Page 36: - Dominican Republic Again - Tropical Adventure /w Pics - From the beginning
The Border with Haiti
Another military border outpost where they inform me I need to get a permit to be here. The person explains in detail where to go and whom to talk with to get this permit, always being very friendly, pleasant and helpful. Everything is good. He is surprised to hear about where my ride started today.
Further, down the trail there is an area of road covered in giant blue tarps. Haitians come here with huge sacks of potatoes they grow and sell them to someone who eventually comes up here with a truck. There is one military person here from the Dominican Republic, there are maybe a dozen Haitians hanging out in the shade with their potatoes.
They all seem to freak out a little when I ask in Spanish if it's OK to take a photo, but then the military person translated to them in Creole that the photo is just for fun, nothing official, they light up. After a couple shots, everyone enjoys looking at their images on the camera.
The trail continues to be rugged and steep. There is a young couple walking with a donkey loaded with firewood.
After saying hi I ask for a photo. The young girl is into it, trying to make a good pose, her tattered and torn t-shirt is no hindrance. After looking at the image I remark how beautiful she is. They are both beaming with friendliness while lookig at the image.
Stopping and chatting with people out on the trail is a huge pleasure and most times I cannot spoil the moment by whipping out my camera.
Finally the bottom of the mountain and a hard packed road with a small village, This village is on my map so my location is known, and thats a good feeling after an all day ride.
The person at the first official building gladly takes my 50 pesos in exchange for a park permit.
He is also happy to get his photo taken.
I continue along the border until the start of the carretera internacional (international road). Again its a problem with my photocopy passport. Maybe this is an extra precaution because of the cholera outbreak, or just standard practice because this section of the trail runs into Haiti. No big deal, I did over 90 percent of the border, good enough, this was expected.
Doing a U-turn signals the end of this ride. My body is screaming from fatigue, my ass is raw but I am heading for home, triggering a new burst of adrenaline, and that feels good.
Today is Dia Independencia, Independence Day of the Dominican Republic, their independence from Haiti. Some villages have large celebrations and blocked off streets while others seem like ghost towns, probably because everyone is at the celebration village.
Roadblock after roadblock pop up with children asking for donations for some good cause. The girls have a ball having their photos taken and looking at the images. Once I handed the camera over so they could look, I thought the camera was going to be torn to shreds form the girls grabbing it from each other.
There are bands of roaming teenagers dressed in costumes wearing ghostly masks and cracking bullwhips. The masks have significance in the history of the celebration and in a way represent the conflict between the Dominican Republic and Haitian voodoo spirits.
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