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Jethro Gibbs

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Current DR Observations
« on: July 10, 2020, 03:59:35 AM »
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  • Got in to the DR on the 7th.  Here's just a few things I have observed so far.

    Flight on American Miami to Santiago was FULL.
    Everyone wearing masks.  Beverages on request only.  The usual clusterfuck boarding and deplaning.

    At STI I believe I caught a glimpse of a thermal camera mounted on the ceiling but didn't see where it was being monitored although there were a couple of employees right after it.

    Had us fill out a health form basically asking if we had any covid symptoms the last 14 days.  That slowed everyone down as it had to be turned in to immigration officials.  Other than that I was out in a flash.

    Exchange is RD$58.10 to US$1.00

    Temperature scanning is in effect at La Sirena.

    Most everything is shutting early.

    There's scuttlebutt about another state of emergency.   Not sure whether that will include shutting down the borders.  Also talk about a 1 week complete closure of all businesses with mandatory stay at home.

    The highway from Puerto plata to Santiago is done!

    That is all for now.



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    MarsMan

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #1 on: July 10, 2020, 09:06:10 AM »
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    Got in to the DR on the 7th.  Here's just a few things I have observed so far.

    Flight on American Miami to Santiago was FULL.
    Everyone wearing masks.  Beverages on request only.  The usual clusterfuck boarding and deplaning.

    At STI I believe I caught a glimpse of a thermal camera mounted on the ceiling but didn't see where it was being monitored although there were a couple of employees right after it.

    Had us fill out a health form basically asking if we had any covid symptoms the last 14 days.  That slowed everyone down as it had to be turned in to immigration officials.  Other than that I was out in a flash.

    Exchange is RD$58.10 to US$1.00

    Temperature scanning is in effect at La Sirena.

    Most everything is shutting early.

    There's scuttlebutt about another state of emergency.   Not sure whether that will include shutting down the borders.  Also talk about a 1 week complete closure of all businesses with mandatory stay at home.

    The highway from Puerto plata to Santiago is done!

    That is all for now.

    Hola Sir Jethro Gibbs !!

    Gracias for the very nice update !! It is truly appreciated. And I hope that as you continue your journey (I think that you said that after Santiago you are going to Puerto Plata?) that you will continue to contribute updates. They are very helpful.

    I head down to DR in just about one month (in August). I am hoping that the borders will continue to be open, and that more restaurants and places will open up by then.

    Thank you, again, Sir.

    MarsMan

    Jethro Gibbs

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #2 on: July 11, 2020, 07:20:57 AM »
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  • Drove by BB's yesterday to see if I could get any inside info.  There was an employee working on the generator.   I asked him when they were going to open and he said he didn't know.

    Sole Mio was open, or at least appeared to be.

    Puerto Plata is open, including restaurants, just running on reduced hours so they aren't open later than about 8pm.

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    ralphie1

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #3 on: July 11, 2020, 08:01:40 AM »
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  • thanks for the feet on the ground info jethro

    MarsMan

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #4 on: July 11, 2020, 12:06:32 PM »
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    Drove by BB's yesterday to see if I could get any inside info.  There was an employee working on the generator.   I asked him when they were going to open and he said he didn't know.

    Sole Mio was open, or at least appeared to be.

    Puerto Plata is open, including restaurants, just running on reduced hours so they aren't open later than about 8pm.

    Mabuhay/Hola/Sawasdee Jethro Gibbs !!

    Is there a curfew in place (there had been one in place that required everything to closei in the evenings). Have you been over toward Sosua or Cabarete? Are things over that way beginning to open up?

    I think that we are all sad to see BB closed (hoping it will re-open). I agree with comments made on this and another thread that trying to see a place for $1.3 million that is closed has to be hard. And the longer it stays closed, the more that us Mongers find alternatives (which further quells the interest in a potential new owner in buying it).

    For me, when I go down there in just about exactly one month, I will stay over in the Sosua/Cabarete area. According to feedback that I am hearing, hotels over there are re-opening, and restaurants are re-opening. If you have any "boots on the ground" intelligence to share, we would all be thankful !!

    MarsMan

    Jethro Gibbs

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #5 on: July 12, 2020, 12:24:11 AM »
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  • I don't normally go to Sosua or Cabarete so I won't be able to fill those squares.

