Traffic in Lima – Is it the Worst?

I’ve heard lots of people tell me that Lima has the worst traffic… but then, Cairo, Dhaka, Bangkok, Delhi, LA, Santo Domingo, and a few others all claim that title. Even in Port of Spain, they claim to have the worst. I was inclined to say that Dhaka still holds the title. But, there are certain elements to Lima traffic that make it a contender — fear and boredom. In almost all cities with bad traffic, the “me first” aggression is the only way to get ahead, and in Lima, this is readily visible every time you step outside. During rush hour, the sheer numbers of cars all trying to go left from a right lane, or right from a left lane, or through red lights, is normal. There are many traffic cops and they will often override the traffic lights with their light sabers and whistles. The chances of getting in a traffic accident are high.

7t0oa9FNRs9oLFuAChnMfVsSt3iVJCV5USRD5s4kc3EmS_GwYFGNMpi8XabFDV7xWJ-6DfaTd0mt8XeZ4G4qN2JrivKtRwOAqEBxONsOyOuLac9EfDtw_mX9NUNz9kCkMs0SPr2GEyyIt4hGjZOqZktk3V2sOe0IRXIXoD5wKvGXILRm1mAx2BsAoPThen there’s the boredom. The hours spent in traffic (the painting above shows a day with light traffic). It can take an hour to go five miles. Apparently, Lima has grown as a city (9.5 million and counting) with commercial growth in the urban areas instead of expanding outwards. There is a business area to the south of the city but that seems to be it. Everyone else is commuting in to the city. When I say that it’s boring, I mean only if you get carsick from using your smart phone. Otherwise, if you keep your phone out of sight, and keep your wits about you, then…also, the traffic sights are not as interesting here. No camels, colorful rickshaws, overloaded carts, cattle, beggars, and so on. Just cars ad libitum. Ha.

Best Sushi in Santo Domingo

rnSQheZhm7nz_ArdDB5HGoqpHojHZXG32XMoTW_GHUH4IvtBrreMwsxCKwNux3cfHdUMnBoj96Xm0--E_SXZnfw9xdsTVl0yVmKyGE1l3ZyfGlZVwyJWYDWWp-rSaem3nIkDZmxnYYXeOEcGpXLVfS69mRb6d5fcl35ppOQPjbWIi_wTiEjmIz1SabI didn’t expect to find a good sushi restaurant in Santo Domingo (sorry, don’t be offended, DR!) but I did. Shibuya is located on the ground floor of the Blue Mall (one of the most expensive high end malls in the city) and it is part of the SBG restaurant chain. SBG has a cafe on the same floor. While Shibuya is Japanese, the dishes are a fusion of Japanese-Peruvian dishes.

ATMpoBjWiFtROkEZn6sdydy_OFjQ8LbB2t283ejU-2_nSr8uK69psYXqZ-NunEjPtqWmUFHk3reBesEGmo4i9M5fftRkdWCi1Kb-yEBUPWTuIeInpw6xWcCj-JjL9iEwqhmehyHKU3vRSl8j1PwDeU5xdhPX5POBnN34zrpJCc5rroEhmJGNwIaTjUFirst, yes, they have a Japanese chef… for those who use this as a marker for a good Japanese restaurant. I don’t think he works every day so I imagine that sometimes the Japanese food is made by non-Japanese hands…

-7nSXy9n4-1OaRa9WOfxHigPGcNOmTFlQucYJFWjiHX9APK8NkT3aqDrPOR4jfcoRI888paTHCZroTmhtXxSP1Vj2AaAVfIC37xLbMo9Dfh8S9RZXZMKkdlMXP_44uCl6yB63hS1C_bPaLTw3tamykrZN6k1j2X4OclN-i7XDp2m37GdT-UTApOV_LThe sushi place has excellent sashimi (raw fish like the salmon in the first photo — a double portion), tiridito dishes (Peruvian “carpaccio” of fish — thin slices with sauce. See the photo of the fish in the yellow sauce, above.), and ceviches (classic Peruvian style in photo above, with deep fried sweet potato deep and Peruvian corn). Many of the other dishes are good as well, as are their cocktails. I liked their “tuna tartare” which was like a large portion of Hawaiian “poke” (raw fish salad mixed with soy sauce, green onions, sesame seed oil, and chili or mayonnaise… you get the idea) with extra ingredients.

