A Day of Gauges

I don’t really know where to start. Last night, I had dinner with a fellow American, and North Easterner at that, who was staying at my hostel also. He was doing some exploration to open his own hostel, and we had a lovely dinner and conversation. It was certainly kind of nice to have someone who knows some about where I’m from, so to speak.

Today, I woke up and, as planned, visited the 27 Charcos. Now this was adventure. I left from my hostel, got on a mororconcha (though I thought I’d be able to take a GuaGua (which is the Dominican bus), it didn’t appear to be the case. So I took the motorcancha to the GuaGua station (or one of them), and he dropped me off and I immediately was able to get on a GuaGua going where I needed to go. No problem. I got off at a seriously seemingly random point on the highway and had to walk probably a mile on a dirt road into the entrance of the 27 Charcos. There was a dude on a motorcycle near the top though, and he very nicely brought me down the dirt path hill.

So I get there and there are tons of guides, just standing around. And I went to the desk, decided to do the 12 waterfalls (adventurous, but not the most). I had a guide, and otherwise, it was just me. Just me and Pablo. I had gotten a ziplock bag particularly so that I could bring my phone, because it is my camera, and also because hell if I’m gonna go somewhere alone with absolutely no way of communicating.

So Pablo and I hiked for about 30-40 minutes, up this slippery, insane road, so much mud and going up and up and up. He kept way ahead of me…I don’t know if it was to make me go faster or what, but it was quick. After that, it was all water. And what incredible water it was!! I didn’t jump, because I am not quite that badass. But regardless. I slid down like 4 really scary cascades that were also really awesome. My guide was awesome–taking pictures, not being creepy, etc. There were also some other groups. It was beautiful and I’m so glad I made time for that adventure.

Coming back was quite the adventure all on its own. I walked back up the dirt road and then was basically supposed to “hail” the GuaGua, like a cab. So…I just stood there. And the first one passed me by (it came within 5 minutes), but the second one, maybe 2 minutes later, picked me up. No problem. I got back to Puerto Plata, and the owner of the hostel had suggested that I perhaps go to the cable car (telefĂ©rico) and see stuff from there. So I asked the motorconcha to take me there; no problem. I got there, and proceeded to be gouged for money. It was $10 American for a ticket to the top, which was fine, but this dude pretty easily convinced me that he would be a guide and wanted to charge me $12.50 for that shit. I think not. But I didn’t even realize I didn’t need a guide at all, so I ended up saying I’d pay him about $10 (but in pesos), including the price(I understood) of a motorconcha home. So we went up, whatever, and I was super tired, so I didn’t intend on staying long, probably only walked around for 30 minutes. I really was just ready to go somewhere I could just relax. And I am ready to leave, exhausted and aching at this point, and really sick of getting taken advantage of, and the effing motorconcha has to go to 3 places before he actually understands where I meant that he should drop me off. Gah. So then I’m getting off, expecting that the asshat guide already paid him, and of course, he hadn’t. And all I had was 113 pesos, in addition to some American money. I give him the 13 pesos thinking I’m being nice and it’s a tip, and the dude gets super pissed. He says the guide didn’t pay him, and I’m like, look, that was our deal, I’m sorry. Here’s 100 pesos. And he is STILL MAD. He expects me to pay him 300 pesos, and starts trying to make me feel bad by talking about his children and wife. I’m like, you have got to be effing kidding me. YOU couldn’t figure out where I was talking about, that shit is not on me, besides, this is literally all I have right now. So I’m like take it or don’t. And then realized I had one American dollar, so I gave him that and he seemed happier, drove away.

It was so frustrating!! I was seriously so effing pissed.

Anyway, I made it back, got more money, and band aids for a sore spot from the walking in rivers and trying to keep my shoes on (side note–did not realize you could purchase individual band aids….but you can in Puerto Plata!). I asked the hostel lady, Francia, who seriously I think has been the biggest god-send of the trip, and reminds me a lot of Amparo, my Mexican host mother, who was so lovely, to call me a cab, which was just $200 pesos to Playa Dorada, where I’d found an all-inclusive hotel (means food is included) for about $100 a night, deciding to treat myself a little. So I got here, hoping to stay 3 nights, and without a reservation, and they have one, and said I can ask about the following two nights tomorrow, but for now they can’t guarantee. So…not sure what I’ll be doing from here. Hopefully they’ll have something tomorrow…otherwise I’ll investigate more later. I guess this is living on the edge??

It is super weird to go from taking the GuaGua, then the motorconcha, to being in this resort. Kind of insane. I feel like I found the white people. Anyway, my phone isn’t working, and I’m all about getting some spa time in today before I am no longer in this all-inclusive situation. I’ll be able to eat dinner on the premises here, and at least go to the beach tomorrow. Hasta luego, Internet!