I was fortunate to be able to track down DR Escape’s website since it was only on SGT Report one day, and then disappeared, I contacted SGT and he sent me the link, and luckily I was able to make the tour in Mid-November 2012.
Being a former military man, I had spent time in the Tropics and have always had a strong desire to live in the tropics, and the Caribbean in particular. Seeing the writing on the wall here in the US, I inquired about coming down for the tour, and inadvertently made reservations to the wrong airport in the DR….This is where the story starts:
Barry promptly called me and informed me Willy would make the 3 hour trek (through the mountains, in the dark) and pick up our group of 3 for the tour. We arrived and had a whirl-wind packed tour…got to see private beaches, went to markets, got to meet many locals, attorneys, bankers, politicians, and “new family”. The people were extremely friendly, and willing to assist us in anyway they could. It is not an exaggeration, that you will see more in 4 days, than you would in months. My assessment is that rightly so, parts of DR get a Bad Rap for Crime, however, in a country of 10 Million People that goes with the big City Territory. The area we were fortunate enough to be in (Cabrera) has 34,000 people, a farming community if you will, with lots of beaches, great coast lines, mountains, and abundant fruit and vegetables (no pesticides), with fresh water coming out of the mountains! This does not take into account the Chicken, & Seafood. Speaking of seafood, we were standing outside of a restaurant and a local shrimper (on his bicycle), was selling 16-20 Size (per pound) freshly netted Shrimp for $3.50 per pound! What a deal!
Having been around the world a couple of times, it was surreal that Barry and his Troupe worked long and hard, day after day, to ensure our large group of 7 viewed as much of the DR as we could to ensure we had ample information, to “make an informed decision”. I was delighted to see the country, get to mingle with the locals, and not spend time in some resort, in short, not once did I feel unsafe, or threatened by the people or environment, and thought to myself, “I could live here”!.
Back to the story……When not on the tour, we spent time in town eating with the locals, indulging in the local beverage of passion fruit and Brugal, and on a particular evening, we were graciously invited to dinner (with Willy’s immediate family friends, our tour guides, and other DR Tour Escapees) (past and present), enjoying grilled chicken, fresh avocado, potatoes, pork steaks, El Presidente (Cerveza’s), and Excellent Dominican (hand rolled) cigars! Additionally, we even had an opportunity to see a newly built home, of excellent quality that was recently constructed. The home was breath taking to say the least.
Long story short, the time spent was sensational, genuine, and informative, I even got a hair cut for $2.50 from an excellent barber (now top that!!!) There are lots more details and I have just hit the highlights. I could go on and on, but you will have to experience it for yourself.
Oh, I forgot to mention that all in the group (but one), purchased acreage (from a parcel) and will be building new homes, and we will be neighbors here in “Our Tropical Paradise” on Gringo Ridge….for that new beginning, and opportunity, I would like to thank Barry, Willie, and all of those behind the scenes that willingly assisted us….In my mind, our most valuable commodity in this world is time. The DR Staff willingly shared theirs to help those wanting to have a new home, and “sit this one out”, while things unravel here in the US. I am delighted to have gone to the DR with an open mind, and realizing, that the DR is not the US, but then again….The US is not really the US we all grew-up in…..