Back On The Road Again. Newark To Santo Domingo: Dominican Republic Day 1.
It’s been two years since I have traveled abroad. So I am excited typing this blog post in Terminal C of the Newark Airport. Excited, and a bit stressed and frustrated. The Covid-19 pandemic kept me from my travels and Covid-19 travel restrictions complicated this trip to the Dominican Republic. At first I was advised I needed a negative Covid-19 test to board the aircraft within 72 hours of my flight. Trying to arrange this and get the result was not fun. I finally got it, late in the afternoon before my departure. However, I later learned I didn’t need it. I only needed proof of a Covid-19 vaccination. Then my e-entry immigration card into the Dominican Republic was denied. After a hour of phone calls a United Airlines at first told me to call a number in Santo Domingo. The number didn’t work. Finally, with the help of a nice young woman from Columbia, and another 1 1/2 hours of calls and re-doing the application it was approved. There were other issues too . But this is part of the travel experience. If you expect things to go smoothly don’t travel.
So, after a mostly sleepless night, my friend John, the driver of the many celebrities who visit the Hazleton area, arrived to drive me to the airport at 5;45 a.m. It is about 120 miles or a two hour drive from my home in Hazle Township, Northeastern Pennsylvania. It was a nice ride on this clear cold October morning with some cool cloud formations in the eastern sky.
I was late for my international flight. But, luckily , and so unlike my many previous experiences at the Newark Airport, I got through security very quickly and even had time to have a quick breakfast before my flight. I love airports but didn’t have time to explore and people watch this trip, one of my favorite airport activities. I boarded my plane , and I was seated when we were advised that the bathrooms weren’t functioning and we had to leave the plane.
It just did. . Hopefully, we will re-board soon and I will be on my way to the oldest European city in the Western Hemisphere. Okay, jump ahead a day. It is now Thursday afternoon and I just returned from a second hike in Santo Domingo. I have over ten miles in and I love the city. But back to yesterday. We departed Newark airport after a two hour delay. I had a window seat, as I always try and arrange, but gave it up to when a woman told me she wanted to sit next to her disabled husband who just lost his brother. The two people seating next to him wouldn’t give up their seats so I did. So, sorry no photos from the flight done. It was a 3 1/2 hour flight and I dozed off a few times.
Once outside I looked for a ride I arranged from the Billini Hotel. There was a miscommunication because of the delay and I couldn’t find him. So, after a few attempts with my poor Spanish, I finally hired a taxi to take me to my hotel, 1 about 7 miles and about a half hour drive from the Santo Domingo airport. It is located in the Old Town section of the city. Unfortunately, my driver spoke no English so we weren’t able to chat, like I love to do, about his country.
We soon crossed the Ozama River, the first settlement was actually founded by Christopher Columbus’s brother on the east side of the river in 1496. After this settlement was destroyed by a hurricane Nicolas de Ovando moved it to the west side of the river in 1506.
I finally arrived at the hotel around 5 pm. I knew the sunset around 6:15 so I quickly checked in and was outside again exploring this historical city. It was a hectic journey getting here but once I arrived it was worth the stress. Hopefully, following my blog posts, you will agree, Santo Domingo is a wonderful city. Here is a link to a gallery with photos from my travels from Newark to Santo Domingo. Dominican Republic Day 1 Travel October 20 2021.
“Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo” Al Gore