Where Is Andy Graham?
I leave with JetAirFly.com Oct. 14 and fly to Brussels, arriving on the Oct. 15, and enter Lome, Togo, by Air Moroc the same day.
Ok, I am going to Kara, Togo, West Africa. So yesterday, the Oct. 13, I took a Caribe Tour bus for RD$ 300 (Dominican pesos) from Sosua, Dominican Republic, to Santo Domingo.
Then I shared a taxi to the airport with an American girl. We paid RD$800, my half was RD$400. She was almost late for her 4 p.m. plane because we arrived at 3:30 p.m. I hope she made the plane. I paid another RD$500 to go to Boca Chica, a famous beach town near the airport.
In reality, the Santo Domingo Airport would be better called Boca Chica, the better place to stay near Santo Domingo for savvy travelers.
I got dodgy information on hotels. All the information on the Internet was stupidly priced, trying to trap the unsavvy traveler. Generally, I was lucky; I just walked down the street, surrounded by really scammy Dominicas demanding I follow them. Well, I spotted what looked like a happy guy, older and, I now believe, Swiss, and I asked, "¿Sabes un hotel barrato?"
He did not speak English, so I was asking for a cheap room in Spanish. He said he had a room for 30 USD, or RD$1,200 pesos, which is not cheap to me. 3 USD is cheap, but 30 USD is cheap to tourists here. I am lucky to know the true value of hotel room.
Before I rented this, I had already talked with four other gringos, all naïve and generally not to be trusted. Never trust gringos and never trust locals in the Dominican Republic. There is an amazingly corrupt mentality in this country. I trusted the body language of the Swiss guy. I soon learned he was the cook at the restaurant.
Pequenia Swiss Hotel
RD$1,200, air conditioned, 30 USD "mas o menos," a great very small room with WiFi that fails to work. It is there but does not work. I believe I am just unlucky today with WiFi here; probably the hotel normally has functional WiFi, but not today.
I will hide in the room. I have almost no use for talking with people in Boca Chica. People in the Dominican Republic, both the gringos and the citizens, have worn out my patience for stupid behavior.
There are smart countries, like Germany, and dumbed down countries, about 90 countries, in my experience. I have to say, the Dominican Republic is 90th on the list, the very bottom rung. This is what makes it fun! Entering dumb countries, full of dumb people, is great entertainment.
More or less dumb people let you buy anything you want and do anything you desire. Everything is for sale. People are crabbing over each other to push one another down. They just refuse to work together as neighbors or a nation.
Meanwhile, Germany and the German people work together in unison for the survival of their nation. The individual people of the Dominican Republic are saving up, trying to maneuver, by hook or crook, to find a way to leave their country and go live in New York City area of the USA.
But the gringos come to buy what is offered, mostly women – too fun and too stupid at the same time.
One could write a never-ending soap opera about the gringos getting killed or maimed, or having the police extort money from them, a book that never ends. But most novels are about human nature, sort of making mistakes and then solving them.
I am not going to write this book. It would be a celebration of the stupidest country I know on the planet, not good form, not the way to make money for a good person. I will leave that book to the unsavory gringos who live here. But I hope aspiring gringos authors knows that they will kill you if you write the truth.
I will fly to Lome, Togo: 100 times safer and 50 times smarter than the Dominican Republic. It will be nice not to live behind bars and barbed wire, to live without armed guards with sawed-off shotguns.
We All Make It to the Travel Destination
We must continually remind ourselves: Everyone makes it to his or her travel destination. It is not generally possible to turn around on a plane trip and go home. Once we commence the plane journey, we have little choice but to continue all the way. We will arrive. It is possible we stop somehow, but our checked luggage will continue on to our destination.
Predisposition to Not Check Luggage
A weak person cannot survive without his or her bag and needs to check it. The strong person knows, the bag is just a bag, and the more items carried, the more the comfort upon arrival.
I do not need my luggage. My backpack is just convenience. The more I carry, the more convenient my life.
OK, I have an insight about why people almost refuse to check bags. They are too afraid of getting separated, and work monotonously not to waste time.
On a funny note, standing in line to board a plane is not what we savvy travelers do. We are the absolute last on the plane. We know we have a reserved seat, and we know they will find a place for our bag. Why waste the time standing in line, unless it?s to stand by a pretty girl?
Girl on the Caribe Bus
I sat next to what has to be the most intelligent girl from the USA I have met in maybe my whole life. She actually made me think. I even felt a little dumb at times. My mother would have loved this 30 year old woman.
I got her to the airport on time, I hope. My very alpha male behavior, my domination of other humans, and command of Spanish, coupled with savvy travel skills, saved her maybe 30 minutes of travel time. She probably saved another RD$1,000 pesos on the taxi and did not miss her plane.
