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Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

by dan.kronstal on January 17th, 2012
Santiago, Chile layover

Santiago, Chile layover

Our flight from Buenos Aires to Santo Domingo took a circuitous route. We flew first to Santiago, Chile where we had a long layover, and spent the night in the departures lounge.

Our 5-star hotel

Our 5-star hotel

Christina had investigated the airport hotel adjascent to the terminal, but in addition to the pricey room rate we would also incur an additional $140 “reciprocity fee” per person for leaving the departures area (thereby forfeiting our “in transit” status), so we decided to camp out instead. I brought a sleeping bag for her to use, earplugs for myself and borrowed her stylish fuzzy eyemask.

The Andes

The Andes

Thus equipped we snatched a few hours of sleep at a gate mercifully supplied with benches lacking armrests (the best kind for sleeping on). When we woke there was a crowd of people waiting at the gate, shooting us evil looks for occupying so many seats with our sprawl.

Punta Cana?!?

Punta Cana?!?

We headed out to find our own gate, and passed a few more hours before boarding. Signage as we boarded indicated that our flight to Miami would be routed via Punta Cana. Had we known this when booking the tickets we would have hopped off at that point and figured something out on the ground. Our checked bags were headed to Santo Domingo however, so we resigned ourselves to a silly flight. The 10 hours in the air passed well enough. We alternated between naps and movies, and generally had a good flight into Punta Cana, then deplaned there while they fooled around with our plane for a while before letting us back on. A couple more hours put us down in Miami where we had to explain ourselves to the customs agent there.

Agent: “Where are you arriving from?”
Us: “Well, technically from the Dominican Republic…”
Agent: “And where are you heading?”
Us: “The Dominican Republic”
Agent: “Ummm, what?”
Us: “Yeah, it’s not the best connection”
Agent: “Ok, right on! Welcome to Miami!”

A short time later we boarded our last flight. I had always thought that the warnings to turn off electronic devices were mostly intended to spoil the passengers fun, but just after the message was played we lost power – all lights including emergency lights extinguished, and the engines and air systems went completely quiet – so clearly someone disregarded the rule and some rogue electronic device had interfered with aircraft systems. Presently our engines and power were restored, and we departed without much further delay. By the time we began our descent I was nodding in my seat, fully exhausted after our long day of travel. It was about 1:00AM when we checked into the hotel, which placed our travel time from Buenos Aires at about 32 hours.

Zona Colonial

Zona Colonial

Lovely flowers

Lovely flowers

Church Bells

Church Bells

Oldest church in the Americas

Oldest church in the Americas

Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe

Camarones by the sea

Camarones by the sea

Haircut time

Haircut time

We had a few days in Santo Domingo, which gave us ample time to explore the touristic core of the city, Zona Colonial. We visited the Hard Rock Cafe in Parque Col√≥n to pick up a new shirt for Tito Greg, as well as to get a dose of some ‘merican home cooking. The waterfront had a few beaches, but mostly was taken up by the port and a rocky shore. We visited Parradillas D Luis, a restaurant clinging to the edge, for a couple of meals which were very good, and also visited the Megacentro mall, which wikitravel.com had implied was a big deal (it wasn’t).

Dinner night with Armando & Angela

Dinner night with Armando & Angela

One of our reasons for choosing the Dominican Republic was to try and meet with our friend, Armando, whom we had met in Australia, so many months and countries ago. We got in touch, and he took us to a fantastic dinner spot in Plaza Espagna. Pat’e Palo claims to be the oldest tavern in the New World, which might actually be true, based on its historic location and thoroughly rusticated interior. Angela, another friend of Armando’s met us there and we had a fantastic evening catching up on our mutual adventures had in the past nine-or-so months. We didn’t stay out too late, since we were planning on leaving the next day for a weekend of fun in Santiago and Cabarete, in the northern part of the country. This has been a great choice for us to end our world trip here, since we wanted a spot to relax and have a proper vacation. How many times in the past have we exclaimed, “Oh how I wish we could have a vacation to recover from our vacation?” Well, we figured this will be the only time to do that, so why not?

2 Comments
  1. Mom and Dad E. permalink

    I laughed out loud when you had to go through Punta Cana then to Miami to get back to Santo Domingo in the same small island! That reminds me of your iterinary to Manila where you went to Sydney from Brisbane only to find out you had to change plane in Brisbane to Manila! Ha-ha-ha!

  2. mom K permalink

    are you sure about the haircut??!!

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