    There is no actual curfew in place, however there's some enforcement going on when large groups congregate in front of colmados (little neighborhood food stores that also sell beer and liqour).  Saw 6 police officers doing this in one of the neighborhoods.   They were also shutting down large gatherings outside of homes.  I understand there's fairly strict enforcement of face coverings with hefty fines based on income.

    Oasis (FKA Field of Dreams) is closed.  Rumor has it that the current operating lease is up within the next few months and likely won't be renewed.  Has nothing to do with Covid or the current operator.  Seems there's a electrical issue with a pretty hefty price tag.

    Heard some more gossip that there is NO pending sale on BB's.  Could not independently verify the source.

    Most of the chicas I've seen this trip have put on an lb or two.

    Jumbo supermarket is checking everyone's temperature before entering the store.  Most of the major retail establishments are following social distancing guidelines.

    There is talk of a 1-2 week FULL shutdown.  It's not clear what impact this may have on the tourist sector.  They also may only do the shutdown in certain cities.

    This is kind of lull period politically between the recent elections and the inauguration of the president.

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #6 on: July 12, 2020, 10:29:37 AM »
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  • i dont know how long you are down there for jethro but i hope you dont get caught up in some of their political bs with shutdowns or possible shelter in place quarantines before or after travelling.  same goes for curfews

    Jethro Gibbs

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #7 on: July 13, 2020, 07:20:25 AM »
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  • Back home!

    All in all it was a good trip.  Returned through Santiago airport.  No hassles, no lines, social distancing in effect.  Jetblue check in lines were a bit more loaded.  Got upgraded to Business class so that was nice even though there was no food/beverage service. Flight attendant offered a large bottle of water and said if I wanted a drink to just let her know. If there were more than 50 people on the flight I would be surprised.

    Immigration in Miami was a breeze.  I use Mobile Passport (free) so I skip the kiosks and go right to the special line.  If you have ever come through Miami immigration you might recall that after you leave immigration you go down a set of escalators to get to the baggage area.  At the bottom of the escalator was a Customs officer with a (drug?) dog.  After I passed the dog, I heard someone say "sir, sir" so I looked back to see the little beagle had jumped on top of the roller bag of the guy behind me!  Didn't stick around to see the outcome!

    On the way to Santiago from Puerto Plata we passed Maimon.  This is the area that is well known for their inexpensive seafood restaurants.  It is just past the cruise port.  They were swamped!

    Jethro Gibbs

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #8 on: July 13, 2020, 07:23:06 AM »
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  • For shits and grins I drove down the road to Oasis and this is what I found.

    Jethro Gibbs

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #9 on: July 13, 2020, 07:32:26 AM »
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  • I went to Caribe Express one day to change money.  This was the line at 7:30am.  Now most of these people were retrieving money transfers and there is a separate line just for changing money so it was fairly quick.  Temperature checking in place.

    They wouldn't take any bills that had any kind of writing or other markings on them.  Strange.  Jenny's later took them with no issue.

    Lines in general at the money transfer businesses were generally lengthy.  Experienced the same at La Sirena and Jumbo.  Sunday morning right at opening, there was a line outside to get in to the inside line for the Caribe Express branch at Jumbo.

    MarsMan

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #10 on: July 13, 2020, 08:58:14 AM »
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    Back home!

    Immigration in Miami was a breeze.  I use Mobile Passport (free) so I skip the kiosks and go right to the special line.  If you have ever come through Miami immigration you might recall that after you leave immigration you go down a set of escalators to get to the baggage area.  At the bottom of the escalator was a Customs officer with a (drug?) dog.  After I passed the dog, I heard someone say "sir, sir" so I looked back to see the little beagle had jumped on top of the roller bag of the guy behind me!  Didn't stick around to see the outcome!

    Mabuhay/Hola/Sawasdee Sir Jethro Gibbs !!

    Thank you for the numerous updates, and I am happy that your trip was safe and successful. You have helped all of us Mongers by being one of the first sets of "boots on the ground".

    Your story of the beagle in the Baggage Claims area in Miami is very familiar to me. About 7 or 8 years ago, I was coming back to America on a flight from London. As I landed at DFW Airport, I got through Immigration, and was waiting in the Baggage Claims area for a bag. Our carousel was also being used for a flight from Mexico, as I recall.

