Edit Blog Post
Published: August 6th 2007
From our insel Air window, SDQ looked green, flat and sparsely populated. Rusty zink sheets covered the roofs of the homes in the shanty town which lie along the flight path. The approach was turbulent but the landing was good and the passengers broke into applause. It was 2.16 pm. Bienveniedos a SDQ.
We spent the night before at Tante Ligia who graciously offered us to share her house since we had neither furniture nor house. We slept fitfully at 2 am, woke at 6.15, left some baghs and instructions for Panic (who is camping at a pet resort until our return) with Eve and got to the airport on time. To see us off were Rose, her son Shaquille, Gera, Eve (all good friends) and Shanna´s oma (grandmother). The flight took us thru St. Maarten and then on to SDQ, an impressive airport and a loooooong wait for our luggage.
A word of advice: never change money in an airport
. The exchange rate sucks. Oh, and another word: pay attention in spanish class
. The taxi from the airport to the hotel should have cost USD 25. We ended up paying Felix, the taxi man, USD 35 because
Two 4 de raod
Everything for 8 months
we couldn´t argue effectively in spanish and a tout demanded a dollar for pointing out the very visible taxi stand. Exiting the airport almost feels Puerto Rico'ish with fast traffic, elections billboards and green directional signs. We were headed for the Zona Colonial and Hotel Independencia: Lonely Planets top pick for budget accommodations.
Crossing the river Ozama (with a "z") brought us alongside the towering 16th century walls of the Zona Colonial. Felix kept driving right past the nicest looking structures and on into the seedy cluttered section and it was there, at the noisy junction Arzobispo and Estrelleta, that we found our "home" Hotel Independencia. The minus five'star
residence is best described by its characteristics: shady entrance, compartmental rooms (the window of one bedroom looks out into another) and a place where water is switched off in the wee hours of the morning to save cost ... but given the fact that we were justifiably pooped the clean sheets, clean restroom, noisy standing fan and safe environment was a perfect place to rest.
Then we headed out into the sweltering heat and chaos of SDQ. We had brought four bags: two backpacks and two big bags full
of clothes and shoes to give away. Parroquia Pio X, a Catholic church and school, was across the road and Padre Rene was only too happy to accept our "donacion" and wish us God´s blessings. The malecon was a bustling, traffic jameed street on the water and it was there that we visited a travel agent. BAD NEWS folks, it costs too much to fly to Cuba but being the optimists we are, we´ve decided to use the entire two weeks to explore SDQ and its environs and maybe bus over to Haiti.
We spent to rest of the afternoon wandering the streets and orienting ourselves, changing money, getting directions and buying toiletries. Eventually, we did end up walking in the awesome Zona Colonial. The fading light did not allow for spectacular photography but check back soon, we´ll update this blog with more pictures.
Tot: 2.674s; Tpl: 0.055s; cc: 35; qc: 133; dbt: 0.0907s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.7mb