03 March 2012

Barahona - unexpectedly friendly

Rahel "helps" Maria in the kitchen
a typical dominican lunch
 In comparison to the passage coming from Cabo Rojo, the story of our arrival in Barahona is actually funny: We read in our guide that you can anchor in the harbors basin. But - there was a huge tug. A group of people was waving from the nearby pier and, as it turned out later, the club nautico. So we pulled in, docked and immediately all of them jumped on our boat shouting "immigrazion"! Can you immagine after that trip - we were totally exhausted and salty and the first thing they did was sitting in our messed up boat drinking cold beer! Luckily it was no problem that our despacho said Las Salinas - we heard from another boat later that they faced some problems because theirs had a different destination. In our case they were all very nice and even joked with us. I then had to sit on the back of the immigration officers motorcycle and drive to his office to stamp our passports... Marco now keeps telling me that when ever we return to the landlubber life first thing he will do is buying a motorcycle and I HAVE TO sit on the back (I always refused when he had one, that's why...)! But it turned out that Ivan, that's the officers name, was going to be very helpful and became our "guide" in the meantime. He told us to be docked in the club nautico is safe and we're protected there. He helped us to get diesel, he showed us the city by day and night and we even had lunch twice already at his home! Picture that: what ever time we agreed on the day before he shows up (always on time or even earlier!!) to pick us up, we sit on his motorcycle (Yes, the THREE of us) and he drives us wherever we want to go. And he's certainly dropping us off afterwards! We're not quite sure why he's doing all that... One reason could be since we're here for a week now and no other boat arrived that as a matter of fact he has not much to do and we're kind of an entertainment for him.
We like Barahona because it's so authentic. It seems we're the only foreigners in this area (besides the immigrated Chinese and Arabs!), there are no tourists! That makes it a bit difficult as nobody really speaks English. I have to dig out my sparse Spanish while Marco gets along pretty well with his mix of English, Italian, Spanish and hand signs of course! I guess quite a big number of people living in this area belong to the less fortunate. It surprises us even more that most people we met so far seemed to be happy and coping well with their situation (but we still get warnings not to walk around alone at night). Many are Christians and I believe that religion plays an important role in this society. And the family of course! Take our friend Ivan - he has 4 children with two different women and is only 33!
Even though we only ended up in this town because of the bad weather it turned out to be a lucky choice!

With love, from paradise
Ivan & Marco buying meat
The butcher at work

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