Nov 26th: Cellphone Day

Agenda:

  • Buy Cellphone
  • Recover from Flights

This seemed simple enough.

Ciara

Ciara

We took care of the second item by sleeping in late. The kids were extremely excited about swimming so we went straight into the pool for a quick dip, which gave me a chance to swim with them before my trip to town. Now the advantage of being at an All-Inclusive resort is that they pretty much have a buffet open all the time, but it just so happens that when we were ready to eat there was an hour break while the buffets switched from breakfast to lunch. I guess we should have read through the info page they gave us the night before! In the end, the kids were so exited about having hot dogs for lunch that they were relatively easy to hold off. Again we were glad to be one of the first through the outdoor buffer because as soon as there was a break in the line of people the birds starting helping themselves as well.

Now it was time for me to head to nearby Peurto Plata and purchase a cellphone for our time here. This was important for a few reasons. We needed a way to connect with TEARS when we arrived in La Vega, it would serve as a bit of a life line if we ever got into trouble, and we wanted family and friends to be able to easily get ahold of us so we could maintain those relationships as best as possible. As I asked around the resort I could see I would get no help. The answers varied from “here’s the number of my Mom, call her if you get into trouble, we don’t steal kids” to “it’s too dangerous to walk out there” to “its too far to town” just as the Lonely Planet guidebook had warned us to expect. In the end I decided to suck up the inflated taxi cab rates (there is a “special” rate for people leaving the resort area of Playa Dorado of US$18) so that I could get directly to the store. This turned out to be, I think, a wise choice as less than 50% of the roads were marked. I was relieved to find that there was one girl at the Orange store who spoke a couple words of English (phone, cheap, buy) and we seemed to negotiate the purchase. We had no luck working out the details of the plan so I’m hopeful that we got some minutes with the phone.

Linguistic Confusion

Agenda complete, almost. Just a quick ride back to the resort. I had been debating in my mind whether to find a cab, or just grab a motto-concho (motorcycle taxi). In the end my stingy background kicked in and I hailed a motto-concho who happened to speak very fluent Spanish but not a word of English. I tested my travelers Spanish and We agreed on what I thought was the rate.

The ride was very smooth and easy. Traffic is so light here in the DR compared to Haiti, you really can’t compare the two. Here, people mostly stay on the right side of the road, pedestrians generally keep to the sidewalk except to cross, I didn’t see any merchants with their shops (blankets) setup on the road, many roads were paved, and almost all had gutters and sidewalks.

When we arrived at the Playa Dorada complex the guard wouldn’t let the Motto-Concho driver into the area so I had to jump off and walk in. I gave the driver 50 Pesos (approx $2 Cdn), which I thought was including a generous tip. At first I thought his face looked surprised in a good sense so I said gracias and walked away. Then, as he was pulling away I stopped. Was that really excitement in his face or was it disgust? My heart sank. Had I just hosed the driver for his fare? I guess I’ll never know.

Ariana

Ariana

Of course the resort personnel were surprised to see me back alive :). We enjoyed dinner at the Pizza restaurant, where we could each order our favorite pizza. This was by far our favorite meal, kids included. This made a great end to our short stay an All-Inclusive and we headed to bed early, expecting a much longer day tomorrow.

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