So we started out of the hotel, and down the block was a group of gua guas. Latin American countries don't have single central bus stations. Rather, there are many local lines, big and small, and they congregate in are all over the city. So we stumble upon this group of seemingly random gua guas and as we approach a guy, in spanish of course, asks usnwherenwe are going. We reply Moncion, and he points us to a gua gua that is an express ride to Mao. The driver explains that we have to go to Mao first, wherever that is, and get another gua gua to moncion from there. Uh,ok.
So we get on this bus and our packs take up a seat by themselves, so we pay for four instead of five tickets. I ask a passenger howling the ride is, and we settle in for the hour.
Not exactly thrilled to be on another bus, but oh well.
So we start getting into the city of Mao, and of course we have no idea where to get off to find the connecting gua gua to Moncion. So we start asking random people, again, where we should get off to find one. The guy Luis is sitting next to tells us where to get off. Once off the bus it isn't as obvious as it usually is where we should go, so I ask kindly random person where the gua guas to Moncion are and he points to a group of people waiting on a bench. We walk over, and confirm that the gua gua should be coming any time, so we wait.
A decrepit minivan arrives with no room for luggage, so we cram into it holding our packs on our laps. By the time we get going we have 21 people crammed into a minivan the size of a vw van.
We drive for about 30 minutes and we arrive in Moncion. Where do we get off? I wrote down the address and phone number of casa de las anas, the home stay we are going to, but I neglected to write down the instructions about where we get off the gua.
We show the driver's assistant the address and he directs us to get off and walk up the street.
Not entirely helpful, but enter another random stranger, this time a guy sitting on his porch. He points us up the hill. Ok.
Next comes a guy carrying a hammer and his clothes are clean, and he was towards us so we show him our address. He isn't too sure what to tell us, so he walks us up a few houses and down a driveway. Hmm, this doesn't look like the house we saw in the Internet photo.
Out come a few mechanics, guys in their 20's. I don't quite like the looks of it, but we go ahead and explain who we are looking for. One guy whips out his cell phone and calls the number on our info paper.
It sure looks like he has reached her! The mechanics instruct us to wait there.
A few minutes later one of them, who had disappeared without me realizing, shows up with a car. And we get in. And he drives us about a half mile up the road, and right to the casa de las anas.
Julia, the proprietor, is relived to see us and we settle in for a rainy afternoon.
Considering we had no idea how to get here I would say we did pretty well. We had to ask for help from about 11 random strangers, and we had to trust all of them. Most people really want to help travelers, and it feels good to be trusting of people instead of worrying that they are going to bludgeon you to death or kidnap you and rob you at every turn. At home in would never be so trusting of random strangers, but when we are traveling it becomes a necessity.
Since we have just arrived here I can only give my first impressions. We are in a small rural town in the middle of the Dominican Republic. The house is a regular family house...but not regular by American standards in any way.
We have been very welcomed here, and I will give more impressions and stories of our stay here as it unfolds.
After a terrific dinner the kids are involved in their favorite pastime, watching television.