We head to the second most famous beach in the area, Juan Dolio. The first one is called Boca Chica and is full of beach bars, shops and tourists. In contrast, Juan Dolio is a popular beach with the locals, so it may be even more interesting to us. On the way to the bus we experience Dominican hell. You can’t quite tell that there is a bus station in Santo Domingo. Rather, it’s a few dozen small stations scattered haphazardly around one larger plaza.
For us, this meant asking at every corner where we could get there and there. By the time we get to our little station, we’ll have met eight more, and so we have to keep asking over and over again if this is what we’re looking for.
For the Dominicans, especially the subversive and dangerous looking ones, this means an opportunity to try and get some money for their help. So they try to help us as much as they can, and every other sentence they look at my hands to see if I’m already taking out money.
At one point a huge Dominican comes up to us, points his finger at us and laughs incredibly. He’s laughing in our faces, laughing until he’s almost bursting. We don’t understand and we just keep on walking. Only later do we realize the reason for his infatuated mockery; it was our terrified faces.
We board the bus, let ourselves freeze on the way to our destination. We pass our village suspiciously. We don’t stop. We passed it. We are dropped off in the middle of the highway. Far and wide nothing, just in the opposite direction a small corrugated iron sign with the inscription Cruz rojo (Red Cross). Rescue?
Breath! … Exhale! … I create!
We’re going to settle down by the chajda and catch a bus. We can’t even take a breath and already several young Dominican boys are standing in front of us offering us a ride on a motorbike. Péta and I look at each other suspiciously. I saw whole families on one motorcycle, but we didn’t think to try it. I ask about the price, he says 200 pesos, or our 100 CZK. I’m trying to bargain because I feel like we’re really close. The price couldn’t be beat. We’re leaving.
Just like the rules, safety is not played in the Dominican Republic. They don’t have anything like helmets here. Driving on the highway inspires respect in us. After 20 minutes of driving, the destined motorcycle could finally rest. Running over the retarders certainly helped her get rid of the excess cut from the chassis. I’m full of excitement, we’ve done the truck bed ride, the horse ride and now the motorcycle ride.
We are at the beach. No one anywhere, only security guards at the high hotel rabbit hutches. What is he guarding here? Sunbeds and the space in front of them. We shake our heads and sit down a little further away, where the security guards don’t scold us for occupying private space.
While swimming in the sea, a few meters from the shore I discover a large octopus browsing the sea grass. I’m so excited I can’t remember if octopuses are somehow dangerous 🙂
A rumbling in the stomach directs us to a shack built on the sea. As we enter the pier, we are intercepted by security. The restaurant is for club members only. Where the hell are we?! Far and wide, no one anywhere, only prohibitions. We’re on a completely different beach than we’re supposed to be…
Our Juan Dolio Beach is an hour’s walk away. You don’t learn from mistakes, Santo Domingo and a trip to the ZOO obviously didn’t teach us anything, so we set off on foot to find the original goal.
The road is on the creepiness scale somewhere within the limits of tolerability. We feel that we are already close, but we have no idea how to get from the road to the beach. We pass the hotel complex and ask passers-by, they don’t know, at that moment a car leaves the complex. An elderly driver who apparently works at the complex asks how he can help us. We need to get to the beach. “Get in! I’ll throw you in there…”
Reminder of Rule #1 in the Dominican Republic: Never trust anyone who tries to help you without reason. It’s never for no reason!
An elderly friendly driver sets off in the direction we came from. We find it suspicious. He assures us that it’s better this way. On the way, he tells us about the local hotels, which he then shows us along the way, as if they were historical monuments. We don’t understand. We return to the village from where we started, from which we walked for an hour before we met this good gentleman. From there he takes a different route, but again in the right direction and also around other hotels that he can tell us about. We drive off suspiciously at the exact spot where he picked us up. WHAT?! The road where he picked us up 10 minutes ago continues for another 100 m, where we turn towards the beach, continue for another 100 m and so on…
And then there is failure to follow rule #2, run away before the person starts taking money from you.
“I’m glad I could take you for a ride and show you here”
“We are probably very happy and probably thank you…”
It is true that we have never seen such beautiful hotels. Actually, we didn’t even see these because we don’t fucking care about any hotels at all. We refuse to pay. The nice old man turns into an unpleasant and insistent grandfather. After haggling for a while I give him 200 or 300, I don’t even know anymore, I try to forget about it, and I tell him we’re even, he says we’re not. We leave when it helps.
I feel like an idiot for giving him anything at all. However, Péta adds that she has read about these cases and if I don’t give him anything, then they will call the police. She would force us to pay and maybe a little more. Supposedly providing a service. And who would want to argue with the police?
Finally we are at Juan Dolio Beach. After an unpleasant conversation with the old man, I don’t manage to enjoy the beach or the approaching sunset in any way. For a while we observe the nervous crabs and the local Dominicans, who in return observe us with a bit of hostility. We are heading back to Santo Domingo. Experience for 200 to 300 pesos is always useful 😉 We will try again next time on 1. the most famous local beach Boca Chica. Little do we know that Boca Chica (Little Mouth) will bite into us and just won’t let go.