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Published: August 6th 2007
Made six different sounds for each movement
The "salvia" had worked again but only half-way this time. Vibert awoke with pain in his right thigh and left calf. He walked like a wounded duck. Shanna was, for the most part, just fine. We had slept deeply on a singing bed, the Pico Duarte adventure behind us. And there was no mistaking where we were as the incessant roar of motorcycle engines indicated that Jarabacoa was already awake. And as much as we liked Jarabacoa, we instantly missed the absolute quiet and peace of the mountains.
Breakfast was disappointing. We had opted for hot tea and cheese-and-vegetable pastelitos (or pasteches, similar construction like johnny cakes or bakes only tougher and sealed with the veges and cheese inside). Ours were way too oily. We ate what we could and then filled the space with jugos naturales.
We walked, bags on our backs, down to the bus station to check the schedules. Santiago, the second largest city, would be our next stop but we still wanted to see Salto de Jimenoa and Jimenoa Uno. At the bus depot, Hugo was there hawking for unsuspecting tourists to punish in the mountains. We greeted each other warmly. There seemed to be
that bond that forms between survivors
"You guys really wanna go to Salto de Jimenoa? I take you there", Hugo said.
"Only if we can fly, cause I can´t walk anymore", said Duck Walk.
"Nah, is really close. I drive you to the entrance. Is short distance. Ten minute".
Now we got worried cause Hugo had this habit of calculating distance based on his speed. The way to adjust to "normal" time is to take Hugo´s time + 25. So anyway, being suckers for punishment in the name of adventure, we left our bags at the bus depot, climbed on the bike, grabbed lunch and jugos naturales to eat at the top (you´re going to hear a lot about jugos naturales) and roared out of town. The scenery was more of the same but we would never get tired of it. After about 15 minutes we stopped in a dirt parking lot. The entry fee was 20 pesos and we started walking. The river water was a dirty, muddy color and Hugo quickly explained that it was because the hydro plant had just released its tank water. We immediately hit on interesting suspension bridges over huge rocks and
With the singing bed
water and the monumental cliffs provided an excellent backdrop.
In ten minutes, just as Hugo had said, we arrived at the more popular Salto de Jimenoa and we were disappointed. It was not that the falls and the surroundings were not picturesque but rather that the falls had the same chocolate, mud color and was not flowing with the force we had expected. Hugo again explained that the hydro plant was controlling the flow. Five minutes and a few pictures later, we were ready to leave. "Now we go to the top. You know that movie, Jurassic Park, was film there? We call this one the hydro one and the other one (pronounced "wang"), the movie "wang". And with that, plastics bags of food in hand, Hugo disappeared up the muddiest, steepest hillside.
Duck Walk whined as he started up another mountainside: "There goes my plan for a relaxed day". We straddled whines and grabbed branches for support as we laboured upwards. At one point, we were directly above the hydro "wang" and when we rounded a corner - there it was, the "movie wang". Jimenoa Uno was thundering through a hole in the rocks sending sprays of
chocolate flying when it hit the chocolate pool below. We took in the sight, speculated about the water level, took a few pictures and then had a great meal at the foot of a giant.
On our way back to town, the bike died from an apparent lack of fuel. Hugo surmised that someone had drained his tank while we were in the mountains. He pushed and we walked for a few and then someone offered us a bottle. It was a rather unique exchange and we felt rather tickled to be able to witness it.
Back at the bus station we bought tickets to La Vega from where we would transfer to Santiago - our next destination. We had never visited La Vega or its station although we had passed it on our way to Jarabacoa. We sat almost at the back of the bus and after 30 minutes driving the bus slowed and Vibert glimpsed a La Vega sign. Through the window, we sat a dilapidated building and a few ancient gua-guas (mini buses) under a tree. The bus slowed, reversed, righted itself and then headed back on the road. It never stopped. Nobody moved. Nobody
complained. And neither did we. "Must be going to the "real" stop now", Shanna opined.
After another 15 minutes of driving, the scenery began to look familiar. "Hey Shan, what if that was the stop and we miss it cause this looks like if we goin back to Santo Domingo", said Vibert. "Nooooooooooo, can´t be!" But her face said otherwise. So we tapped the guy in front of us and asked him¨"Donde esta el estacion de La Vega?" He pointed backwards. "Que es la proxima parada?", we persisted. "Santo Domingo"
. We had done it
-missed the stop and now we were stuck for the hour-and-a-half ride back to SDQ and it would be dark when we got there. Plus, we really really didn´t want to spend another night there. The gentleman told us that if we spoke to the driver that we might stop and we could get a gua-gua back. Shanna tried but the driver refused and so back to SDQ we went.
At the terminal, with our boo boo behind us, we bought tickets to Santiago, called Hostal del Cibao to reserve a room, boarded the 8pm bus and started the two-and-a-half hour journey back to
First suspension bridge
Santiago via (you guessed it) LA VEGA!!!
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