CqE2xJy5A5PjmNkdoBglp4BIw3zPQxMZ1FI4g-go2vNa1LNDAYrmMwVFw23t3Q7xgk6jnynQfhDoLWdt3VTGKTpGF9Oaxv-G2aTCPPBWgDjmkcsKK3qxxdO2GpwqBQOjt8Eh9uJGAStxY3VLoC4xWrxpaEFSXJmShxkeKLCdrmviNX8i5PHeqO4V3II ate that this restaurant more than ten times and had almost everything on the menu. Their fried rice is super crunchy. I think they toss quinoa in it to make it extra crunchy.

NXmEAj5nlX-RBFJZvg2FsgKcQmhQtZB_n1nvL0Y8ItoAUK6vzB6TdhbkMgKNT7a04quiDFEvsZZHLzPZn8qD8AGwWoLUp5NJg7kKTERoq-81LQ2HzP76DD7HMyxfkHc6MBKEAf7t8rJoI1yvD2f9GIcCvANbSvMhlRMJhFQUtXTIyNiDVl0PTAFBtmAnother surprise at this place is their coconut cake dessert. Not at all Japanese, but is a nice nod to the Caribbean. Try it! I wasn’t convinced as I recall the straw texture of desiccated coconut… this cake tasted like warm apple pie.

As for this place being the best sushi place in the DR, I didn’t eat at too many sushi places but this place was so good that I looked forward to eating there. Who needs to go anywhere else? It’s not this local fish place…


Playa Bonita at Las Terrenas

nI-JCyIIkicfFpz-fbRg6XvKuaTCF9-p7PiY3j74gQQqlxrbM015LvTp2OKUwxS_GM77paf9LZ38zmEzUr8y5K0qbFHry9-yrwA_xE_S1OSeP2yI2c2vvT5tTmnn8UHEoyQCyBjUD62cmlT_X_Y5HtUH23tRKS2g6hhPUmS2cYKZUNHtD5v5meqtPGIt’s not Punta Cana. I hear that Punta Cana is popular. Instead, the beaches at Las Terrenas are not as populated. Hardly anyone to be seen. Which is slightly surprising considering all the villas and hotels on the beach.

Szo6e03G7tzJe__tD4PJs3jbp32HdjNF9hfnXoLWtpxS7EmqECZiwyokghF_942yaDhjq4KJVDvbcKJ-OlwcEut5YGCLSbJdtAs-iTclVEEyiYNbr1G8h57gQVQ4akwP4JYaFcXmmhXjeMN-7Br4HM4GN6hukBinFQiumbScNnqe-Xqk59hgEUD-ThI was lucky to get driven there so I don’t know how to get there. But, I do know that we paid many tolls of hefty amounts (as in 8 bucks, 8 there, etc.) in Dominican cash. The drive took about three hours and went through an area of natural beauty.

1P90szb-4IVEZixPRAEgAZl6-CuNv8EmTE-bRTxSguU9SFQJuV25Uz6s5-gFAwu7yHFmYJaz_ids6_uXoipCe7_2bqzBA1gT5gQm5YiMSFfxgO09KG7zQJpLxGyUL-TXNYOWExubkkJ8mnh98vxI1MCFHgOjiyA_720xGb98B8zRFDBdaB8Wwn6k50Along the way, we stopped for some famous barbecue, at a gas station. It’s the Gran Parador Bellamar, Autopista Nordeste, Carretera Samana KM 1, Santo Domingo. After the first toll. It’s a good pitstop with toilet, cash machine, kiosk, etc.

dlTrmzkFwNOtb_t2x0-fmvTSVfDqJPMiRi-4nm_u1CNCEQ0lxqXdUZJMfJI1W05mNNzJNiDNJABcB7JCHKp3OKAIsBC1_vNNitOEmhlHvVCkQRoPhROaA5XmKfeLLroEtHl8sSRaEsownzQHwMKoV-eCyEienpi-eLu-6-Kdk64PkBKOuBKesviYm1We rented a luxury villa. I think there were enough beds for 10 or more people, and it was a good party house. But, also great for relaxing.  Our villa cost $500 per night but I’m sure there are much cheaper options.

l8XNYRx4W90alMLhaVppD7K0Z_QL_GcF7Xp668Rq0pWQVmHVFsd4PfYBNCDbDubeBcPYBhdcERSTRUnX_QEchXrqQz0TouKuplMSXoC1jwJRmBxrWE5ihY0dulEgI9LY-QtMLCQa89O93xvogARmD4jcNRzcupNUJgERVrluR8ZcGXVUBPo5AmWP_SSo pack up the cooler with drinks and food! You can probably find a colmado that will deliver!

