Waiting for bags in Santo Domingo so we can clear customs

Waiting for bags in Santo Domingo so we can clear customs

Thanks to American Airlines, we arrived in Santo Domingo alive with all our bags… (which is more than I can say for past trips to distant lands.)

Picked up our rental car, and we were off!

All bags arrive safe and sound

All bags arrive safe and sound

Renting a car outside the US can be a dramatically different experience.  Even though we rented through Hertz, and we are Gold Members, the process of picking up the car took well over 60 minutes.  There was paper after paper to sign, deposits to be paid, and a full inspection of the little Fiat.

Traffic in Santo Domingo

Traffic in Santo Domingo

Once we finally made it out of the airport, we hit the road.   The airport in Santo Domingo is a bit to the east of the city, and since there is only one highway that goes north south, you have to drive directly through the center of the city before you can hop on to the highway (which is called John F. Kennedy BTW) and head north.

If you want a white knuckled adventure, definitely go for a drive in the Dominican.  The drivers are INSANE.  (but this was a good thing….  so much fun!)

Traffic light count down

Traffic light count down

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The drive north toward Santiago (the capit0l) was pretty damn cool…  Lots to see.

Once out of the city of Santo Domingo, it was about a 2 hour drive.  (Of course no self respecting traveler in the Dominican Republic would miss a stop for a Presidente… the local beer, so the total drive took a bit longer)

Like many of the countries on the planet, gasoline is very expensive.  It is a little over $6.00 per gallon.  Because of this, the majority of the population zoom around on small motorcycles or scooters.  We saw a lot of creativity with respect to what you can haul on a scooter.  Believe it or not, we saw many many people blasting along with full bottles of propane strapped to their death machines.

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We made the trip over the mountains easily and found our way into Santiago.  From there, we hooked up with the Henry (the care taker of the Hacienda,) who guided us on another two hour drive (the last hour on dirt) to our destination.

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We finally arrived just before sunset, and were able to relax a bit (with some Cuba Libres) before we hit the sack.  The location of the Hacienda is very very remote.  There is no power, nor running water around for miles. (the Hacienda runs on solar and wind)

Because of this, the darkness is defining, which resulted in the most amazing planetarium show ever.

What a crazy day! We will be breaking out the cameras tomorrow, so stay tuned…!

Finnally arrived at the Hacienda at sunset.

Finally arrived at the Hacienda at sunset.  Henry raised the Stars and Stripes for our arrival….
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