    Anyway, I wasn't paying much attention to what was around me as I was focused on spotting my bag. And then I heard a stern voice say to the lady who was standing about 3 or 4 feet away from me (waiting for her bag) "Mam, do you have illegal fruits or vegetables in your bag?". So I looked over at her, and she said to the Customs Officer "no, I don't". And then I noticed a very cute little beagle sitting beside her bag. And the Officer said "Mam, this is a fruit beagle, and he is telling me that you have illegal fruit or vegetables in your bag". And then she said "I have an apple in there, I must have forgotten to eat it on the plane". So she got taken away !!  Imagine that: a "fruit beagle". I guess that he was trained to sniff out fruits/vegetables coming into the country illegally.

    Thanks, again, Sir Jethro.

    MarsMan

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #11 on: July 13, 2020, 09:53:13 AM »
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  • thanks for the headsup jethro.

    when u mentioned lease coming up and big dollar electrical problems that sounded like the kiss of death for FOD.  time will tell but i am sure like a phoenix, rising up out of the ruins,at some time in the future,  it will re create itself as something similar to what has always been there, probably much with the same results.

    the money thing, i find you dont want to take any old school hundreds. occasionally one might show up in a stack when going on a trip and you can get a change gal that thinks it is fake.  also dont want any tear's or rips or extremely worn.  they like the new bills with the counterfeit measures.  i just make sure my cash stash is all pretty and new looking.

    last year at the superbowl party, i either gave one of the girls a dollar with a rip in it or she tore it some how, but she came back around and traded it for a new one. lol   i just found that torn bill that got pushed back with travel documents and i taped it up and spent it on morning coffee. lol

    you mentioned the fruity lil dog, a couple years back, jimjames bought some kind of dominican beef stick jerky type meat that he just stuffed into an outside pocket of his suitcase when we were moving from FOD to the Su.  anyways, when we get back stateside, one of those dogs fell in love with jimjames suitcase.  i thought the dog was gonna hump it. lol  anyways, jim explained to the guy what he did, opened the outside pocket and all was well.   dog was smelling the residual from a handful of days before.  pretty good nose that dog had.

    i did something similar,  i had visited my son and we went to the range so he could try out different calibers of guns i had so he could make a decision on what he would like.  anyways, i bought ammo at the range (part of the deal, shoot their ammo, dont bring it in) anyways, i bought a handful of boxes and simply put the leftovers in the corner of my trunk.  well, after bouncing around on the way back to the sons house i found bullets rolling around in the trunk. i simply put them all back in the box and put them in the outside pocket on my suitcase.   

    i didnt think anything of it until i went to take the bullets out at home.  i then thought about running that bag through security and thought not a good idea. i just bought a new suitcase.    i had checked with a dog handler years back at the airport after that, he said the dogs could pick that up for quite a while.  he recommended leaving the pocket opened , wipe it out with a wet  cloth and just give it some time. 
    « Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 09:55:03 AM by ralphie1 »

    Jethro Gibbs

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #12 on: July 13, 2020, 01:43:18 PM »
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  • I know a lot of folks don't like using their debit/credit cards in the DR, but I have to say that even with ATM fees, it is equal to or a bit better than the exchange at the change houses.  For example, I withdrew RD$10,000 for a total of 10,200 with the 200 pesos ATM fee.  My bank doesn't charge ATM fees nor international transaction charges.  The debit to my account was US$175.30 for an effective exchange rate of RD$58.18 to 1 USD which is slightly higher than the rate ($58.10) at the change houses.

    In addition, I used my credit card with no foreign transaction fees and those exchange rates were a bit higher.

    For ATM withdrawals you're only limited by the cap on daily withdrawals you may have at your bank.  The ATMS typically restrict you to RD$10,000 but there's no limit to how many individual transactions you can do.  I once did 5 withdrawals of 10000 a piece!

    I know this isn't for everyone, and certainly I wouldn't advocate it for everyone, but it's an option to going into the back room at Jenny's or to Western Union at La Sirena.  Especially these days with the very long lines except at Jenny's.

    Again, just sharing information.

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #13 on: July 13, 2020, 02:54:13 PM »
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    I know a lot of folks don't like using their debit/credit cards in the DR, but I have to say that even with ATM fees, it is equal to or a bit better than the exchange at the change houses.  For example, I withdrew RD$10,000 for a total of 10,200 with the 200 pesos ATM fee.  My bank doesn't charge ATM fees nor international transaction charges.  The debit to my account was US$175.30 for an effective exchange rate of RD$58.18 to 1 USD which is slightly higher than the rate ($58.10) at the change houses.

