Here are a few photos of the Dominican Republic - Heidi and Tom – 1995’ - 1997'
Two years living on the beach, windsurfing, lifting weights and adventure traveling round the Island by motorcycle.
On our first date, Heidi told me I was not the man for her. She said she wanted someone that would take her to live on an island! I said "you stick with me for a few years baby and I'll sail you to an island" Well, she stuck with me and in 1995 we both quit our jobs, sold our house and sailboat, rolled out some 401K, packed two backpacks and took off for the Dominican Republic.
Before boarding the plane bound for the Dominican Republic we only had reservations for one night. Hotel El Paraiso, in the heart of the tourest village Sosua and all the action. I mean that in more ways than one!
The next morning I negotiated for a long term stay. I start out by asking the price for 1 week. I follow that by asking the price for 1 month. I end with asking the price for 3 months if we paid cash in advance. This worked well. We received a huge price break for a 3 month stay. $600 per month, full kitchen, pool, with a big patio.
We planned on staying for two years so for sure the first task after securing a place to live was to buy a used motorcycle. There were motorcycle rental shops all over. The first week I test drove several. I started learning Spanish on the plane ride over and no one speaks English here. Heidi and I would study our Spanish books and create cheat sheets for me to use while looking to buy the motorcycle. Wow, what an adventure.
I pick out a Yamaha DT125 enduro. It had a few scrapes and bent parts but it popped a wheelie with ease and felt strong. $1500 and we are set to explore the island.
The village of Cabarete beach is 7 miles away from Sosua. It quickly became our favorite destination for a day outing on the motorcycle. We knew we had to move here next.
Tropic Breeze, right on the beach in the village of Cabarete, Dominican Republic. This is the second place we stayed. We found it by just walking along the beach one day.
View from patio, Cabarete bay.
Cabarete bay. Rated as the 3rd best windsurfing spot in the world.
We felt we could have lived here forever. In fact we talked about buying it when we found out it was for sale. Well.... two months later the place sold and we had to move out. Bummer :(
We found an even better place, La Punta, but had to wait a month for an available apartment.
We stayed here, at Caribe Surf, until our place was ready at La Punta. Hot plate and cooler was all we had here.
View of the hood.
We fell in love with the beach village, Cabarete. This is where we lived the last year, La Punta Apartamentos, $500 US / month with maids 6 days a week, a pool and right on the beach. We had to agree to stay at least a year for that price (dirty job). Only a block from the world famous windsurfing beach.
Our room, lower left.
La Punta Bach
Top notch health club in Sosua, Golden Park Gym, about 7 miles from Cabarete. The wind usually didn't come up until about 2:00 PM so hitting the Gym sometime before noon was perfect.
Heidi and I made many friends at Golden Park and got in the best shape of our lives. We liked to think of the gym as our fictitious 5 day a week job, complete with vacations, holidays and days I just call in.
Heidi and I liked to take overnight motorcycle trips to different parts of the island. This photo is from a motorcycle Trip to Samana Bay, the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic.
Tour boat trying to get off the reef, Samana Bay, Dominican Republic
Exploring the mountains near Cabarete Beach. The ranches up here have no electricity.
I was out dirt biking in the jungle and I got caught in a downpour. This village had a banana leaf shelter on the road so I hung out with a bunch of others. The woman in the photo is raking the village garbage heap into the rushing stream to get rid of it. What a culture shock!
Marketplace in Samana, Republica Dominicana.
Exploring the beaches on the bike.
Heidi stopping to shop while we're exploring the island.
I painted the bike yellow and black after we had it stolen by the police then had to buy the motorcycle back from them! This was an unreal adventure. It took over two weeks and three trips with various police officials to a village 30 miles up the coast. Each time I needed to pay out. The final trip required three separate envelopes filled with cash. I could go on and on but I got the bike back for less than half of what I paid for it. We thought the yellow was more unique than the original red and less likely to be stolen again. Plus we had a huge chain and lock.
Public transportation (gua gua). Heid is in the bottom right hand corner. The goal is to get as many people in the mini van as possible!
That's Heidi's helmet on the left. She's telling me to get the H out of there! On the right is our favorite food stand where we would get a full course traditional Dominican dinner and a cerveza for $2.50
Hitting the discos in Santo Domingo, over a 5 hour bus ride from Cabarete beach. This was on Valentine's Day. I picked out Heidi's outfit downtown at the biggest mall in the Caribbean. Santo Domingo is over a million in population and you can find almost anything.
We took a taxi to Tops disco on the top floor of the tallest buildings in town. When we pulled up to the disco there was a long line of people waiting to get in. When the door opened and Heidi got out of the taxi, the line into the disco was like the parting of the red sea, is was like we were expected to walk right up to the front of the line and go in (which we did). Not too many blue eyed blonds in Santo Domingo :)
Cabarete Beach, Republica Dominicana. All the windsurf rental shops had great used gear for sale. We bought used rigs and made good friends with the rental shop owners and workers.
Enjoying a day on the beach.
On the malecon in Puerto Plata. A town 23 miles from Cabarete beach. Another of our favorite day or overnight destinations. The malecon always had lots of food vendors and music...Fun!
We liked to get a room at a little sleazy place right on the end of the malecon, $11 US a night. It had good secure parking for our motorcycle and we were within walking distance from all the action.
Our favorite place for breakfast in Puerto Plata was Sam's. We could always count on meeting someone interesting there!
New Wave, an open air bar on the beach in Cabarete. We met people from all over the world here and made many good friends.
Dominican kids playing baseball on the beach. They used a palm branch for the bat, a bottle cap from a big jug for the ball and a piece of cardboard with a slit in it for the catchers mitt.
Encuentro, This is the wave surfing beach 2 miles out of town from Cabarete. Every year there is a freestyle windsurfing competition here. A lot of fun, with live music and food on the beach.
Encuentro beach compition with some good friends we meet who are from Canada. Very interesting and fun people, I could fill chapters.
Our good friends Tim and Connie getting married right on Cabarete beach, how great is that!
Collecting shells at the shell beach. The more people we meet the more places we found out about. A trips around the north coast of the island.
Somewhere on the north coast, Dominican Republic
Heidi chilling on an awesome beach we found on the north coast. Good snorkeling.
February 27, Dia Independencia, Dominican Republic Independence Day in Puerto Plata.
There is deep tradition involved in the costumes worn on Dia Independencia.
This has something to do with chasing away Vodo spirits and the darker skinned Haitian’s
Dia Independencia in Puerto Plata. 1996 With some more friends we meet.
Inflated cow intestines used for wacking people on Dia Independencia
Guess who gets wacked!
Hurricane passing by the island. Gave us monster waves!
Hurricane morning after party. The village was a buzz and the waves were washing far up onto the beach. A lot of new palm trees were washed out to sea but not much else, lucky.
People from all over the world stay at La Punta apt.
Rain party inside La Punta.