Travel Through Dominican Republic on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Dominican Republic on a Harley (24/4/03 - 29/4/03)
Distance 632 km (327668 km to 328300 km)

This is part of the ninth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from  Haiti or read our previous visit to Dominican Republic

24/4/03 Government officials at the border rarely wear a uniform and the touts imitate them effectively, demanding to see documentation and initially requesting $US 20.00 each for a tourist card. Eventually the correct $US 10.00 each was paid but as the touts or agents of the authority are allowed to wonder freely into immigration and customs offices we left not knowing if they were really government employees or just touts working for themselves. They were aggressive and even abusive and if this was your initial entry point to the country they give a bad impression, unlike the warm friendly reception we received arriving by the ferry to Santo Domingo.

25/4/03 We had stayed again in Jimani and Jimbo was reunited with his 125 Yamaha. Headed out along the north shore of Lake Enriquilla where limestone mountain fed springs bubble up as clear water channelled into swimming pools and later used for irrigation. It was at one of these many springs that boats depart to see the American crocodiles on an island in the middle of the lake. Although we did not take the boat we managed to see many of the large land iguana that the operators feed. Back to Friday night drinks at the H-D shop to report on our two weeks rapid island tour including the visit to Haiti. They reported we had been featured in the newspaper with the local Harley Club and we bid farewell to everyone.

26/4/03 Still travelling, back to Luperon.Friendly land iguana We were expecting an email from the captain of the "Monsoon" but there was none. Now we don't know if he has left Puerto Rico or not, not having heard from him in the last ten days. We are expecting him on the 28th with that date supposedly to be confirmed by email.

27/4/03 Spent most of the day relaxing and answering the journalist's fourth article questions for the Hog Tales magazine, and email interview. Still no email from the Captain of the "Monsoon" and unsure what to do if he doesn't turn up. A local restaurant having seen the newspaper article, one photo was from outside his shop, invited us for breakfast and Enrique Garcia, our initial HOG contact, dropped by, inviting us out for a farewell drink with promises to meet in Milwaukee.

28/4/03 "Monsoon" came into harbour about noon. Apparently the captain had also had problems with the Puerto Rican customs and needed to leave before being able to send us an email. Despite being told by US Customs officials, when the boat arrived in the US Virgin Islands, that we did not again need to check into Puerto Rico the Puerto Rican Customs were not happy with that system. We were just pleased to see him and started provisioning for the next two weeks on the boat.Yet another loading of the motorcycle

29/4/03 Sometimes our trip seems to be nothing but beaurocracy and organization. After a while you almost dread going to another country not knowing what to expect from the officials. Particularly if you will only be there for a few days. It took from 9 am till 4 pm to get all the paperwork to leave the DR. Apparently we required an export paper for the motorcycle only available from the port of entry, Santo Domingo, 500 km round trip. The customs officers were again extremely helpful, and after three phone calls, we were advised,  they may be able to issue one in Puerto Plata, the head of this regions customs, only 50 km's away. Two hours and a telephone approval from Santo Domingo, and we had the appropriate letter. Immigration took another hour, and with the boat alongside the wharf we waited a further 30 minutes for the Chief of Police to arrive to approve our final departure, but not before he had requested a $US 10.00 bribe from the captain. Police often being the worst officials in corruption. Normally there would have been no hurry to depart but the captain had taken on board two of his friends in Puerto Rico who have tight time constraints to fly out of Jamaica. We were also unimpressed that the cabin we had been using had been given to them and we were moved to a much smaller less comfortable cabin in the bow.

Move with us to The Bahamas .


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