captain’s log
     January 2008, start of the new year. The first half of the month was busy with charters but the second half was slow, so with airline tickets in hand I was off to the Dominican Republic for some quality down time. I flew into Puerto Plata on the North coast. Although I have been to the DR many times, this was the first time visit to the North coast. I  had heard and read so much about Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete that I wanted to see it first hand. I rented a car at the airport and stayed three days touring the area. It was ok but not great. I much prefer Santo Domingo, the capital city on the South coast. I also wanted to see the new marina facility near Puerto Plata for future reference in case I ever needed to stop there by boat. The marina is new and is a great facility.
     After three days in the area, I checked out of the hotel and headed for Santo Domingo, a four-hour drive across the island. Driving in the DR is quite an experience. It is literally a free for all. Many of the vehicles on the road are damaged or smashed up in some way and few if any of the drivers abide by the rules of the road. Many people, even the locals think I am crazy for renting a car and driving in the DR. However, I am quite used to it and seem to manage ok. One must be certain to have rental car damage insurance to cover any possible or likely accidents. The car rental agencies seem to expect rental cars to be returned with some sort of damage and are surprised when they are not.
     The DR is an extremely interesting country. It is a latin american third world  country with its fair share of poverty. Yet it is very colorful and lively. with beautiful, warm and friendly people. Music and dance are in the blood of Dominicans. They learn to dance and appreciate the local music at a very early age. Bachata and Meringue are the main types of music and dance and it is played and danced everywhere. I absolutely love latin american culture, music and dance. I took some Bachata dance lessons for a few days in Santo Domingo. However, even though I got fairly good at it, one of the locals told me "you will never be able to do it right" which is probably very true as I was not introduced to it at an early age and brought up with it as the dominicans are.
     After the Dominican Republic, my next stop will be Fort Lauderdale and Miami, mainly to attend the Miami Boat Show. Look for more stories on the DR in the future.
January 2008
Thursday, January 31, 2008