We’ve all been guilty of jumping to conclusions. Usually this statement has a negative connotation to it when we assume something about a situation without analysis. But, sometimes, sometimes it is simply our own innocence because of our knowledge base.
I recently met two very lovely ladies traveling through the country. One celebrated her 50th on the island and was accompanied by her aunt who is in her 60’s. Their courage at traveling alone together was inspiring. In a country where they didn’t speak the language and where gringas are often taken advantage of, theirs was a tremendous action. They traveled from Punta Cana to Samana and finally … weeeeeeeee Santo Domingo! They were not simple tourists … they … were travelers! Travelers with much enthusiasm.
They told me of some of their adventures, but the adventure that I vividly remember is their tale of taking the ferry from Punta Cana to Samana. This is where jumping to conclusions comes in.
Having lived many years on the west coast of Canada and being accustomed to ferry crossings, I’m listening and thinking great idea! I’ve often talked with my daughter about doing this very thing. I thought, what a great idea to stay at a resort for a few days then to go from PC to Samana and then tour the north coast of the island. It would make so much sense to not have to travel back to the capital and lol, take a right turn on Las Americas. As it turns out, a Dominican version of a ferry and BC Ferry Services are two very different things. We assume through our own experience tempered with naivete that a nice barge awaits and that we will be waiting for the vehicles to finish being loaded before we cross.
This thought, this mind’s image could not be further from the truth. What these ladies regaled to me was a story of a crossing where the “ferry” was little more than a fishing boat. There were no other people around and they skeptically looked at the boat and thought, “ok, I guess if this boat is for us alone we’ll be ok.” Again another misconception. By the time they were aboard and ready to leave the boat was filled beyond capacity with it’s sides mere inches above the water. They requested life jackets and were each given one upon which they sat. The aunt told me that had they capsized she was sure they would have had a fight for the jackets.
They crossed the bay (which is more like open ocean than bay) that swelled with high waves and it tossed their little boat all over the place. Finally reaching their destination they were drenched. They had had quite an adventure and lived to tell the tale. Reaching the dock they were unceremoniously hauled up by their arms about 4 feet to the top landing. They told of a warf type structure, not a dock as we know a dock to be. I liken it to Vancouver’s Sea Wall. Through their experience, it is certain that the ferry crossing from Punta Cana to Samana is one that we will never do. I value our lives far too much. I had wanted to go to Samana Bay this winter for the whale watch, I’m rethinking that being reminded of the last boats we were on.
We did several boat/catamaran excursions in the past, where again our assumptions were that we would be safe and secure. Ahhhh naivete! We were fortunate. There were no mishaps, no accidents. None had sufficient life boats for the number of people aboard, nor were we briefed where the life jackets were. Whether or not they had sufficient personal floatation devices, I have no idea. Leaves me to wonder! Boating accidents involving excursion boats are a rare occurrence here but I still object to the possibility of being shark bait.
The moral of the story is, don’t accept what you know to be the norm as the norm for where you are visiting. This is after all a developing country. Some say this is a 3rd world country. Ask questions, a lot of questions and remember that each country you visit may have different standards from what you are accustomed to! Paradise … is NOT for the faint of heart!
Listen to the palms …
© Loca Gringa and https://locagringa.wordpress.com