“There are great shocks on this vehicle… for 1968.” — Chris

A very apropos statement. As it was, we were careening down a bumpy highway, weaving our way through mopeds, motorcycles, trucks piled high with workers (sitting atop their cargo with shirts off), people waiting for a ride, and animals meandering around unconcerned. It was hot, sticky, and we’d been travelling for over 15 hours.

But something was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it until about 15 minutes into the ride. I think at that point we’d hit a bump and went flying into the air only to come crashing down onto threadbare vinyl seats that barely covered a metal frame; it was rather dramatic.

The music was missing… or more accurately, the unbearably loud music. There was something Spanish playing softly in the background, almost politely so. On a careening bumpy ride typical of any hot country I expected to hear music blasting so loudly that you can’t talk to the person next to you. And, truth be told, I rather missed the loud music.

This was my first indication that I wouldn’t have the usual adventure I seek while travelling. However, La Niña was unfazed as she waved to absolutely everyone we passed and screamed, “HOLA!” in their general direction because we’d told her that’s how people greeted each other in the Caribbean. Our specific destination, the Dominican Republic, is on the island of Hispaniola (originally named La Española by Christopher Columbus when he landed during his first voyage in 1492).