Barbados Tropical Waters

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Thursday, 29 August 2013

One of the things I noticed in the Dominican Republic

One of the things I noticed in the Dominican Republic is that there is no sense of environmental awareness. My first outing took me high up into the mountains and this was when it became apparent to me that people simply dumped rubbish where ever they wanted. After driving for hours into the hills, I peered down into the bushes by the side of the road and to my dismay, saw piles of rubbish strewn  all over green grass.  I wondered then if there were any rules about this practice. 

When I spoke with some of the locals it became evident that their level of consideration for the protection of the environment, was a far cry from ours here in Britain. Despite my limited Spanish, I did not see any evidence of any government messages to the public to preserve green spaces or the environment as a whole. I was later to find out that organisations like the large hotels chains contracted private companies who disposed of their rubbish. This explained the stark contrast in what I saw when I left the immaculately groomed hotel grounds.  Having spoken further with some locals about my observation, they too agree that there is still uncertainty about whether the firms collecting the rubbish are following any responsible practices in the disposal of the rubbish.

On another occasion, I visited the market place in Bavaro, and I also noticed that the sanitation practices were very poor. Animal carcasses were dumped in the gutters of the market street, in the same place where patrons and vendors were. This was a very unpleasant and shocking experience for me and many others o n the tour especially some of the children.  These sights combined with the stench from the heat of all the other foul practices of simply dumping refuse of any shape size into the same space as people were working was enough to make me think twice about public sanitation.  Judging from this, it would be fair to say  that there was nothing in place  to convince me or anyone else, that the people had any sense of responsibility or care or comprehension of how they were treating their environment!

On my way into Santo Domingo, the capital of Dominican Republic, I was further shocked at the absence of street sanitation. The streets in Santo Domingo itself were much cleaner than those in Bavaro, so I imagined that there must be some good practices in place to keep the streets clean. However, as I looked out to the sea from the coastal road on which we were driving, I noticed something quite unusual. The first mile of sea from land, was not as expected. missing were clear blue waters! Instead was a mirky muddy ashen brown stretch of water. Upon closer inspection, to my horror I discovered the reason for it. Yes the streets might be clean but now we know where it goes when it leaves the street!

Not sure that I expected to be writing about the Dominican Republic in this way as the occasion for my visit there was a happy join the celebration of a marriage. However, for those of you who are considering going there. might find this last bit interesting especially if you decide to venture outside of your hotel grounds. 

Driving along in an open Mega Truck the ones that are used for most trips and excursions, you will become aware of the intensity of vehicle fumes. My own experience of  travelling on the open roads in a Mega Truck through the city streets alongside a variety of other vehicles where carbon emissions are at a high, is one I would not like to repeat in a hurry. I know we say emissions in London are high but from what my poor nose was exposed to, I would say that the fumes and vehicle emissions there are at catastrophically high levels!

So on that note, if you do go for the Boogies on the open road you may wish to bring something to protect from fumes. Some people I saw had large kerchiefs around their faces. However, if you are prone to breathing ailments you may wish to do alternative Boogie experiences. The one  I did was along the sea coast which was brilliant. I chose this option for two reasons; the first to avoid breathing in any more fumes than absolutely necessary and the second because the drive on the opposite side to us Brits and I didn't fancy peering into the underside of the large lorries. My Boogie excursion left me covered in dust, but I felt a lot better coping with dust rather than being forced to inhale traffic fumes.

Of course you can rent a car and travel around in the luxury of air conditioning, which reduces the risk of inhaling toxic fumes unless you wind down the windows. Aside from that the coaches are lovely when inside them, but what is emitted from them is not so comforting. 

Despite all this it was truly an experience I am glad to have had and one I shall never forget. Hopefully my next visit will see more being done to protect and preserve the Dominican Republic environment.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Dominican Republic

My trip to the Dominican Republic was awesome! I went with family and masses of friends for my brothers wedding. We all had a great time!

Our BA flight from London Gatwick to Punta Cana took 9.30 hours, and with over an hours stop in Antigua. It felt as if it would never end. We arrived in the afternoon and the first thing to notice is the warmth as you step down from the aircraft. The arrival section of the airport itself is quite primitive looking. Getting through customs and getting your luggage is a bit chaotic since the information is all in Spanish and it is just a matter of following the crowds and hoping you are going the right way! There is no real order to getting through quickly and even though we bought the required visitors cards here in the UK with the expectation that it would save time, we were directed to a queue which simply merged with the long queue for those who had not bought their cards. In the midst of  the queue was a man selling the cards to the queue and simply collecting them back as he beckons you to stay in the queue streaming toward the immigration officials. Our group scrambled  forward and with the initial test of my linguistic abilities in Spanish (lessons taken many moons ago  in high school) I began my conversation with the officials whose English was as limited as my Spanish. Having got our luggage we proceeded to our waiting driver who met us with big smiles surrounded by many others touting for business. It is worth noting that the language barrier can cause you to end up agreeing with them to provide you a service you may not even want,  as they are very persuasive and don't really give you a chance to reject their invitations! With luggage aboard our air conditioned bus we were whisked away to our hotel Gran Bahia Principe in Bavaro about 40 minutes away from the airport.

We arrived at our hotel and it's enormity was one of the first things that struck me. The foyer and reception areas bustled with porters and new guests arriving and being chauffeured on motorised trolleys to their rooms. There are other guests some sitting and relaxing with cocktails and coffee, with others locked into their phones or tablets on social media.
Also in the vicinity is the main restaurant with a constant flow moving throughout. this is clearly the main hub of activity an with the bar in the mix I could see why the actity here was endless.
The grounds are such that you need to hop on the trolleys which constantly criss cross throughtout the  vast grounds of the hotel.. In  fact there are five hotels all in the complex with over 4000 rooms. So you can imagine the volume of guest traffic there is at any given time.
Tomorrow I will tell you some more about the hotel and my experiences.
Gran Bahia Principe Bavaros - Dominican Republic Punta Cana,

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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