Friday, May 30, 2008

A Three Hour Tour... what the advertisement had said. I met the skipper, he was a mighty sailing man, at the beach bar last night. He owned a small motorboat and often provided tours of the area during the off-season. "Big companies no work now, no mucho touristas" he had said.

The next morning I was excited about my adventure. I was curious why none of the other few guests were going. But the vessel was indeed small.

Then, imagine my surprise when the ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted, deserted isle. I checked my watch, only 30 minutes had passed. So why does the tour take 3 hours...?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I've been waiting for this news to be official. Construction seems to have moved slowly, but at last...
The Ministry of Public Works says the speedway to Samana from Santo Domingo will be open to the general public as of 1 June. The highway reduces the time to get to Samana to 1.5 hour. The highway starts about ten minutes from Santo Domingo or Las Americas International Airport.

So, if you've wanted to travel outside of SD for a day trip or convenient overnight stay, now Samana is another option. I'm looking forward to it!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

AA Baggage Fees

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- American Airlines said Wednesday it plans to charge passengers $15 for the first checked bag, cut domestic flights and eliminate possibly thousands of jobs, as it grapples with record-high fuel prices.

Chairman and Chief Executive Gerard J. Arpey said the fee for the first checked bag starts June 15 and that it would raise other fees for services ranging from reservation help to oversized bags. The other fees will mostly range from $5 to $50 per service, the airline said.

Last month American announced it would join other carriers in charging $25 for second bags checked for some passengers, but it wasn't immediately clear how Wednesday's announcement would affect that.

Its proposed fee for a first checked bag would exempt people who belong to elite levels of its frequent flyer programs, those who bought full-fare tickets and those traveling overseas.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Leonel Wins!!!

The incumbent president of the DR, Leonel Fernandez, won Fridays election by 53% of the votes. He has certainly been no stranger to scandal and accusations of impropriety. What president hasn't? (of any country)

Sources are crediting him with increasing both domestic and foreign investments, improving an economy that was in dire straits when he took office after the Mejia administration.

The realization of the Metro system, and it's popularity, has helped keep Fernandez with high ratings in recent polls.

Now, about those incessant blackouts...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The Bimini Islands are just about 50 miles east of Miami. The two main islands, North and South Bimini, and then a string of islets. The islands are considered the out islands of the Bahamas. They are remote, but full of history.

You will find Ponce de Leons Fountain Of Youth and the Bimini steps, supposedly a remnant of the lost Atlantis. Most beaches are on the west side of North Bimini, Radio beach being most popular.

The islands do offer variety; deep sea fishing, yachting, scuba and snorkeling. But it is best known as a relaxation destination. This is where Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man And The Sea.

The main settlement is Alice Town, a collection of shops, restaurants and bars surrounding a single road known as "The Kings Highway."

Getting there: one must fly to Nassau, then take a connecting flight. There are several scheduled flights from Nassau, or you may charter a flight. (Info here.) There are resorts and villas, but the area maintains a quaint feel where chickens still cross the road. The Anchorage and Bimini Ocean Villas are on North Bimini, while The Bimini Sands Resort is on South Bimini.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Dancing Favorite

Mario has always been one of my favorite celebs. He always seems so humble and so gracious. He worked very hard on Dancing With The Stars. Even though he was cut this week he will still be my favorite. He is American, but he deserves at least an honorable mention for the way he does those latin dances!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Get On The Bus

As anyone who has ever been to the New York Port Authority Terminal in New York City at 42nd Street and 10th Avenue knows, there is a lot of business to be done at a bus stop. This is also the case in the Dominican Republic, although to a less grandiose scale. This is especially true at bus stops around the intersections of Duarte, Paris, Ravelo and Jose Marti streets in downtown Santo Domingo.

All around the bus stops, small businesses provide services for passengers and everything from candy to haircuts are on hand, so that nobody travels without "something for the folks" or a nice haircut. Food is prominent among the offerings, with fried, artery-clogging salamis, meat and plantains on the one hand, and crackers and cheese for the less hungry. Diet-conscious travelers can get fruits of many different kinds. These informal businesses, including the ever-present shoeshine boys who can earn as much as RD$500 a day, represent at least 50% of all business done in the Dominican Republic and employ 55% of all workers.

According to Listin Diario, many of the businesses at the bus stop on Duarte and Paris streets have been there for more than a decade, and they protect their space with an informal organization that recognizes each person's patch and type of business. This vibrant activity is what gives "life" to what is otherwise just an ordinary bus stop.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Amigo 10

This is Timmy, who lives in Jamaica. Very friendly guy. Look closely, you may recognize him from photosets that appear on the internet.

Friday, May 02, 2008