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24.12.05

Over the River and Through the River

Ionarts globe-trotting correspondent Mark Barry continues his visit to the Dominican Republic.

suzukiOver the river and through the river we go. Never ones for the road well traveled, we left Monte Cristi and headed east to the resort area of Puerto Plata, the back way. Three hours of rocky potholed roads and often no road. Over the mountains through plantations and beautiful small villages with brightly painted houses and chapels. Pig roasting on the side of the road over fire pits and goats being skinned for Christmas dinner. Not wild about eating goat, but the pig sure smelled great.

After a few hours of driving on some pretty hairy roads, thank you little Suzuki SUV, we came to the end of the road, literally. It ended at a river bank. A small improvised ferry takes mopeds over but not cars. No turning back, it’s late in the day. A big burly guy on horseback with the biggest machete I’ve ever seen pointed us down river, we followed. He took his horse into the river and motioned to me to drive in, pointing out the shallow path along the way. My girls have never been more quiet. Slipping and sliding on the rocky bottom we drove thru 2 to 3 feet of water for about 50 yards. After landing on the other shore I got out and profusely thanked the burly man and gave him a big tip. We still had many miles of mud and ruts to go but the river was the adventure of the day.

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