6 - 9, 2015 Marisol and I left the group in La
Vega and took off early in the morning to go to La Romana. The
rest of the group had things to do and we wanted to visit with
our friend Andrew who was staying at his place down there. We
took public transit which for long hauls seems pretty safe.
There is a fleet of busses travelling from hubs in major towns.
We had to change busses in the Santo Domingo but the waiting
time was, by luck or good design, only minutes. The busses were
clean, there was wifi and an action movie which appeared to be
North American, filmed in Brazil dubbed partially back into
English, renamed and shown with Spanish subtitles.
To Santo Domingo
Sunrise shot from the bus
The Luminatti Headquarters
To La Romana
(Woah! Free Wi Fi and a Movie)
Andrew's Place in La Romana is a dream. We could only spend three days
and I was quite sorry to leave. Andrew and Fran have a lot of style and
their attention to detail is wonderful. You would never know the place
exists. Found on a very simple street within walking distance to the
central square and shopping, hidden by an anonymous rented home on the
street front but if you travel down a little side lane to the back yard
there is the main house, guest house/bedrooms, outdoor patio, kitchen,
pool and tropical rainforest in the dry La Romana climate. It was a
relief to have real air conditioning, hot showers and for the first time
in the Dominican, blessed relief from the mosquitoes by screens on all
the doors and windows.
Screen Door to Big House
Pool / Big House
To the Guest
House / Bedroom
Attention to Detail
From Giant Hurricane Log
Marisol Beside Statue for Sense of Scale
(4 Gas Burners, Gas Griddle BBQ- Hot and cold running water)
Outdoor Kitchen Detail Griddle and BBQ Combination
Pizza / Bake Oven
Big House Ceiling
Tonight after some fine wine and long conversation into the night we
settle in for a hot shower and good long sleep. Tomorrow I pick up a
chip for the iPad - Claro will sell me one for about $30 for fast
internet all over the island - One month or 5 GB whichever comes
first. This is almost free when compared to Rogers roaming charges.
Then a bit of exploring the city and we are off to the beach.
Image removed at request of model
As the suns sinks slowly in the west we bid fond farewell to
By the second day I picked up a chip for my iPad from
the Claro dealer for around $28 CDN which gave me fast
internet access all over the island up to 5GB for the
month. I was able to answer e-mails and forward
instructions to the office on the bus or in the
mountains. We wandered around La Romana to see a little
of the town including Jumbo supermarket which was well
stocked with an excellent variety of good food somewhat
like a Metro in Canada but also with a reasonable
selection of beer, wine and spirits at low prices.
I had photo opportunities but missed them. Next time I
will try to get one of the train at night. Of the town I
shot only these two. They could have been from anywhere.
In the afternoon we visited Esqueleto
Beach in La Romana. We went where Andrew used to
play as a child. It was a short bike ride from
where he grew up. Where we were it was rocky and
the was some broken glass and rubbish. We
weren't there to swim but rather to relax in the
shade and enjoy the cooling sea breeze. Andrew
selected some fresh caught Parrot Fish and we
had them cooked to order while we sipped on ice
cold Presidente beer and Marisol enjoyed cold
coconut water. It was delicious.
Skeleton (esqueleto) Beach
Where Andrew Played as a Child
It was from a fallen tree like this that Andrew
had the statue in his backyard carved.
Picking out the Fish
Too late to show the fish it was gone in less
than 1/60 of a second
In the evening we visit the apartment of Andrew's friend for some more excellent
wine and a light evening meal. The gentleman is an architect. Before we return
to La Vega he promised to take us on a quick tour of Casa De Campo. Not the
tourist resorts, behind the gated community where politicians, millionaires and
movie stars hang out. But first we must visit Isla Saona. This is a National
park off the south east coast. Tour boats stop by every hour or so, drop off
people from the resorts who check out the little street of souvenir shops. There
is time for a quick beer then it is back to the resort. We came in a private
boat so we had the luxury staying as long as we wanted.
The ride to the island was along the coast past a big mangrove forest through
shallows and deep choppy water. We relaxed in the village, had a look around to
the school, electrical plant, the homes and the tourist shops.
Andrew once again selected some very fresh fish. He took the precaution of
bringing some perfect wine and a big batata which is kind of a potato that is
sliced and fried (like French Fries). It is kind of expensive and does not grow
there so it was a treat for the chef and for us. After a lovely lunch we enjoyed
a couple of heavy duty Dominican cigars supplied by Andrew's friend and listened
for hours to the charming stories of a poet who lives on the island. Andrew
calls him "The Cuban" because of a Che hat he always wears. He recited poetry
and told stories of the sea.
When it was time to return we stopped at a sandbank where you can jump out of
the boat and swim in the ocean. There are starfish a foot across and I shot
Marisol holding one. (They do not bite but they can suck I am told).
The Architect's Apartment
Bayahibe Church from the Sea
Sailing on the Ocean
Again too slow to catch the fish - Gone in less than 1/60"
The "Cuban" Poet
La Saona House
Where the Tourists Get to Jump out of the Boat in the middle of the Ocean
Do They Bite?
As promised before we left La Romana Andrew's friend took us for a
tour of Casa de Campo. We visited Altos de Chavon but we also got
inside the gated community where the rich and famous have their
homes and where Pop stars and aging ex-Presidents go to have a nice
time. On out visit to the yacht club we saw Andrew's company boat -
Not as it is right now of course but in its future form which will
come to be shortly after he strikes it rich on the Loto Max.