11 July 2007

A movie!

Gringos on Motos

July 11, 2007

Hans and Kristen on their moto.

Tom and Alex on their moto.

Crossing the river...they haven't built the bridge yet!

We stopped at a tobacco sorting and drying facility in La Isabela. There were about 40 people working there and the work was segregated by gender: the women sorted the leaves, and the men counted, weighed, and monitored the drying of the leaves.

On Saturday morning we set off on our moto to explore the northwest corner of the Dominican Republic. Tom and Alex rented a motorcycle and we were all ready for the adventure. We brought along our tents and planned on camping along the way. We spent the first day bouncing along dirt roads to Punta Rucia, a small, beachside town on the north coast. The beach was lined with food stands and it was teeming with people swimming, relaxing, eating, drinking and dancing. We set up our campsite a few miles down the road on a deserted beach and told stories and jokes around the campfire for hours.

Hanging out at the beach at Punta Rucia.

Tom and Hans watched the cock fight in Punta Rucia while Kristen and Alex sat by the beach.

Is our tent really for two people?!

Sunset at the beach.
We made a fast exodus from the beach on Sunday morning as the no-see-ums were biting us relentlessly. We started the long ascent to the top of the mountain chain, and then had a fun, easy coast down the other side to Route 1, Carretera Duarte, the main road that leads from Santiago to Monte Cristi. It was still early in the day, so we kept going to Monte Cristi. The vegetation changed from fertile and lush mountains and valleys to a cactus-filled desert. The sun was very hot and the air was dry and dusty.

How tall is this cactus?

Monte Cristi was a good-sized town with lots of bars and restaurants, but the highlight was the National Park.

The beach at Monte Cristi National Park. The sand was almost red in color and the waves were really big - fun swimming!

The descent from hiking up "the morro." The Park Ranger said it was 840 meters and had about 585 steps. Well, the day we hiked up it probably only had about 350 steps since most of them were rotted out and we had to climb alongside the staircase. It was hot with no shade, but the view from the top was gorgeous.

To spare ourselves another night of being food for the no-see-ums, we checked into a cabana and enjoyed the a/c, TV, shower, and soft beds.
As soon as the electricity went off at 8 AM on Monday morning, we packed up the bikes and headed back toward Luperon. We drove on Route 1 for a couple hours, stopping off at roadside colmados (corner stores) for cold drinks and snacks. We then turned off Route 1 and drove north, up and over the mountains. The drive was beautiful and we stopped in a few towns along the way to enjoy the scenery, drink cold water and chat with the people we met.

Springfield, Vermont: The Simpsons' Hometown

July 11, 2007

Springfield, Vermont, Kristen's hometown, has been voted the hometown of the Simpsons! The world premier will be held in the tiny movie theater on Main Street on July 21. Congratulations Springfield!