Luperon-First Impressions

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As soon as we were finished getting legal we got into the dinghy and headed to town to check it out.  I was going on less than three hours of sleep since after my watch I stayed up to watch the sunrise and our approach to the island.  Both of us had not gotten much sleep the last several days but we had no intentions of taking a nap before going ashore!

All of our senses were flooded at once trying to take in and look at everything.  The streets are lined with small houses and shops right up against the sidewalk. Most are colorfully painted and they are a mix of wood and concrete.  Most had patched together tin roofs. There is a level of disrepair to all of them but on a second look they are tidy and the people sitting in front of them or in the doorways all greeted us with a welcoming “hola” and warm smile. The character of some of the buildings was so sweet. There were dogs everywhere.  Some didn’t even open their eyes as you stepped over them others would trot along next to your for a few paces. They are not skittish or aggressive here, most looked happy. There are gutters that run along all the streets and they terminate down by the dock.  I learned quickly to not be so caught up in looking at all the houses to not watch my step! Laundry hung from almost every barb wire fence and kids were playing baseball. Between the houses were a mix of stores and businesses.  We saw everything from mechanics to barber shops.  There were lots of shops selling produce and fresh squeezed juices and small grocery items.  Sometimes the distinction between house and business couldn’t be made. We were able to find a store that exchanged a few dollars for pesos and we set off to spend them.  Although, through the day we found that calculating the dollar/peso exchange rate was much too difficult to do with our lack of sleep.

The sounds and smells were intense.  The music was LOUD.  It wasn’t a boom-boom music with bass but a sweet merengue that was broadcast from large speakers from every bar and most of the houses. The streets were filled with it.  Mixed in with the music was a constant vroom of motorcycles.  Like the dogs, they were everywhere. The backdrop conversations in Spanish added to the consciousness of being somewhere very new. We were still getting used to the sweet smell of vegetation and dirt and the town added its own swirl of scents-cow and horse manure in the streets was a prominent one- but also the delicious scents of foods being prepared.  There were women on the corners selling roasted corn from fires made right on the sidewalk. The crews from Blabber and Antares had come ashore to explore as well and as a group the smells worked over our appetite and we looked for a place to eat.  Keith had thought he had seen/smelled a promising option from a little green and pink building.  On closer inspection we thought maybe not so much.  They were offering the fried tails of something, maybe cow?  It wasn’t so much the tails I didn’t find appetizing but how much of the rump was still attached to the tail.  We kept looking.  We ended up at a sandwich shop that had a large patio to sprawl out under the shade. A large lunch cost us under $5.00 for both of us.

After lunch we wandered some more.  I don’t think that we passed as single person with out a greeting, it was an incredibly friendly introduction to the town and country.  In the afternoon we stopped at the bar in front of dock and ordered beers.  The beers are HUGE.  For today at least, we didn’t find anything not to like.  Tomorrow we we explore in earnest.

Note: I was cautious using my camera around town as I didn’t want to intrude on anyone’s privacy and had read that photographs are not always welcome.  Most of the photos were taken while my camera was discretely held down so sorry about the framing and focus.  I’m going to learn how to ask permission to take a photograph in Spanish tonight.

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^^ These are taxis, you hop on the back and they will drive you around town for a few pesos.  There are car taxis too.

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^^ Fried tail, anyone?

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^^ Kai came so close to becoming an older brother today!!! This pup was so small and so sweet I had a hard time walking away.

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^^Antares, Blabber, and Wright Away crew wandering around town.

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Ingrid and Hedda (Blabber and Antares) finding fresh produce.

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^^ One of the butcher shops, we identified it because of the slabs of fresh meat hanging from big metal hooks under the porch.

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