Denied Exit

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Dominican Republic has been a blast, but it is time to move along. After monitoring all our normal weather sites for a few days and even getting a personalized weather forecast/routing report from Chris Parker (the professional marine weather forecaster/router) we were all a GO for leaving Luperon and headed to Samana, our next port in the DR and about 130 miles away.  Normally we would just up anchor and be underway within ten minutes but here in the DR you not only have to clear in and out of the country, you also have to clear in and out of each port.  You have to do this within an hour of leaving.  This is really, really difficult to do when the officials only keep office hours and most of the sailing around here is done at night or very early morning when the trade winds die down.  Lucky for us we found another great weather window with the winds so light we were afforded the opportunity to sail all the way to Samana without having to make stops along the coast or trying to leave at midnight.

Ready to go, we went to visit the officials.  We waited on the stoop about 20 min for the first of them to show up and unlock the offices, then we made our way through each department filling out papers, checking passports, and, of course, paying money.  It went smoothly though.  Once the paperwork was all done we had to go to their Navy and have the Comandante (the big guy in charge) give us our despacho. The despacho is the piece of paper that allows you to leave the harbor and clear into the next harbor. Before you leave they will also come out to the boat and check things out (or collect gifts- however you might want to look at it).  We walked up to the offices at the top of the hill and showed them our completed paperwork and receipts and asked for our despacho.  No despacho.  We asked as many different ways as we could think of but still only got  “no despacho”. After a while of working out the language differences we figured out that they were not going to give us permission to leave the country because they thought the weather was bad.  We were very confused. The weather was good-not bad. Even though we had spent hours checking the weather the last two days and were confident that we had a good and safe window to travel, we thought maybe they had some valuable local knowledge about something we missed.  Another boater who was also trying to get permission to leave asked what was the concern with the weather.  The officers couldn’t tell us exactly because they have no internet to see for themselves.  It seems like some guy in the city told them the weather was bad.  Awesome.

We were not the only boat trying to leave, at least seven boats that we knew of were asking for permission to leave but no one was allowed to go.  Confusion and frustration was certainly palpable.  We tried to convince ourselves that perhaps they were acting in our best interests and maybe saving us from some unknown dangerous conditions offshore that we couldn’t see despite all of our data, but this was coming from the same people who can not understand why you need to leave the harbor at certain times of the day (or night) in order to either avoid bad weather or to get into the next harbor by a certain time for safety reasons. I won’t even go into the aspect that we all captain our own boats and they are our homes and our decisions on when and where to travel and in what conditions are ones we take seriously and full responsibility for- nor do we leave those decisions for others who do not know our boats or how they travel! To add to our doubts we started hearing from a few locals that perhaps the restaurants did not want the cruisers to leave-they would miss the business. As we were watching our good and safe weather window slip away in front of us, I found this suggestion unsettling. However, we did not get even the slightest impression from the officials that money would have changed the situation.  We gathered with the crews from Antares and Blabber in the local plaza and used the Wi-Fi to try to find the source of this mysterious bad weather. While the group was convening I wandered off to find the ever elusive Dominican Republic toilet.  After a few strikes I found a café that looked promising.  The old man at the counter asked me “just pee-pee?”.   “Si, Senor.” Like most bathrooms here-no water so no flush.  Just a little more weirdness thrown into an already bizarre morning.  We never found why they thought the weather was no good.  Wind was under 10k and seas 2-4. Long period swell. No squalls.

Defeated, we tried to regroup and make a new plan.  We decided to wait for two more days because we think the weather should be decent enough to sail all the way across the Mona Passage and to Puerto Rico without making any more stops in the DR.  We had already heard there are a lot of problems in Samana with corruption. Like here, we had thought we would just go with an open mind but I am not sure I really want to check in and check back out through one more harbor anymore.  Especially if it is supposed to be much more difficult than here!  I certainly don’t want to deal with another “Hotel California” scenario. We also learned by asking around to the long-timers that refusing despachos citing weather (which, again, was in fact good) is not the norm and we were not the only ones befuddled by the denial.    Oh yay- we were the exception.  Grrrrrrrrrrr. On top of the up-heaved plans for the day we were not sure what to do about all the paperwork we had that was stamped for us leaving the harbor within the hour.  We were assured it would be OK. I will be interested to see if we have to pay again in two days though- if we even get clearance to leave that is!

