by Jose Kevo
November 21, 2003
Taking a publico to the turn-off and walking isn't a choice unless you're up for about a 3 km one-way jaunt in the blazing sun. Negotiating a taxi is the only other option for arriving; somewhat confusing since you might find yourself in a beat-up publico van allowed to double for private hire.
From Bayahibe, a driver I knew cut me a deal of RD350 for the one-way trip. I chipped in RD50 as tip. The round-trip cost of RD800/$23 was most I paid for anything during my entire stay! Also consider paying a driver extra to stay and wait. Taxis for departing won't be available; drivers in the parking lot paid to wait for others.
I asked my driver to come back in four hours though I'd seen enough in two. Perhaps because of acquaintance he returned on time, but that's not something you should normally expect or count on.
La Romana's Westbound Gua-Gua ConnectionFor travelers using public transportation to reach Juan Dolio, San Pedro de Macoris, Boca Chica or Santo Domingo, go to the northwest corner of La Romana's central plaza where shuttle buses connect you to the western terminal for RD15. The experience had always been effortless until this last trip and trying it the first time with luggage. I was traveling with a friend; me heading to Boca Chica and he to Santo Domingo. When the shuttle arrived at the main station, passengers immediately rushed off the bus for catching the westbound local or express buses ready to depart. Retrieving our baggage from under the bus amid the chaos, porters immediately rushed in grabbing, confused what belonged to whom, and were attempting to race off to the different departing buses.
What ensued got ugly playing tug-of-war with our bags; shouting in Spanish they had our things mixed up, and I was not the one going to Santo Domingo! To say things quickly erupted intensely is an understatement. I was accused of thinking they were stealing our things when they were only trying to do their jobs, our mixed-up bags were tossed off the express bus, and a supervisor appeared just in time to defuse the entire situation under a cloud of dust after the bus sped off! More and more travelers are using DR's public transportation system, but how does one prepare oneself for this kind of potential experience, especially if you don't speak the language? Just be aware that it can happen and expect any sanity for dealing with the panicked situation to go out the window!
Having our things forever lost was of imminent concern over theft, and I quickly expressed this with an apology and handshake to the young porter before we left on the local line with our luggage.
From journal AZUCA! Sweet Success in the Sugar Capital