Page 33: - Dominican Republic Again - Tropical Adventure /w Pics - From the beginning
The Border with Haiti
Up before the roosters, what is up with that? My body is physically toasted from yesterday's ride, Sleep should come easy. Maybe it's like overtraining where you have trouble sleeping, I'm sure! Or maybe it's the excitement of today's ride, or the apprehension, 'I need to be on my toes today', 'I need to navigate well'. Thinking about what to do if I have a flat tire, I should be more prepared with an air pump and a patch kit. If the tire goes flat in an isolated area today, the tire will be filled with towels, socks, T shirts, leaves or grass, not air. A flat is not the main concern, its that the bike keeps running. If the bike quits, the only option will be to push it, downhill, whichever way that may be.
I miss the trailhead turnoff and end up in some small village. A good thing, I pickup three loafs of bread and two more bottles of water, more emergency supplies incase a long hike or push is necessary. I must be prepared at all times. Anyway, there is only one turnoff outside of Descubierta so that must have been my trail I missed.
The trail is steep leading high above the lake behind me.
There are stunning views of rugged tropical terrain
The road is steep but nothing like what I rode yesterday, not bad, not good.
There are a few homes along the trail and people are walking with donkeys. The road is carved into the side of the mountain and at times, the mountainside facing the mountain is covered with flowers.
A guidebook talks about one type of bell shaped flower, yellow with blue strips. It says the Taino Indians use to make a strong hallucinate tea from the flower. Reports are that there is still religious (and recreational) use of the tea today, although it is highly illegal. The bell shaped flowers are everywhere on this stretch of trail.
On a steep section of road, A motorcycle passes me riding 2-up. I stop to take some pictures and they stop to stay hello. The driver is weaing a small tight black leather jacket and a helmet. The passenger is wearing a T-shirt and baseball cap. They look out of place here for some reason.
Riding through the center of a small village is a small counter outside at a rustic colmado. Standing at the counter are the two bikers. They are fun to talk with. They just rode up here for the day, the boy on the back is originally from this village and the driver is from a town on the lake. The driver shows me his ID badge to prove he is Dominican. Not sure what that is about, maybe he is a spy, maybe CIA. He knows too much about Wisconsin. I consider everyone a spy and up to no good until proven different. I have fun with that and it serves a purpose. I study everyone I come across well, I want to know what his or her deal is ASAP. There are bad people everywhere, I want to know if I am close.
Standing at the counter, this is the hub of the town.
While drinking a coke at the colmado, a kid from the village walks over and tries striking up a conversation with me in English. He struggles with English but he was having fun. He asks me
“Are you going into Haiti?”
“Where are you from?”
“That is Haiti right over there” pointing across the valley.
He is from Haiti, he told me while he makes me feel at home here in this micro border village. The center of town seems to be this fifteen foot counter I'm standign at.
The two guys on motorcycle are eating a plate of sliced sausage, cheese and yucca the colmado served up. They tell me that this is as far as they go. They are surprised to hear my plane to ride further up. I'm not sure why and wonder what they are really doing up here. The atmosphere in this isolated village is true Wild Wild West. It is for sure the most primitive village ever for me, to hung-out at. Buildings all looked like they are just thrown together with whatever material they could get a hold of. One small home is made of what looked like metal strips from large tin cans. One person inside the front door of a brick home with a sturdy tin roof motioned for me to take a photo. He states that it is a “buen casa” (good house). I agree and tell him so.
At the end of another building, there are five or six people huddling around a pile of stones with a fire in the middle. They are starting to cook something and look as comfortable as if they are in the middle of their living room, they probably are. They give me nothing but smiles. This was an enjoyable stop for sure, a rest, a coke and a small talk with the locals. This is living to me, feeling the pulse of the culture and the scene from up close.
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