Update: At least three maybe four of the boats left the harbor after being denied permission today.   I can’t say the thought didn’t cross my mind in frustration a time or two today but was quickly dismissed as we still have to sail along the coast of the country for over 150 miles before you even start to make the jump to Puerto Rico. (that takes more than 24 hours by sailboat)  The local military boat doesn’t seem to be in commission at the moment as it has derelict boats tied up to it and it is growing a pretty good reef on its bottom, but it is not like you can out-sail a phone call.  There are other military boats in the fleet. This evening we saw a disgruntled looking Comandante commandeer a go-fast Panga fishing boat with a large outboard motor.  He had a list of all the boats in the harbor and was going around carefully doing a roll-call.  We also heard calls on the VHF to at least two of the escaped boats.  The go-fast boat did not leave the harbor to go after the missing boats after the attendance was taken so I’m not sure what, if any, the repercussions might be. Should be interesting to see what the next few days bring.

Love Sick

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We fell in love with the DR on sight and with every step further into this beautiful country we seemed to fall deeper and harder.  Within a week we had already decided that we wanted to spend hurricane season here instead of Grenada.  Keith picked out which motorcycle he would buy and I was amassing lists of the places to go. Envisioning a much further place in the future our ears perked up when the cost of land was discussed and we have been diligently practicing our Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons in the morning and trying to learn as fast as we can. If your idea of pretty is manicured, you might not see it, but the towns have a beauty to them and the countryside, well, obviously it is breathtaking.  It is the people though, the people, that make us just want to be a part of this place. If I had to pick one description I would say happy. They are happy. And they act happy.  They make us happy.  No doubt, we caught the DR love bug.

Did you sense a “but” coming on”?

While we love almost everything about Luperon, as the days go on and the rush of love chemicals begin to mellow, we have started to miss water-of all sorts. We are missing clean water to swim in and fish in.  The harbor, though pretty, has filthy water.  All the street gutters and sewers lead into it and there is almost always a sheen of diesel on the surface from the old fishing boats.  We also miss fresh water.  Because of the pollution we can not run the water maker so we have to buy bottled water.  I miss our water maker very much.  We also miss running water-as in plumbing in the town.  There seems to be plenty of city water available for the houses, though everyone buys bottles for cooking and drinking, but even so there is a serious lack of sinks and toilets with running water.  Even the places selling food more often than not do not have a working sink.  If there even is a bathroom it is unlikely that water is plumbed to the toilet. Toilet paper or soap? Not happening. I am just going to throw this out there-  If you can’t wash your hands, the person prepping your food can’t either, if the person cooking your food didn’t wash their hands you start to notice that there are also no toilets.  Just saying.  Even beyond food prep the hand washing thing is exhausting.  Keith had someone blow their nose into the street with his fingers and immediately hold out his hand to shake. Unfortunately , the love bug was not the only thing we caught.  We’ve both picked up some cruds.. Me gastro,  Keith respiratory. Now we are just trying not to swap with each other.  After a few days of being feverish and lethargic the lack of hygiene and sanitation all around starts becoming harder to ignore and the desire for clean water more intense.

Yes, we eat just about anything or anywhere.  To be honest the street food sometimes feels safer at least it is coming straight off a hot grill or out of a pot of boiling oil.  They have been safe so far.  It is the sit down places that have pained me.  We also eat non-peelable veggies. A no-no.  I can’t help it the produce here is gorgeous!  It just gets a healthy bleach bath first.

We also learned something else about ourselves that has no reflection on Luperon:  We both seemed to have an infinite attention span for blue water, but a finite attention span for green peaks.  After only three weeks, I only glance at the beautiful mountains surrounding our anchorage where as I could sit and just watch the tide go in and out all day long everyday when the water is pretty.

With all of that said, we love the DR.  But maybe in more of a summer fling kind of way and not a soul-mate kind of way.  We will be back, I am sure, but for now I think it is time to head out and there is a good weather window coming up.

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Boat on a Hill

For our next two bouts of touring we forwent the motorcycle and piled into a 4-wheel drive SUV with the crews from Antares and Blabber.  The first order of business was to find the boat on the hill.  We learned about the boat on the hill story from Antares, they had been told about it from a cruiser they met down island a few years ago.  The story went that a cruising couple came to Luperon and, like many cruisers do, decided not to leave.  They tried to sell the boat but when it didn’t sell they decided to just move it up into the mountains and live on it there.  Fast-forward to the last baseball game we went to and Keith and I were talking to yet another ex-cruiser now living in the mountains- he had just come down to see the game. Antares came along and it turns out our new acquaintance was the guy who had told them story about the boat on the hill several years earlier. It was not his boat, he just watched it being trucked up the mountain side.  (Understandably a memorable moment).

