We got the opportunity to have our last breakfast at the resort with "John" the British guy, we had a very happy and humoristic conversation. Today he had planned to watch the soccer game and get drunk, if Britain won or if they lost (I guess that is British logic?)
Today it was raining cats and dogs all the way to the airport, we later found out that the airport had been closed down because of all the rain, but luckily they had just opened it again. It felt nice to have our own taxi this time, even though it was quite expensive, 100 dollars.
No problem checking in although they searched our hand luggage two times. While on the plane I was so hungry so I bought a 8 dollar sandwich, I think the right price should have been 1 dollar max. But it helped me to think that we slipped through custom without paying the mandatory departure tax of 20 dollars? Sometimes I just think that airports are soul less rip off stations.
OK we arrived just a little bit later then estimated, but we were only supposed to transfer to our next flight at the JFK airport with the same flight company (Delta). It shouldn't be a problem we had almost two hours before estimated departure. But what happened?
When we asked for help we just received a lot of anti service, then we had to pass through "immigration" again, fill in all stupid forms again and take pictures + take fingerprints, again?
It seemed like we had to do exactly the same as when we arrived for the first time, as if we were supposed to enter the country again?
I guess most of these "immigration" people must hate tourists, read their jobs!
To be honest I must say that there was one guy at the immigration desk that was really human and gave us superb service, but I can't help thinking maybe it was his first day there?
The we had to retrieve all our luggage and get through security again, before boarding the plane and then a third check of our hand luggage. No one seemed to care or expected us to get on our plane in time. So I had to say goodbye to my picture of a nice relaxing break at JFK airport, while eating a muffin and zipping an espresso, while resting before the next flight. Instead I was running through JFK airport looking for gate 19, for some unknown reason the plane was delayed and we actually made it to the plane. I was hungry, thirsty and sweaty and just wanted the plane to start, but what happened? they locked the plane and then we just stood there and waited for one hour before they announced that we had slot fifteen now. Even those people that hadn't flown before were getting really frustrated...
I remember when I flew the first times, when I felt fear, excitement, freedom and a sense of adventure every time the plane started to take off, but that was way back in the past.
Today I felt it was more like trying to eat under my own desk while there was an earthquake going and at the same time watch a small TV, then trying to sleep while the temperature were rising and sinking several times. Throw in a couple of crying babies and other people constantly bumping into you, and now I haven't even spoken about the ridicules security protocols. Of course the cabin crew did their best but it was a brutal journey starting around 08:00 in DR and then arriving home in Sweden at 13:30 the next day, fuck do I need a vacation now? YES!
I was very pleased with "Kastrup" airport in Denmark, modern, good logistics, it was just to walk through and get on the train directly, no hassle!
NY I was very surprised when I landed at JFK and when I came to NY because I thought it should be a modern country, but a lot of the infra structure and technology seemed to be ancient, almost like in a third world country and I shouldn't even talk about the metro although it had its charm.
One ironic thing is when you read on the labels of a lot of food, you see word as, real fruit, natural, no fat, naturally delicious, all natural. But almost none of the food is natural and they often forget to write, high sugar, zero fiber and no fruit on the labels. It seemed almost impossible to get your hands on real food here, or maybe we were looking in the wrong places?
The wall street success look was a light blue striped shirt with a small backpack and of course, a PDA in the hand and occasionally a coffee in the other hand.
One thing that really surprised me was that we bumped into an obelisk in Central Park called "Cleopatra's needle" and another obelisk just outside the UN building?
What's the connection between Egyptian mysticism and the foundation of America?
The land of the free or the illusion of freedom? I let you decide!
Vacation 1-2 weeks, multiple access to junk food, multiple choice of guns, harsh airport control, policemen and guards almost everywhere.
II was thinking about visiting the abandoned? military base "Camp Hero" on Montauk, Long Island to explore the remnants of the "Montauk Project", were some fringe science project may have been developed? But time was too short for this endeavor, at least this time.
In my mind I couldn't help thinking maybe NY is famous for being famous?
Everywhere you see these T-shirts " I love New York"
Maybe it is just one of the world's best marketing campaigns?
What about the people? I guess there is a great mix of attitudes, some seem totally bored of their occupation, some policemen looked more dangerous than most people, but maybe that is a tactic to prevent crime. Other people were extremely helpful and open to new contacts.
DR Some advice for climbing Pico Duarte; Water, drink plenty of water, the spring water is freely available at many places along the trail. Water is also good for keeping yourself cool if you wear a cap you can soak it in water several times. Even though I don't often promote sport drinks, for a really hot day, I think something like "Poweraid" could be very beneficial and refreshing, helping you to keep the spirit up and the electrolytes in balance.
Sunglasses were not so useful since the sun was almost in zenith, but it wasn't a problem. To bring you own snack bars could be a good advice, something substantial with protein, sugar and salt would be good, maybe "Snickers".
Good rain protection can be important since the mountain rain can be a lot cooler and it can also rain for a very long time. A good raincoat or even a rash guard 3 mm if you want to try something different/;)
Do I even need to mention good footwear, that is up for the challenge?
I guess I had to find out the hard way that tropical rains can be very cool. If I had known that before I would have brought my 3 mm rash guard that was in my bag, back at the ranch. It would have been perfect for these conditions + an extra battery for my camera. The ironic thing is that it would probably been a better option to walk the last part of the trail, since that would generate more body heat to keep me warm, instead of just sitting still on a mule.
Curiosa: This is the only country where I have seen or smelled perfumed toilet paper.
The really ironic thing with living at Oasis Canoa was that we paid 70 dollars per person and night with all inclusive (food and drinks) on a four star resort. So it actually meant that it was cheaper for us to stay there then travel around living on crappy hotels and eating crappy food to keep a decent budget. That was a real eye opener.
It is a very green and lush country, but too bad they don't seem to take care of it, it is a very bad infra structure and a lot of garbage everywhere. Some people said that the politicians are very corrupt and try to get as much money as possible. I also start to wonder were all the money from all the resorts goes? Does it stay in the country and benefit the people or is it funneled abroad to foreign investors?
I guess one of the good thing about DR is that the people have very good social intelligence. It's easy to talk to almost anyone at least if you can speak Spanish. I think they realize that they need good relations to survive like a social security network. It's almost opposite in my home country were most people don't speak to anyone unless they have to.
My picture of a paradise is starting to fade, there always seem to be a mix of both good and bad wherever I travel.
Never ever did I feel threatened in any way when I travelled around in the DR, it felt safe all the time.
Camera Finepix XP10 (I thought this camera would be a good choice, it was waterproof and simple, but
the quality of the photos and videos wasn't impressive. I felt very disappointed since I wanted to
make some decent video clips). I think my Vivaz phone would make better videos but it isn't
water proof so I seldom brought it with me.
Costs Flight 7980, SE+DN Train 350, NY Hotel 2490, NY Extra 1635, DR Kiting 2650, DR Pico Duarte 2677, DR Adventures 3925, DR Resort 2106 (4 days), DR Extra 5813
Total Cost 29626 SEK
If you want to see the video version look here: