Monday, June 16, 2014

Luperon Rejuvenation

Views around the harbor in Luperon, Dominican Republic

This sailboat is an Island Trader; the same version that Charlie sailed Trans-Atlantic  on in 1979.
This one is at the Government dock in Luperon and is in very tough shape. 

First stop is for cervesas and lunch. Little did we know it would be a huge bottle of beer, 22 ounces and we had ordered one Presidente and one Boheme to try. In Luperon there are no small bottles of beer because as the saying goes, " Why bother?"  The beers are served in bamboo cozies and cost $2.50US each or 100pesos. This restaurant La France is owned by a French gentleman that is married to a Dominican. We expected the menu to be a blending of both cultures but they prefer to make pizza and pasta and some fish when available. We had pizza and the cost was $10US.

Street scenes of Luperon. We managed to take all of these pictures and miss the car, scooter, motorcycle and bicycle traffic that usually is chaotic and looking like a jumbled mess of near collisions. There are no stop signs and the one street light in the center of town does not work.

Sculpture of a dove in the town park

Another view of the park

Just as I was getting ready to take this picture the young woman on the left took her basket off of her head.

This is a cactus fence that has barbed wire intertwined throughout. Definitely a great barricade.
Later when we traveled out into the country we saw this same cactus and wire used as fencing in pastures. 

You can barely see the barbed wire


Views from our balconey at the Hotel Diamant√©. A very nice clean hotel with friendly staff, hot water, fan, AC and intermittent wifi in our room, yet wifi came in easily on the first floor or outside on the stoop. 

The ever present vegetable trucks which drive around, speakers blaring, promoting the days harvest. Good fresh local produce at very reasonable prices. Pineapple $1 and other produce similar or less; and we were given a dozen mangoes and they would have given us more had we had a place for them. 
We were advised by fellow cruisers to buy bottled water for drinking while here - 8oz bottle about 50 cents per bottle. 

Laundry day and a close up of all the power lines converging.

Motorcycles like the one below with the baskets on the back saddlebag style, transport all kinds of things around town. Vegetables, water, beer, supplies of all kinds. There are also motorcycles and scooters with hard plastic milk crate type baskets strapped saddle bag style carryng wide loads; meaning across the bike, of lumber, concrete, re-rod, furniture, 55 gal drums and the list could go on and on. And, it certainly is not unusual to see a whole family on one bike, 4 to 5 bodies of all ages, shape and size riding front facing or side-saddle with toddler on hip, baby on the gas tank.
We are surprised there aren't more accidents.

Our room on the second floor -  $20US per night with AC, fan, TV, very nice bathroom and shower with hot water, and a balcony. Intermittent wifi in the room, but better on the first floor or outside on the stoop.

Mural painted on the wall by Rachel in 2009. We need to find out the story behind this painting.

The eyes have it

Our breakfast spot- Robert's Upper Deck. Great food, fabulous coffee, and wifi.
Many of the restaurants have wifi.

The kitchen

Our breakfast. We ordered the omelet and this is how it came; omelet stuffed with peppers, tomatoes, onions,ham and cheese, a side of fried potatoes, side of bacon, with pineapple and tomato slices and always a plate of bread on the side with honey for dipping and deliciously fabulous large cups of Dominican coffee of which we had two each. Cost $14US and was enough sustenance that we didn't eat again until evening for a light dinner.

The goats of Luperon. We often see this small herd wandering the streets oblivious to everything around them. Just interested in eating.

Up and coming Sammy Sousa's and Felipe Alou's. Luperon was winning.

Wendy's for happy hour. We now order one bottle at a time with two glasses. This bamboo cozie has a handle and apparently at some point when a cruiser has purchased enough beers a mug is made with your name or boat name on it and hung up on the wall of pegs to be used when you come in.

There is another cruiser hangout called RJ's located on the next street over from Wendy's. Good food and conversation plus free movie nights. Somehow we failed to get a street scene with RJ's pictured.

This gentleman has a canvas, sail repair, tailor shop. We had him make a duffle bag for us.

Randy (I thought the poster said Andy) rents this bike out for sightseeing. The price was reasonable for a 24 hr period $10, but we had to put the gas in it making our first stop the gas station and another $12. However, it was a new bike that ran well and did not break down. We had a good day.

Heading out of town across the mountains on the motorcycle. We will be passing through a portion of the agricultural heart of the Dominican Republic. 

One of a few houses along the road.....

....followed by this house next door.  Disparity is everywhere.

The entrance to a famous waterfall in the area. One used to be able to walk the trail and spend the day but now it is commercialized and there are fees whether you hike with no swimming or wish to ride down the falls like a toboggan run in which case you rent a helmet.
We opted to continue on sightseeing. We hope to come back to the Dominican Republic someday so we will save this adventure for another time.

The mural seemed oxymoronic as we suspect they never see snow.

We stopped for bottled water and a cold beer. We noticed in the shade of the tree, several pens with a rooster in each ......

......then we saw the pit. This is a cock fighting establishment. We asked permission to photograph and they were delighted to have us do so. The practice is legal here and apparently enjoyed by many.

One of many obstacles to watch for along the way.  As we drew closer the horse appeared to be sleeping.

We also met up with riders on horseback and on burros. We spotted this saddle, a typical style, at a produce stand along the road side. 

Heading to the Temple of the Americas and Punta Isabella

View from the Temple of the Americas built by Christopher Columbus near Punta Isabella.
Because we came to the Temple from the waterfall, the route involved all terrain travel.
Fortunately a local couple going the same way invited us to follow them.
We had to get off the main road onto a small gravel road then an even smaller gravel road and cross two rivers, then up a gravel road back out onto the highway to get here. 

The Temple of the Americas.

Taking a break in the shade before getting our sore bums back on our tough little motorcycle/dirt bike.

Views leaving the Temple as we headed down the mountain on the main highway back towards Luperon.

Not sure what the story is for this " boat house"

We stopped at El Rancho del Sol Hotel a recommendation by cruisers as a nice place to stay when you want time off your boat or have guests coming that do not like to stay on boats. We took in the view from the bar and enjoyed a cold cervesa and yes, still a grande Presidente so we only needed one.

The very adorable Welcoming Committee

Heading down the mountain back to Luperon

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Luperon. We look forward to sailing here again and spending more time in this friendly country.
Next stop Santo Domingo and the Zona Colonial - historic district.