I have just returned from a week-long trip to the Dominican Republic with several members of the Gator Boards team who were down there filming with Ronn Seidenglanz for the upcoming team video. It was a pretty incredible time down there and the Dominican Republic is a gorgeous country. Here are 10 things I learned during my trip that I thought might help you out.
1. Dominican drivers are just as good, if not better, than any NASCAR, Indy, Formula 1, or Hollywood stunt driver out there. There are no rules of the road in the DR, it’s every car, truck, bus, bike and motorcycle for itself, and it’s a total free for all. Seriously, it’s crazy, and you have to have some skills behind the wheel to survive.
2. Car horns are the most important tool in any Dominican’s daily life. From passing a truck on a narrow, two-lane mountain road with cliffs on either side and having a bus barreling at you blaring it’s horn, to navigating your way through a big-city intersection in Santo Domingo with broken traffic lights, to just saying hi to a friend on the side of the road, the horn honking skills are a must in the DR. If you’re driving a vehicle with a horn that doesn’t work, you’re just not surviving.
3. Brown shorts are a necessity for any tourist or visitor, and are probably still a good idea even if you’ve lived there for six months. You will want these shorts because no matter how good you get at driving or horn-honking, you will still shit yourself while driving around the Dominican Republic.
4. Dominican food is awesome. Get ready to pack on a few pounds if you’re heading down there. If you can, head into one of the small villages and eat at an authentic family-run restaurant, you won’t regret it.
4.5 Dominican booze is awesome. Get ready to get a little (or a lot) tipsy for not a lot of cash. Dominicans especially like their rum and are ready, willing, and able to serve you larges amounts any time of the day.
5. The Extreme Hotel in Cabarete kicks ass, and their wireless internet connection knows it. This hotel has a pool, a sick skateboarding half pipe, is on the beach at one of the best kiteboarding locations in the world, and is minutes from several great surf breaks. Plus, the CabWake wakeboarding school is based out of there, and just 10 minutes from the hotel is a gorgeous river and a Nautique waiting to be ridden.
6. Kiteboarding still looks funny.
7. Being an electrician in the Dominican is probably one of the worst jobs in the world. Just get down there and look around at all the wires, you’ll see what I mean.
8. Scandinavian women like to vacation in the Dominican, and that is nice.
9. Just because the police officer at the entrance to one of the historic forts in Santo Domingo is asleep in his car, doesn’t mean the guard dog isn’t. So if you happen to be walking through a giant, dark doorway into one of the forts at night, get ready to run back out really quickly, or get bit in the ass.
10. The Dominican Republic is an amazingly beautiful country with incredible people. Bring your camera be ready to take lots of photos.
Adios amigos y buenos dias.