19 April 2010

Santo Domingo

** This was written on Sunday, but posted today because of internet problems.

I made it to Santo Domingo. In fact, the journey was quite nice. I'm accustomed to Latin American bus systems (i.e. ones where they cram you in like livestock, often among livestock, and then barrel around with reckless abandon). So I was pleasantly surprised to find this:

I knew they called it a "first class" bus, but I didn't actually expect it to be one!

And it got me here early. Early enough, in fact, that I wasn't sure we had arrived at the final destination. The first thing I did was locate my hotel. The bus station was more than 6 kilometers from it, so it took quite a while to get there. I walked much of it (something Dominicans seem to find peculiar) and eventually got on a público (which are banged-up old vans and small buses that run set routes around the cities). Two people work it - one drives while the other hangs out the open sliding door shouting things only native Spanish speakers could ever understand.

Sugar Cane fields just outside of Sosúa.

I walked around in the Zona Colonial for a little while, and then got a soft-serve ice cream cone (something Jessee and I have been missing ever since arriving on South Caicos). I'm hoping I'll have time to explore historical parts of the city considering how busy I expect to be with my diving course. Santo Domingo is one of the oldest European settlements in North America! Unlike the speculation that Christopher Columbus first set foot in the New World on Grand Turk, it is certain that he first settled on this island. Santo Domingo (formerly Nueva Isabela) is the first successful European settlement in the Americas.

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