I do hope she made the plane. The Internet here sucks. I lose the WIFI lottery today and will not know until she writes me an email.
She was a college professor in Miami, white, of German heritage, and she lived in Wisconsin by the Illinois border, maybe 300 miles from my home in Orland, Indiana. She was gorgeous, blond, sexy and of exceptional intelligence. I wanted to follow her home; she reminded me of Bah, dangerous to men.
Amazing whom we meet as travelers. Serendipitous good luck is always our travel companion; we are never alone.
Andy Lee Graham, on the way to Kara, Togo, to eliminate malaria in the city.
Note: I need 25 USD from all of you to save one child?s life. Please send it now. I know human nature well enough and the people of the USA well enough to know that if they believe 25 USD was needed to save a life, they would each give it up without question.
there is one thing you have never done and will probably never be able to do in all your travels world wide.
On our last flight we paralysed the German airport for more than an hour. No plane was leaving because two people had slipped through the security check and arrived in the departure aerea without photo checking. Then they noticed it and started looking for the two persons who were "illegally" waiting for their flight.
They called several people who did not have any suitcase but only hand luggage. But none of them was "guilty". They thought that those two persons had terrorist background....
After more than an hour, they gave up searching. Then we left the airport in our regular flight....
Now, what do you say? Do not do it on purpose, we did it by accident because we were very late and had to hurry up......
I am a frequent traveler but im am not your normal traveller. I do not travel perpetually without stop as yourself but i travel frequently and when i do i find a cheap house to rent and stay for 1-3 months.
My favorite country in the world is the dominican republic. And i must disagree with you on DR being the stupidest country.
Ive been following your blog for quite some time now and have seen many of your videos. I have noticed a few things that may be the reason you do think the DR is the stupidest country
1) You stay around tourist areas of DR
This is just something that I have noticed from your blog is that you stay around areas of DR that tourists frequent. Personally, when i travel to latin countries, especially DR, I always stay away from tourist areas. Yes, tourist areas of DR are stupid! Why do you go to them?
I dont feel that i have to school you on the principles of travel, since you are a travel expert. However it boggles my mind that you hang around the "Touristy" areas of DR, and you label the entire country as stupid based on the people you meet in the areas.
It is obvious that almost any country you go to, that the "Tourist" areas you you will find 99percent stupidness, of course!
Because ALL the native people that live there are there to Sell and trick the tourist into giving them money!
I will give you a personal example...
There was a time, i looked forward to visiting boca chica for many years because all the spanish music i listen to brags about how boca chica has the most amazing beaches/women/etc! But when the day came to actually visit boca chica. I hated it!
Because it, of course, is a tourist destination. Which means it is filled with dominicans who are trying to sell me something at a ridiculous price. Also didnt like the arrogant europeans. I saw prostitutes everywhere, which is nasty. And what disappointed me the most is that the beaches werent as nice as other beaches in the rural areas of DR.
If you really want to see the real DR go to a place that doesnt get many tourist like Paraiso or Los Patos Barahona.
• Something else I dont understand. How did you pay so much for a hotel in the Santo Domingo area?
I can find a hotel room in the Santo Domingo area for $8 a night. However if you actually enjoy the dominican culture and dont think Dominicans are "stupid", you can easily find a dominican who will let you stay in an extra room or apartment for FREE!
The last time I went, i bought my taxi driver lunch and had a great convo with him, and he let me stay at his house free. The following day I met another dominican who let me stay in an extra room of his for one month and also lended me his computer an internet for free.
Yes, I am a hobo traveller! (Expert of the latin countries)
Even if i did not seek out free lodging, i can easily find a 3 bedroom apt in DR next to a paradise like beach for $75 a month with a balcony and beach view.
• another question... Why did u pay so much, as a "hobo traveller", to get to the airport. You know the gua guas only charge a few pesos to get there.
Example: from Caribe tours to Hipodromo (small town outside SD close to airport) for 15 Dom Pesos which is less than .50cents, you can grab the GuaGua (u know the green ones in Santo domingo)
From Hipodromo to the airport You can grab one of those small gua guas super cheap. I forgot the price. But seriously you are spending WAY too much money in DR.
I live in DR for $180 a month. Easy.
If you have the idea in your mind that dominicans are stupid, then they will perceive it in your dealings with them, and yes they will treat you accordingly.
You my friend are a one of a kind traveller. You have an amazing story! I have one peice of advice. Just as you never stop traveling, you should never stop learning to love each culture. Do me a favor, next time you are in the Dominican, call me or email me my friend!
My international phone number is (972) 836 - Zack
Ps. I have never been to Africa. I have a few more countries to visit before i make it to africa, but when i do, im goin to scan your blog great tips! I think you are a great expert for african travel! I feel like if you came to love DR culture as you seem to love some of the african cultures, you wouldnt label the Dominican country as a stupid one.