    In addition, I used my credit card with no foreign transaction fees and those exchange rates were a bit higher.

    For ATM withdrawals you're only limited by the cap on daily withdrawals you may have at your bank.  The ATMS typically restrict you to RD$10,000 but there's no limit to how many individual transactions you can do.  I once did 5 withdrawals of 10000 a piece!

    I know this isn't for everyone, and certainly I wouldn't advocate it for everyone, but it's an option to going into the back room at Jenny's or to Western Union at La Sirena.  Especially these days with the very long lines except at Jenny's.

    Again, just sharing information.
    i am a trustee for a non profit and do community work with the local ceo of the bank, also a trustee.   a couple handful of years back he mentioned something about the atm, debit card, blah blah and i told him i had no idea how they worked.   told him i didnt have one because as i understood, you could only pull a couple hundred a day which at that time was the deal. i told him i would not leave the house with just 200 in my pocket so i never ever got an atm card.

    a year or two later, my wing and i were met in the DR by a friend who cannot follow instructions. (at that time, atm's were not plentiful and cash was absolutely king) to top it off, when he got there, he did not have any cash at all on him, not even to pay his cabbie, let alone tip him.   my wing and i started floating him cash.  that night, we find all the atm's were empty as it was a holiday weekend ,and  there was an extra day off with empty atm's.   

    my wing and i floated our bud for those first 2-3 days then spent so much free time running around looking for atm's.   it took til later in the week until our friend got caught up, paid for his room, and then started to pay us back.   
    at that time he was limited to how much and how many transactions he could make a day.

    i just never saw a use to only being able to get 2-400 dollars. i never get that broke. i guess maybe i need to look at it again
    « Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 03:18:31 PM by ralphie1 »

    Jethro Gibbs

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #14 on: July 13, 2020, 07:26:12 PM »
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  • I would never go fully cashless Ralphie.  That's a recipe for disaster as you very aptly demonstrated. 


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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #15 on: July 14, 2020, 02:35:12 AM »
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  • On my last trip to BB's I went to Jenny's to use their ATM...Never again.

    Never again.

    The ATM didn't dispense my 10,000 pesos after doing it the day before. It all worked out OK in the end but it was more drama than I needed for a vacation. My bank, Charles Swab refunded my money upon my return. Naturally, no other ATM was operational in the area. Some people are afraid of spiders, others fear bumps in the night. My fear? Being in the DR without access to more cash than I need. Never again.

    Lesson: Always bring (more) cash.

     

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #16 on: July 14, 2020, 06:21:13 AM »
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    I would never go fully cashless Ralphie.  That's a recipe for disaster as you very aptly demonstrated.
    [/size]

    Mabuhay/Hola/Sawasdee Sir Jethro Gibbs !!

    I agree 1000.00% with you: I would NEVER go cashless to any foreign country. WHAT A STUPID IDEA. Sounds like some damnable stupid, cheap-ass monger stupidity.

    Let me recount one perfectly good reason that I have for this. When I travel internationally, I always have my motto of "Always Have a Plan B (no, not the Plan B One Step "morning after pills", although I always have those, too) AND Always Have a Credit Card with a Large Cash Limit". This rule has saved my ass several times. One example:

    After I bought my condo in Pattaya, Thailand, I would travel over there at least 4-6 times a year, and would stay for 7-14 days each trip. On one trip, I had gone over and planned to stay for about 10 or 11 days. In those days, there was a lot of squabbling going on in Thailand between the faction that supported the populist government of Thaksin Shinawatra, and the conservative "royalist" government. The Thaksin people wore red shirts on Wednesdays, and the conservatives who supported the King wore yellow shirts on Tuesdays.

    Anyway, I was out eating at a restaurant when a friend of mine (he owned the condo next door to my condo, both on the 22nd floor of a tall condo building in Pattaya, Thailand) who was still in Houston called me on my cellphone. He asked "are you watching CNN?". And my reply was "no buddy, what's up on CNN?". And his reply was "they're streaming over the walls." And I asked "who's streaming over what walls?" The answer was that the Yellow Shirts (Royalists) were seizing the new Bangkok airport (Suvarnabhumi Airport, where all of the big international jets land to bring about 300,000 people a day to Thailand). I realized at that point that "I need to get out of here". Because if the airport was being seized today, it wasn't going to be open tomorrow (even though my return flight home was still 7 days away).

