After a very long and tiresome journey we (Richard, Crawford & Hugh) in Santo Domingo airport in the Dominican Republic. Althought for me (Hugh) it is my first trip here everythingis strangely familiar. Similar in many ways to Honduras and to Miami Florida as well as to LA. It is clear the US culture had touched Latin America, but also that the Latino culturehs affected th surroundings in soe of those places Ihave visited in the USA. As I write thipost we are traveling from Santo Domingo to Dajabon where we will stay as we serve in Ouanaminthe, Haiti. The bus is spacious and comfortable and is not hesitsating in terms of forward travel. The Developing World approach is evident as we load our bags in the bus’s cargo hold. Latino ladies argue with porters and bus drivers in an attempt to get as any huge sacks of goods into the hold at the expense of those passengers,like us, with suitcases. In fact we are in the minority, there are few suitcases in this hold but boxes and bags fill every corner. The driver evetually intervenes in the mele to make sure our bagesare given space The level of noise increases asthere is a risk that the ladies’ consignments may not get aboard.
The jorney is comfortable, which is more than can be said for the bed in the little hotel we stayed inovernight. It was like sleeping on a bag of bricks, however tiredness took over as I drifted off to the strains of dogs barkng and cocks crowing (it was 2.30am and the plan was that we get up at 4am for the 5am bus, however I managed with Crawford’s help, who speaks good Spanish, that we might e better to get a sleep instead of paying for a room for 1 1/2 hours). Beautiful distant mist covered mountains line the route we are travellig which add to the interest and in the near proximity tthe road dense jungle-like woodlands.
The trip from Scotland to Santo Domingo took 24 hours and this bus trip probably a further four. All went well, in terms of organisation, up until boarding forSanto Domingo. Our flights from Edinburgh to London and on to New York had very few passengers and so we had plenty of space, however now the New York – Santo Domingo was a dffernt matter. There was little or no control of carry on hand luggage meaning that people were carrying two or three very large bags: one lad was carrying a flat screen TV; and sowhen we (who actually queued for the flight) got on board there were no spaces left for our bags meanig we needed to have bags at our feet in an atrady tight seating arrangement. Four hurs late we were ‘set free’ on arrival in Santo Domingo.
We have now reached Dajabon after a six hour bbu trip and have been housed in a samll hotel. We visited Haiti across the nearby border crossing and we are now sitting in Cafe Beller awaiting our dinner order.