Las Galeras

Published: June 28th 2019
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Wednesday June 26 - I didn’t sleep great, but I definitely slept more than last night. It was hot, despite two fans. But at some point, the power went out and then the fans stopped. Not an emergency, but not as pleasant as it could have been. I actually drank a lot of water yesterday and had to wake up twice to pee, despite the sweating. The first time I woke up with a headache, and the second time I still had it so I took an advil, which did not do the job. I had the headache for most of the day but it did go in the end.

I got out of bed around 6am and decided I would take the 8am bus with Caribe Tours to get to Samana rather than the 10am. This meant my host did not have time to make me breakfast, but she did make a little toasty cheese sandwich for me. She talked and talked while I ate it. I think I understand at least half of what she says, but I haven’t used my Spanish in so long and there are definitely gaps. The worse is when I want to say something but can only think of the words in German, which is ridiculous since I can barely form a German sentence and I can actually make sentences in Spanish. She called me a $3 taxi to the bus station and I got there about 20 minutes early. I bought a ticket and waited in line. The guy in line ahead of me was a 26 year old from Florida. He was with his parents who were sending him on the bus to see family. We talked a little but sat separately on the bus, and then he just told me when he arrived and walked away while a bunch of guys were trying to motorcycle me to the next bus I needed. Thanks dude. Anyway, the first bus was a real bus with a/c, but it was so cold I had to put my fleece on. So here it’s either so so hot you’re dying or so so cold you’re dying. I spent the three hours mostly reading.

In Samana, I had to find a minibus that went the final hour to Las Galeras, where I would be staying for two nights. It would not have been a long walk to the minibus, but one of the guys who had offered to drive me to the bus saw it passing by, so he called me over and flagged down the bus. Very nice. That bus was more what I’m used to on trips like this - as many people shoved in a minibus as possible with as many bags as possible, door open the whole way for regular stops and natural a/c. It took about an hour and I was the last to get out, practically at the beach. It didn’t take me too long to find Le BDM, which is a creperie restaurant and guest house. The room is very basic, with only one fan, sadly, but has its own bathroom, which is nice. I unpacked a little, then paid and asked some questions. The place is run by a woman from Paris who speaks English and another from Russia who does not. The Russian and I spoke in Spanish when she was helping me and then they offered me a lift to the beach with them. Five minutes later I hopped in between them on the motorbike in a Jenn sandwich. Five minutes after that I was sitting with two topless chicks, the only ones on the whole beach. I went for a walk to take some pictures, and obviously because I don’t know how to relax, but eventually I spread out my sarong and laid down to read. By this time the womrn also had some friends with them, so we all sat together, which was nice. I went in the water once and read for about three hours. At some point, I felt something fall onto my bathing suit and it was a bee. I decided to leave it - it’s not like it would sting me just for being there. Eventually it tumbled off me and looked like it was having some trouble on my sarong. I noticed it was too still for too long. I realize it fell on me because it was dying. Sad. I appreciate your service bee. Thanks for all the pollinating you did.

The women left at 4pm and I left at 5pm. I walked back and I’m not sure I went exactly the right way they told me, but I did make it back. I stopped at a small local place for dinner on the way back. I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, and I wasn’t actually hungry - due to the heat or the millions of pizza slices I consumed yesterday? Sadly we’ll never know. But it seemed like a good idea to eat something anyway. It was fried chicken and beans and rice and it was huge and cost $4. My kind of place.

Back at my room I showered and then started sweating again. It must be a national pastime. I went into the garden outside the room to use the internet, but the mosquitoes were plentiful and trying to fill me with Zika, so I went back to my room and chatted with my mom and sister a bit.

Final thought of the day - Why is my bed covered with dead ants?

Thursday June 27 - First thought of the day - Why is my bed covered with dead ants again? I don’t think the jetlag is gone, but I was able to sleep longer last night. I went to bed after 10pm and didn’t get out of bed until 8am. Quite the improvement. I slept with the fan on full blast and didn’t even consider getting under a sheet. It’s a travesty that it’s warmer in my room than it is outside in the night/evening, but there are too many mosquitoes to make it worthwhile to open the door in the evening.

Once I was up, I was full of indecision of how to spend my time today. I originally thought I would go back to the same nearby beach and be a beach bum there. Then I chatted with Gabe and he made some cool daytrip suggestions that I wish I’d found earlier. The one that interested me most was to a national park, but it was too late to get the tour or whatever that was going there. There was another option to a waterfall, but I decided instead to go to another beach in the area that was supposed to be very beautiful, called Rincon. I had to hire a guy with a moped for the day. It cost about $16 and it took 30 minutes for us to get there. Just before that though, I went for a walk in town. I bought some seasickness meds for some of the ferry rides I will take this summer. I remember the ferry last year and how sick I was on the one without meds, and I figured the meds would be cheap and plentiful here, and they are. Now I can ride 10 boats and the price of not getting sick on all of them? $2. Bargain-basement. Then I stopped at the bank to change $20 (it feels way more impressive when it becomes 1000 pesos) and the supermarket, as I was hungry for the first time since the pizza, but there was nothing I wanted, so I stopped at a little French snack shop and got a ham and cheese baguette sandwich to eat on the beach.

Once we made it the beach, I wanted to walk so he walked me over around the corner to another beach, where I talked to a couple who had kayaked there with a guide. It was nice to speak a little English. We even saw a manatee, which was cool. Then I walked a lot of the Rincon beach alone, settling at first quite far from the beach chairs and where everyone else hung out. I found one of very few places in the shade under a tree and sat down with my sarong, ate my sandwich and read my book for a while. Eventually I wanted to swim, but the place where I was did not have great swimming, so I walked back to the people area and found a place near the beach chairs under another bigger tree. I put on some more sunscreen and then went in the water for a while. The rest of the afternoon was spent reading or swimming until my driver reminded me it was 4:15 and this is when people started to leave. I told him I needed 15 more minutes and then we were out of there. Another breezy 30 minutes on the bike and we were back.

I showered, tried to scrub off the sunscreen residue and realized I had a bit of a burn in places. Nothing bad but I have to get better at getting all the places. This after I saw a pink guy on the beach and felt bad for him. I went back to Rossy’s for dinner and had the same chicken, rice, and beans, but this time with a juice. Now I’m feeling quite full and gross again. Breakfast and dinner yesterday made sense. Lunch and dinner as my meals today did not. It’s hard to be hungry in temps like these. Tomorrow I leave and head for a new adventure, but the timing is uncertain. Hopefully it all works out beautifully.

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