Monday, April 23, 2007

The Honeymooners: Arriving Alive

We held hands mostly to comfort each other. Dominican driving is terrifying for someone who is used to American driving. It would be an understatement to say it takes some getting used to.

They have lanes (in a fashion) and they drive on the same sides we do in the US, but the general rule of thumb is "if your car fits, it's legal". At first, I was mildly alarmed at how fast Speedy was driving, but I speed too, after all. Then, I was mildly alarmed at how close Speedy passed other cars and mopeds. Then, I was mildly amused by the number of people/amount of random crap that Dominicans are able to fit onto a moped. We saw one moped with 3 people on it. We saw a guy on a moped somehow managing to carry a large metal gas canister while navigating heavy traffic. Another person was carrying a large bundle of some kind of grain. I'm not sure if I could adequately describe the circus that was our drive from the airport to the resort. Vehicles pass each other into oncoming traffic, on blind turns, and while driving up hills. Cars pass mopeds, pedestrians, and each other within inches. Everyone tailgates each other.

It's a mess, but somehow, it works, and you do get used to it. Dominicans grow up driving like this. They go everywhere driving like this. It's a completely different set of expectations there. Dominicans don't get angry when someone is driving 6 inches behind them at 40 miles an hour, or when someone swings out and passes them with 4 inches between them. They don't seem frightened when they're passing on a bend and suddenly a truck is approaching in the opposite lane. They just squeeze back into the right lane. People just make room for each other.

The country is gorgeous. They have dramatic peaks, I would guess 5 or 6 thousand feet high, covered with green to the very tip. The place smells exotic. Everything is lush and growing. The towns are bright and vibrant. The cities we drove through were absolutely bursting with life and energy.

We finally made it to the resort and checked in. (it turned out that *17 dollars* was actually *seventy dollars* and we had to give the driver almost all our cash) My aunt and uncle are members of a timeshare called RCI and as a wedding present offered us a week's stay at one of the all inclusive locations. We chose Luperon Beach Resort- the pictures of the place were beautiful, the reviews sounded great, the amenities were many (restaurant on site, all kinds of activities, beach side location, etc), and we had a good overall impression. Stephen spent time in the D.R. a few years ago and loved it, and I've heard so much about it, I wanted to experience it first hand. All it would cost us was $80 a day for all the food and drink we could want. Everything was perfect. We got our luggage back, we made it to the resort alive, the weather was fabulous- we had a week ahead of us to chill and enjoy each other.

(sorry for not posting this weekend. I wanted to but didn't have time. I'll post like crazy today!)


Melissa said...

Geez, I wish I could see the moped circus! Maybe they'll come out with Mopeds on Ice one day.

It does sound beautiful there. Do we get to see pictures?

RachelRenae said...

Yes!! I'm planning on posting some pictures tonight.

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