GxhmvFNR0mVxjCAbyM0U1agKbIqD2QmqRW1KiKl8Jkj2Z0NvscNxxK1qtIiFD7p5fiRzUrTlCjUsX4x2IRa8MA8bkQaACTeTYUKRuFqEAYjwiw3jn22lejKeMF_mbd5zi1D0hhnB6sznd85nXDpxQ8ykOfJRjprcbUbgUNyjl3yK_57yjaeIc_2TwgOn the way back, we stopped for some chicharron. Chicharron is pork rind but with meat attached. It’s not like pork rinds in the U.S. This is like greasy barbecue.


I can’t tell you the location because it simply appeared, like magic.

The Corner Colmado – With Delivery

The “colmado” is a thing there in the Dominican Republic. It’s like a corner drugstore or a bodega… basically, what you need, or want, you can get at your local colmado. They deliver. The important thing is that they deliver beer. Really cold, icy, beer. “Bien fria” is the phrase for an icy cold beer. That’s easy Spanish. So, if you find yourself at an Airbnb or some other place here, get the number of your local colmado, and learn the phrase “bien fria” so that you can get your beers delivered. The colmado will deliver anything they have to your home. Even a single egg.

sm2_RAGnEBaotENYvaUtsxLzF41-z7plZ3_1Puf_1kszttpJkCC-2s-CQ8nnuTLVi-oSqCRMSKF8FtqKZT4ZpB6_Fje3X8qIobPF_lBFFh7XhYjVdayZ8E-AKab7zBcolpLqUIONmDVK1AlwENN7NmyPm8SesCN6OjIpb1LJXiFOvgJ8wmqVcoei_TThere are colmados on every street, which is hard to tell from my blurry photos out of the car…

For the Dominicans, this is their local pub, bar, local watering hole, hangout, a place where they go after work, on the weekends, to get a “bien fria” and chill. Maybe followed by some dancing. Not your stuffy organized “dahnce” but just the pop-up impromptu salsa that happens because your feel it in your feet, your arms, your soul. The music is in your DNA. And it wants to get down and express itself.

The Dominicans will turn any place into a party, from their local gas station, barber shop, corner store, and so on — into a place to chill with beer and dancing. Not just their colmado.

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The German Butcher – Santo Domingo