Off we went to find it. We didn’t really have good directions and in fact Antares and Blabber had drove around the day before looking for it.  They kept pulling over and asking the locals “boat?”  and pointing up the mountains.  The locals kept laughing and pointing down towards the coast. “No, Puerto Plata!”  This time we found the road- I have no idea how a semi got up it- but there it was. A boat. On a hill. Up a crazy steep, windy road.

We had good timing and the owner was standing by the road and immediately welcomed us to come see.  We spent a few hours talking to him and meeting his wife.  We also got a tour of their home they built further up the hill that is completely off-grid.  Really interesting and welcoming couple.

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After the tour of the boat and house we got led on a walk through the mountainside where we got to search for fruits.  It was like an adult Easter-egg hunt!  We scored a stalk of bananas, several avocados, and some oranges.  We had way more fun than should be expected on a walk. We also got lessons on caterpillars and coffee plants.

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After our walk, we were led on a tour of the very tiny village and were introduced to just about everyone.  We stopped at the one tiny shop and all bought drinks and snacks.  Hopefully that sent the owners profits through the roof for the month.  We bought a sack of avocados from one of the farmers.  The entire sack was less than $3.00. We added these to our already collected finds. Wholly Guacamole!!!!  From there we visited with the other ex-cruising couple we met at the baseball game who also lived nearby.  Their house had amazing views and we enjoyed getting to know them more. By the time all the visiting was done the day was almost gone so we just toured a few of the smaller towns and drove around the countryside.  We then rented the car again a few days later to go to the city of Santiago.

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In Santiago we toured a cigar factory.  Neither Keith or I are cigar fans but it was part of country, it was free, and our friends were really excited about it which made for a very fun time.  The only two facts that really stuck out for me was that they had to make 250 cigars a day and they could smoke what ever cigar they wanted while they worked.

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After the tour we were starving and saw a flood of people in uniforms walking down the street.  We figured they were on siesta so we filed in line.  They were headed into a shoe factory.  They were coming from lunch not going to lunch.  They pointed us in the opposite direction and we found the employee cafeteria down the street.  It was just about empty when we got there but they still had food and were more than happy to serve us.  We got a huge lunch for under $5.00 for the both of us.  And it was the best cafeteria food I’ve ever tasted!

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After lunch we headed downtown.  Santiago is not a tourist city but because of its location in the center of the country and its production it is very affluent in parts.  Other parts not as much.  Both were interesting.  We walked around the arts district.  We were in search of the free museum that displayed the old Carnival Masks.  On the way we found several art galleries, watched a rehearsal for a play, and found that the museum we had been looking for closed for remodeling.

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Just when we had given up the hope of finding the masks, Ben found them.  They were a bright collection to look through.

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I thought nothing would top the driving in Puerto Plata, the traffic in Santiago managed to do that.  Glad we were in a car.  There is certainly so much more to see of the DR, but I think I am good on the cities for right now!

Puerto Plata

We wanted to tour the nearby city of Puerto Plata and since we were planning on making it more of a discovery day than anything else we did just about no research ahead of time figuring we would just find what we found. When we saw something interesting we would stop. Our only real goal was to pull over at all the little roadside shacks and bring home as much fresh produce as we could eat and we also wanted to check out the Wal-Mart-like store, La Sirena, for provisioning later on.

We rented our trusty blue motorcycle- the one that has NO suspension on it and off we went.  As we got closer to the city we started to see more and more of the road side stands we were looking forward to stopping at on the way home-so many so that we thought “how do they make money being so close together?”.  Then we drove right by a huge cruise ship. We didn’t even know we were near the water yet-it looked like the giant ship was nestled between two mountains!  All of a sudden the plethora of fruit stands made sense.  Darn- there went that plan for cheap fruit!

We were expecting some crazy city driving.  Crazy city driving has a whole new definition for me now-Holy crap!  There were trucks driving down the wrong side of four-lane roads, vehicles driving in reverse, buses going the wrong way on one-way streets, and three lanes of cars on a two lane road and all the while motorcycles are weaving in and out everywhere. And, of course, there was still the sampling of horses, donkeys, chickens, and goats sharing the roads. Everybody honks for everything which just adds to the craziness. It was an experience! I have never seen driving like it!  We made it through without any crashes, but not necessarily unscathed.  Keith has long red scratches on his stomach from me digging into him with my nails in a death grip just trying to stay on the back of the bike.

