony, me and Lee.

 

After the produce market yesterday morning we went on a great waterfall adventure involving local transportation, climbing, swimming, sliding, and jumping. We took a taxi to the nearby town of Imbert. This taxi crammed 4 people in the backseat and two (Lee and me), in the front. From Imbert we jumped on with a couple of motoconchos to ride the last few miles to the waterfall park. At the park, we donned lifejackets and helmets and a guide named Anthony wearing rainbow knee socks took us to the 7th level of waterfalls. There are 27 levels in total but we opted for the shorter tour.

 

Me jumping into a pool.

 

The waterfalls were nothing short of amazing. We hiked for 15 minutes or so to the first one, where we started swimming and climbing our way up. The water was cool and clear and the falls wound their way through glass-smooth rock walls. When we reached the top of our journey it was time to slide! The rocks acted like natural water slides on the way down. In a few instances, we jumped from higher than I’ve ever thought of jumping into deeps pools. Our guide took gratuitous pictures with our waterproof camera the whole way so we have plenty of documentation. After lunch at the park, we made our way back to Luperon on foot and in another crammed cab.

Today we are venturing even farther into this wild country. We plan to take the bus to Santiago (the second largest city in the DR) for some exploring. We’ll spend the night there and come back to Luperon tomorrow. I can’t wait to see the big city!

 

Posted April 27, 2011 by Rachel in Uncategorized

3 responses to In Luperon

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  1. Woo hooo! Fruits and waterfalls!! Hey, what do you do with eggplant? I love it but have no idea how to prepare it well. I read that you have to salt it to take out the bitterness, but when I did that, I just ended up with salty eggplant.

    I wrote about chayote on my cooking blog. It’s called chuchu in Brazil. http://cookingbrazil.blogspot.com/search/label/chuchu

    The second entry w/ the recipe looks kind of bad in the picture, but it’s good, I promise. It’s simple.

    Oh, and by the way, friend? Check out those abs! HUBBA HUBBA!! You look great. So strong and healthy 🙂

    Can’t wait to read more 🙂

  2. Grilled eggplant is the best! Or breaded and fried, though that’s slightly less healthy…

    When can we see pictures of the waterfall adventure?

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