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Published: August 6th 2007
25-27 May 2007
The sun crept up over the mountains and caught us napping. We were onboard the Caribe Tours bus on the three-and-a-half hour ride back from Barahona to SDQ from where we would connect to Boca Chica. A few minutes ago, a suspicious bus driver had demanded to see Vibert's passport thinking, of course, that he was a Haitian. There is a slight undercurrent between Dominicanos and Haitians. Shanna sharply told the driver that it was not necessary and Vibert quickly relinquished his "Haitiano" status.
Back in SDQ we wrangled, pretty efficient this time, and lowered the taxi fare from 1000 pesos to 600. The bus didn't do the Boca Chica run and we were too tired to gua-gua. The coast was scenic as we sped past the airport on to what would be our final stop in this race around the Dominican Republic.
Boca Chica, which lies 30km east of the capital, is a popular destination for both international and local tourists and travellers. Its only attractions are its beaches and its bay - Bahia de Andres - which still is only a few feet deep after a decent walk out from the shore.
Apart from that, Boca Chica does have significant night life. Pension Pequena Suiza would house us for the final two days and we were pleasantly surprised to find a rather upscale but small restaurant thru which we entered. Our room was gorgeous, a perfect and fitting way to spend our final moments in a gorgeous country. Fan cooled, the room had elegance and style. We stowed our gear, swapped our hiking boots for the tevas, donned our swimwear and made our way to the beach. We were pleased. Although not as clear or turquoise as some of the beaches we had come to know in the Caribbean (say like in St. Maarten, Anguilla, Curacao and Aruba), this beach was a welcome sight. The gentle waters lapped the shoreline its waves broken up by a coral reef further out. The bay looked more like a lake. We staved off the urge to strip and run crazy-like into the water as it was about 12:30 and we were hungry. A round, jovial oldster ushered us to his place on the beach and then showed us the most expensive menu we had seen in 9 days. The food and jugos naturales ended up
costing us 1,100 pesos and it really wasn't that good.
While we were waiting and even while we ate, we observed and experienced a disturbing aspect of Boca Chica: vendors and panhandlers. In the 40+ minutes we spent in the restaurant we were approached (no exaggeration) every three minutes on average by someone wanting to sell us something. We could have bought dvds, cds, chains and bracelets, raw octopus, parboiled octopus, shrimp and unidentifiable (presumably) types of food. Shanna could have had her hair braided and Vibert could have had a massage or a pedicure. At one juncture, three musicians appeared behind us and started singing. They sang two songs and we posed for pictures pleased that we were being so kindly welcomed. it was only when a band member whipped off his hat and shoved it in our faces that we realized that we were being hussled. The guy was audacious enough to shake his hat in objection to the 20 pesos we deposited but Vibert quickly sushed them off
😱 . All in all, we were pretty peeved and put off by this disturbing and incessant practice.
After lunch, we walked the busy streets. It was
like a roadside gallery with artists and artwork, sculptors and sculptures and roadside eateries of varying quality. We watched as young and old artists sat, facing a wall, and deftly decorated canvasses with underwater scenes and abstract art. A little way up the road from our hotel, we saw, live and direct, a cigar factory in full operation. Cigar after cigar was hand-rolled with speed and precision and the workers happily sampled their handiwork. Click on video icon "Smokin" above to watch the video
. The next day was more of the same: swimming, lazing on the beach, eyeing art, interneting and saying a polite and then, sometimes, a not-too-polite "No. Gracias" to the constant wave of certified and uncertified vendors. Later on the second day, we began to see another side of Boca Chica. And when night fell, it was totally confirmed.
They came out of the woodwork: men looking for women and women looking for men. The demand and supply concept played out in front of our very eyes as Boca's chicas worked for their economics. Groups of men who had obviously taken the ultimate 'boys night out', descended like a plague on the town and still
demand. The chicas were not ashamed to show what they were working with as they appeared in different stages of (un)dress. The customers ranged from youngsters to the wrinkled and it seemed like the age/look of the chosen chica decreased as the wrinkles increased. In our estimation, there seemed to be a collective and organized effort to facilitate the exchange. The main street was barricaded, tables and chairs were arranged in the street, once-decent daytime eateries became hook-up joints and hotels which once overpriced for rooms now had hourly rates. Motoconchos dropped off chicas and ferried customers and the whole town took on the look and feel of a jolly bazaar.
And while watching all of this, it hit us: Boca Chica's beaches and bay, its lively streets and festive atmosphere was all a front. They covered up the nature of Boca Chica: a meeting and marketplace for horny tourists and Boca's chicas.
We bid farewell to Boca Chica on the morning of the 27th. The driver told us 350 pesos but insisted on 400 when we got to the airport. Insel Air was on time and we departed for Curacao and then Aruba with fun memories
of an enchanting country, of energetic people with a passion for music and dance and of two mules and a guy named Pinto. And of a country where the bible and the cross are in the center of the coat of arms and where prostitution is legal. We thought of a country where we met only the nicest people even though we were warned of the dangers, a place where the highest heights can be conquered in two days and where the strength and determination of man and woman can be severely tested. A place where smiles were genuine and easy and where motorbikes rule and where the heat of the sun only fuelled the passions of the natives.
The Dominican Republic and its people opened up and welcomed us and we will be eternally grateful. God bless you all!😊
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