To escape the worst of the city driving we got down to the Malecon (road along the water).  It was a little more touristy than we like but we found the “yellow Wal-Mart”.  What can I say- it was just like Wal-Mart, but yellow.  The prices were not great-more like American prices even on the non-imported stuff.  We only bought crackers, butter, and tortilla chips (to go with all those avocados we planned on getting on the way home).  What I was really looking for was a pair of shoes.  My only non-flip-flop style shoes floated away back when we were in the Bahamas.  I didn’t find anything worth buying so it was a quick stop. For lunch we knew we had to get away from the tourist track so we headed up the mountain side until we passed a place that had a line of locals trailing from it’s patio.  Another great lunch for two people under $6.00.

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From there we drove randomly but quickly decided that we couldn’t see the city at all because you had to focus entirely on the traffic.  For sure, it would have been a better choice to take the bus and walk around.  Plus, you get to interact with the city if walking.  Lesson learned. We passed a large open-air alley market that had tables and tables of shoes.  We turned around and gave it a shot.  I found a pair I liked but we had a translation error.  We thought they were 340 pesos (not unrealistic- there were signs for shoes for 200 pesos nearby).  They were 3400 pesos-almost $70.00!  I thought there would be a problem when we changed our mind but the seller just chuckled at us and told us to have a good day.  Silly gringos.  We wandered through some more of the market. This was certainly the local market.  They were selling underwear by the mound-full  and mops by the bucket load, not jewelry and trinkets. It was a little claustrophobic but the vendors were not overly pushy. Well, except for the one who wanted to sell Keith a pair of boat shoes. He wouldn’t let go of Keith’s hand after he shook it.  I guess we had a “boater” look to us.  It was fun and not at all like my traumatic experience at the Straw Market in Nassau many, many years ago.  Thank goodness!

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We decided to not push our luck with the city driving and headed home.  The roadside stands were a bust- too close to the cruise ship as we expected.  They wanted wanted $3.00 for a pineapple and they asked for it both in English and in US currency right away.  Nope, not what we were looking for. We stopped at a few stands/family homes way outside of the city, the prices were normal again. At one a man was making fresh peanut butter in his shack and used his fork (that he had been eating from) to scoop out some of his new batch for me to try.  Please tell me…what is the proper response to that?!??  I picked the blob off with my fingers and licked the non-fork-touching side but not enough to actually get any on my tongue. I bought two plantains and we escaped as quickly and politely as we could!  We didn’t buy any peanut butter.

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The last stop of the day was at the cheese factory right outside Luperon.  We were led into the only door which led to the human resources office. There were the of the remains of a big sheet-cake, half-full bottles of warm soda, and lots of paper plates- the universal picture of an office birthday party. We thought we were in the wrong place but there was a scale on the desk and we weighed out a big ball of cheese for less than $2.00. It was the score of the day. Keith was a happy boy.

Cheese to go with our crackers and avocados to go with our chips.  It was a successful day despite our non-existent planning. We came home exhausted.

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^^ I thought that maybe in the city we wouldn’t see as much of the friendly faces or receive the warm greetings that we love so much about the people of Luperon and the small surrounding villages we have been to.  I was so wrong.  Everywhere we have gone people are happy and so friendly. We like it here (even if the driving is scary).

Baseball

After two days of motorcycle touring and a day of waterfall jumping and cock fights, today’s only adventure was to find a barber shop and a salon to get out hair done.

The lovely family that rents us the motorcycles has been very helpful in learning our way around.  Keith asked one of the older sons, Ronnie, for a recommendation for a barber and he walked us through town.  The first barber was on the second story up a very steep and narrow set of concrete stairs.  He didn’t know what to do with Keith’s blond head so we followed Ronnie to another barber.  At first we got a little panicked when he just started hacking haphazardly at his head, but it was just because its been so long since he got it cut and he was getting to a starting point.  I turned out to be one of the most meticulous cuts he has gotten.  We took a break and had breakfast at our usual little shop and then we went off in search of a salon.  There are several here, I got a recommendation for Antonia’s.  She was delightful and had a tiny room in her house to work out of.  She pulled up a picture of what she was doing so no surprises.  I got the full experience with big curlers on my head and all.  I am sure Keith enjoyed waiting the whole time.