    So I went to a travel agent, and she suggested many things: "some people are taking a taxi over to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and flying out of there (but that was a 16-hour taxi ride !!)". And "some people are taking a taxi to Phuket (which is on an island off the coast of southwestern Thailand - this would require both a taxi and a ferry) because the Phuket airport is still open". Nope to that one too !! And then she said "or you can fly out of our airport". WHAT ???? Pattaya has an airport? I'd never heard of it. Actually thei Pattaya airport had (a) the longest and widest runway in the world at the time (because during the Vietnam war, the U.S. used to base B52 bombers there to fly over Cambodia and Laos to bomb the Ho Chi Minh trail) and a single gate.

    So I bought an expensive (think it was almost $400) one-way ticket from Pattaya's airport (called U-Tapao Airport, code is UTP) to Phuket (which is a major international airport). And I got the last seat on that flight. I flew late that evening to Phuket, and stayed at the beautiful Phuket Marriott Hotel. The next morning I flew a nice business class seat on Thai Airways from Phuket to Hong Kong. And was safely out of the country.

    Good thing that I did this, because millions of people got trapped inside Thailand for 21 days as the airport was shut down.

    Moral of the story: ALWAYS HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN IF NEEDED and ALWAYS HAVE PLENTY OF CASH AND CREDIT. This baloney of bringing no money so that a Monger can eek out an additional 2 pesos at Jenny's is, well, a dumb-ass idea. Enough said.

    And I bet that on your recently completed quick-trip to DR that you also had plenty of cash AND you had a back-up plan (what if they re-impose a quarantine while I am there).

    MarsMan

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #17 on: July 14, 2020, 06:42:53 AM »
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    And I bet that on your recently completed quick-trip to DR that you also had plenty of cash AND you had a back-up plan (what if they re-impose a quarantine while I am there).

    MarsMan

    Great story Marsman! Glad you could get out of there!  I came home with US 500 cash Marsman!  While I did not have a firm exit strategy, I kept my ears close to the ground and was ready to get to ANY airport at whatever cost to catch a flight to anywhere in the US also at whatever cost. 

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #18 on: July 14, 2020, 07:12:13 AM »
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  • I use cabañas for 100% of my bedroom activity.  Puerto Plata has 4 just before you enter town coming from Santiago.

    The way it works is you pull in to the attached garage, close the garage door and enter the cabaña.  Within a minute or two you get a call asking for your length of stay and if you need any food/beverages.  This is now the time for a little foreplay before the order arrives.  Just as you are about to stroke her clit, 'ding, ding', the bell rings indicating your refreshments and/or bill have arrived.  You go to the door on the wall open it and sitting there in the carousel is your cold large President and your tab.  Pro tip:  I typically include enough for a tip and tell the attendant NOT to bring change to avoid being interrupted.

    Now that you have your refreshments, back to foreplay, a shower, and ,,,,, well you get the point.  When you're done you just leave.  Most cabañas have some sort of music, TV's with porn channels and assorted amenities like jacuzzi's and even pools.  I typically bring my own bluetooth speaker and play music from my phone as I prefer that to the choice of music they have.  A regular cabaña can start at RD$4-600 for 4 hours all they way up RD$3000 for 'presidential suites'.

    If I were to contemplate a business in the DR, this would be it.  Every time I have been to one, regardless of the hour of the day, there have been a significant number of people fucking.  Dominicans always seem to find money to drink or fuck even though they may not have a pot to piss in!

    Here are some pictures of a cabaña I used while in Santiago.  Las Palmas is about halfway between the airport and city center.  It was RD$2,000 (US$35) for four hours. And yes, I did fuck in that pool  :motion:

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    Re: Current DR Observations
    « Reply #19 on: July 15, 2020, 07:44:37 PM »
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  • So I will leave you with my final "observations" of this trip.  Met her online several months ago.  We would talk on and off and she just piqued my interest.  I'm glad I got a chance to spend some time with her.  She is a 20 year old Haitian.  She has one of the most sensitive pussies I've had.  She's on my regular rotation now.

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