Monday, February 28, 2011

Dominican Republic

Marina Zar Par, Boca Chica, Dominican Republic---Three nights at sea and we arrived on the south side of Dominican Republic, about 30 miles from Santa Domingo. We were IMMEDIATELY boarded by five men representing Immigration, Customs, Firearms and Narcotics, Coast Guard (Commandancia), and, I don't know, most likely someones cousin. They thoroughly searched the boat, which after three days at sea, was a mess. Under the floor board (looking for very small Haitians?) in the cupboards, under the seat cushions. The only weapons we have aboard are perhaps our fiery tongues after a disagreement and curt words are spoken. Other than that we are a dry boat while sailing (no drinking) and the only drugs are prescription.

They wanted coffee, so I flew down the companion way to make espresso (the only coffee maker we have) and then add hot water to make enough for them. One wanted cold water. Fine. But then, THEN after not finding contraband, they hesitated and said things in Spanish to Jake, who thankfully is acting as interpreter. They wanted a gift. A bottle from our stash of alcohol. We had some partly drank bottles so the one that got selected was my bottle of Xoriguer Gin from Mahon Menorca, where I visited the distillery (see blog post: "...a lesson in Gin Making" on 8/29/10). I had intended to ship it home and now it was a bribe...err, gift for the DR official. I bit my lip. Each time they turned their backs to me I was very animated. But in front of them, I was what the DR wants out of women, serving them and silent. UGH, SERIOUSLY?

Yes, the information to orient us: A CRUISING GUIDE TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, By Frank Virgintino, had read: "The Dominican Republic is still largely a male oriented culture; that is, the men run the show."

But, it was only a thing. We are here safe. And later I read that these officials make about an average of $200 a month. Oh my, that's worth giving them my bottle.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Not unusual in many parts of the world. Working wages are not paid, and "tips" or "gifts" are expected for services we take for granted. I'd rather pay taxes.