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By Saturday morning we were ready again for some more action.  The locals organize a softball game between themselves and the boaters.  When we got to the field the kids were playing, they ranged in age from probably 6-17.  It was fun to watch.  Baseball is taken very seriously here, I think the Dominican Republic has the most or second most amount of professional players.  When the local guys started showing up on the field Keith had some second thoughts about playing- they looked tough and to be honest quite intimidating!  I had enough bumps from the waterfalls, I didn’t even contemplate participating.  It became evident pretty quick that they were there to just have a good time.  They didn’t take themselves seriously at all.  Keith joined in.  It was a good time.  The local guys would pretend to miss a ball or slo-mo run to the base.  Even then boaters still only managed to score one point! The game had take a recess while a heard of cows wandered through.  They stopped in the outfield to graze.

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^^Think he wants to be a baseball player when he grows up?

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^^They provided the gear for the boaters.  Clearly labeled even.

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After the game everyone-the kids, the locals, and the boaters-hung out at the corner bar.  They had provided the game, we contributed to the beer and soda.  The beer is drunk more like wine here, a bottle is ordered and it is shared in little plastic cups.  Very social.  I love it.  Ben from Blabber started to serenade the group with a song from the radio and about caused those tough-looking guys to snort their beers.  Lots of laughs.  We are going to do it again next week for sure.  I can’t believe we arrived only a week ago today- it has been one very active week!! (edit: I am a full week behind getting this post loaded up-the game today was just as fun)

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On Sunday we went to the real softball game between the Luperon team, Los Normans, and a nearby town.  This time we got to see the serious side of the game.  Wow, they pitch fast! Definitely fun to watch and neither of us are sports fans. We will do it again too.

Twenty Seven Waterfalls

Today was the most fun I can remember having-maybe ever!!!

We wanted waterfalls. We got waterfalls-twenty seven of them! And we didn’t just get to stare at them or sit under them. No, we got to climb, jump, ride, slide, and float down and over and under them. What an amazing day.

The Rio Damajagua waterfalls were a must-do experience for the crews of Antares and Blabber as well so off we all went together.  They are such a fun crew.  The plan had been to add a little local flair to the day by taking the public transportation bus to the town of Ibert and then a motoconcho from there to the waterfalls.  But we had such a great time yesterday on the motorcycles we decided to rent them again and skip the bus ride. Vroom-vroom.

The waterfalls have in recent years started requiring a guide and that you wear a helmet and lifejacket. You get a guide for your group-whatever size that is so you do not have to get lumped into another group.  That was nice and because we chose to do all 27, not just 12, and we had the experience almost all to ourselves. I was worried that it would be a “Disney Land” kind of experience.  Happily, I was  very wrong.  I was also quickly grateful to be wearing the dorky looking  lifejacket and helmet!

Ok, so you start off at the bottom of the waterfalls and there is no tram or cable car that takes you to the top.  It is a whole lot of hiking and climbing “up”. Twenty seven waterfalls worth of UP. But first you cross the river, there used to be a suspension bridge but it got swept away in the floods.  This means you now have wet shoes and clothes on from the very start.  Hello chafe! I should not have worn swim shorts. I don’t know how far or how long we hiked up but I was really ready to start heading down by the time we got to the top.

The down part was so much fun and a total mix of experiences from relaxing to challenging.  The very first waterfall was a jump one, it wasn’t too high and the cool water felt great!  It was the first chance we got to really enjoy the scenery too. The next one was a sit down and slide one (like our butts had not been tortured enough on the motorcycle the past two days).  After going over the first few we kept wanting to do them again not really taking in that there were still two dozen more waterfalls waiting for us. Some of the jump ones were a little intimidating for me.  You had to make sure you jumped out far enough to clear the rocks, but they were also narrow sometimes and if you jumped too far you might hit the other side.  You also wanted to land in the deep section of the pool. We very gently kissed the bottom a few times. The sliding ones were where I appreciated the lifejacket just for the little extra padding on the way down.  You really zipped down some of those!  I must not have been very graceful because a few times the guide very quietly asked if I was OK afterward.  I didn’t see him asking anyone else.  I am currently sporting bruises on both elbows, my chest, and an ankle.  Oh, and also a purpling, puffy eye- but that was from a 4 foot tree limb falling from the sky and not a waterfall. Despite these, I would do it again in a heartbeat! It was still the best day ever. Keith and everyone else came out completely unscathed.  Between the waterfalls we either floated- lazy river style, or, in a few shallow sections, walked through the river. In one section the boys swung from long vines. Our guide completely gave up trying to usher us down quickly.  In fact most of the time we didn’t even see him, he would go around the corner and just wait at the next waterfall.  Sometimes we were deep in narrow canyons and other times a wide flat river bed filled with tumbled rocks.  On top of being non-stop fun, it was also gorgeous.  I took 487 photos between the two GoPro cameras and I would love to share how gorgeous it was here but, unfortunately, I have about 477 blurry, out of focus, water-spotted photos. Sorry. If you want to see real photos of the waterfalls just Google image search “27 waterfalls Dominican Republic”. They are much better than the ones I took.

DSCN9042^^ We made it to the top–now the fun starts!!!

Collage_Fotor.jpg^^Yep, a sampling of my 487 blurry photos to help me remember this day!!

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GOPR1255^^You just jump down there, don’t hit any rocks on the way down then climb over those two boulders and jump into the pool below them.  No sweat.  It took me past the count of three to make this leap!

GOPR0021GOPR0022^^Like white water rafting-with out the raft.

GOPR0029e^^On this one the guide hangs on to you while you get your feet and arms all tucked in, then he lets go.  All the others you do completely on your own he just tells you where to stand and where to aim.

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^^The floods had caused some destruction and erosion but didn’t interfere with any of the actual waterfalls.  The guide said it had been much prettier before the floods.

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^^This may have been the scariest of them all- it is too shallow to jump down so you climb down the wobbly sketch-o ladder.

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^^Photo credit to Ingrid (Blabber)

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^^Photo credit to Ingrid (Blabber)

The waterfalls would have been experience enough to complete the day, but we had the motorcycles still and were ready to fill in the rest of the afternoon.  First up was to refuel with a hearty late lunch.  We drove around the city and ended up selecting the first place we had looked at.  The owner was fantastic and so was the food.  We got huge servings- which we inhaled!  Our favorite thing was a sweet banana casserole with meat and cheese.  I know, it sounds very gross.  It was not.  The owner was nice enough to write down the recipe for me too. Lunch for both of us with drinks cost under $8.00. I love being able to afford a meal out!

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On the ride back to Luperon we passed a building that had a crowd of people and a lot full of motorcycles.  We flipped around and checked it out. It thought it might be a band or dance. It was a cock fight.  Right about the time I figured it out Ingrid and I (and only Ingrid and I) were ushered into the very crowded caged pit.  I have some very strong opinions about cock fighting and animal cruelty.  Having said that, I was now squeezed inside a cage that was filled to the ceiling with very excited men, 2 prized roosters, and a lot of money being waved around that was at stake.  Taking this all in, I thought that maybe I should keep those opinions very much to my self! And I did.  I wanted no part of watching the fight but didn’t want to offend the gentleman who was gracious enough to lead us in without tickets while others, who certainly did want to watch, were still waiting outside.  So Ingrid and I were spectators at a cock fight whether we desired to be or not.  Thankfully once the action started I couldn’t see anything but the rear ends of the men jumping up and down and shouting in front of us.  It was an intense and loud experience. We laughed pretty hard and agreed that maybe it was too local of an experience! It certainly beat out a bus ride! When it was over I was very careful not to look towards the ring, I didn’t want to see the chickens. No one had paid us any mind, and everyone was very respectful while we tried to climb out of the cage before the next fight. What a crazy, over-the-top experience. However, unlike the waterfalls, I am not eager to do that again.  Once was enough.

DSCN9106e^^This photo was taken by accident, I was just clutching my camera and got jostled.  It captured the guy leading us in perfectly though!

DSCN9101e^^This one I took on purpose, no one was paying us any attention anyway- it was all about the money!

DSCN9104^^Thankfully this was my view once the action started, well once it started they were jumping up and down.

We reunited with the rest of the group, got on the bikes and got back on the road.  Our next two stops were much more tame- ice-cream and then school parade.

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The final stop of the day was the bar that overlooked the harbor.  We had a few drinks while recounting one of the most exceptional days I can recall. I will remember this day for a long time, the pictures that didn’t turn out won’t even be necessary.

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