cyx-x2bmFSuPLKhvULzBVF0Z7e4aypsMdUNYLCfW2Cw0oktUK2GV3KlBKusza3lWdeUQPWgk66BszbDwsdIDUeZOu7cpfRM2f_cBm4P2onHmCCXUvujh2MbPfr43muE1ooKqDCiLDWiyzGdm2QB0QwVVXlvUJlAQA4W2aoB0XIG8W-CipxBshxR8AcThe larger than life Jamaican woman is the event. Sure, go for the ribs and potatoes too. Plus the German beer. But, mainly, it’s a good place to drink and carouse. Carolina, the Jamaican German who owns this place makes this one of those places where you feel welcome. (If you like fancy places, look away now.) 4IfY3rgceTBzv52wtBVsnyg1-JMDvIZU_hPoU63Yq_2YXCOoAIJvktbfLg5V6jTXmuyRxu3_-IFawD3rf61Sl8rx-9CVs6hsZOWfOvzReaKSGqj-TqI6CzznQ_zJLpii70LC7tvd3GXntrP23Z1ad4LZRKn7sC13vO39CYiVuGYEUuAY-nS-bzNo3kIt’s a self service sort of place, or rather, self order. There are various men and boys, like the baker’s son, who will deliver your food to you, but you order stuff inside. This is a place where the water is the most expensive item on the menu. A lunch plate for two of ribs and potatoes (split open like hot cross buns and soaked in chives and butter), with meatball thrown in, cost around 545 pesos ($10). The potatoes are golden mega-nuggets of comfort. dKyW3Z0F5ScYrVCE2B2_a2ZgPcuqOMqagSa4dCGyirfHzM23BSUxqVfX6ttvA2QKaROvBCtd90BnQL9Dvpish3l-W6e6HNqmpZZTDGmdabD6F7d3OEpxR4P3K_wPdEfCQbbKmzyBO27WjGYF5W0cIu0FJsYBrLJJPw3YjCeqpuXGfklwXNa2sDDDu1Carolina (great name for a lady who serves barbecue) serves grilled ribs, sausages, meatballs, and she sells them too. The addictive potatoes are the accompaniment, and when she remembers, there is sauerkraut. The only sauce is a sweet mustard, unless she remembers to make a chili sauce. When I asked for chili sauce, she brought me the tiniest chili peppers (they were under an inch in size) to chew on. I did. equF8p2QC-z4cMp90v8eGMDR2Dgrxo8KRz11pbiwraaeYdwW7z94B5Zwj4KH5bQSQDdKPi474sF8kryvDKXC-YxymlDezd6wq-u-vxxqdXzl50AHVa1yNfbfJQnhnILwYj9BsvJqGehy0KCTA6ATRcLqYboEw91fR-2AhaXSP1oWJRixdo7PyQwSOuThe location is on a street off the malecon (coast road): Calle Hermanas Mirabal, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This place is easy to find on Google. Once you find the street, the restaurant is a few hundred yards up the street, next to another stall. The German place is quite large with a small beer garden feel. There are lots of fans and shade to keep you cool if the icy cold beer doesn’t. Inside, you order your food at the deli counter and the beers at the other corner. They will keep track on a chit and you pay when you leave. Not sure about credit cards as I paid cash. Inside, the German Baker had a table set up selling his breads. He sells pretzel bread and many other items.NVQSSpyyO7z3DETLop7Ubg-IgttbdQgqSj3oE7Xh_BItfsI35xfrtpER9AUHbdG7u2I1pYx3FSHS-4SMBFR21ZRoJZeixa8LEIz5ViokrvuRLEmX_XqGPA03Lhj2WTxaLtPtrCY5kAykAjrOm1kBjipFSKj1sr5pZVb3soqn2OROOoGHIZPq7syDMXYou can’t miss it as Carolina will be the LOUD large lady yelling and singing in Spanish, German, and English. She likes to talk dirty and flirt in a big way. If you get there before noon, she may be less racy. May. Be. She does thirsty work so we bought her many a beer and she sat with us, in between bursts of hugging, dancing, or yelling!G4O-1szHb3JClupnPexDTRYgR_SZbv1XTWS129bHm1un25vj4SecDzr8o1mjRhGgigITtTIIpJjIqQ3NL-ZcvgxXB8fFCt31VtdPxKEfueiIylnW8snOEhm6KcauhQ7Wrg07_fuC4Yg1EapsMPM7VgupIPjyf-OEBSPo9iyMKTDnd11-dNFd7Snv6mSometimes there is entertainment, other than Carolina, and that will bring about more carousing. Despite this place being “famous” — it doesn’t feel super touristy. Maybe because Anthony Bourdain hasn’t been here.gucL1lJ-qUxTveLWr4Nbitq16LLWqfQd9PwAh_DfamRlORCDVJCnp2-Vei98_2jb6M2vhzfKOPeDfqyUzUikXHvuxS9uYMVezbI_7T1dq6mJ4hYBdv78nWmUiKkvgLY18owc9MnLl0lRxXjrZcg3kINNb8XoSrHbBAnaG-FzjM5E9P7yPNMrcW_laoIf I lived here, I would probably be here every Saturday. EqHVIBHIwgvEEHOiBIeJuE72323iPlIEP3nw8hYxSKmbl-6Gg4LNYWT6IffXhm__tSe4A-NXmrUAkypUsDdF5jsvh6AaVZlD6a7MQaH9yBNGoeQvxyLyhvdlgU14t95ufZPmP2YXE2yHMqfQJC--iQaRtz__0zkEsUCjaZks5xY4u7ALbvoGksk0sE

Los Tres Ojos – The Three Eyes

IMG_4358If you want to be enchanted for a an hour or so, visit Los Tres Ojos, early on a Sunday morning. Then only the touts and tour guides will harass you on the surface.

IMG_4334Once you get down into the caves, it will just be you, a turtle, bats, fish, and lots of humidity. Pay the ferryman for the barge ride and enjoy the hidden world on the other side. With the entrance fee (up top) and the ferryman, it’s a cheap hour’s distraction. I think it was 100 pesos and 25 for the ride (2 bucks and 50 cents). Los Tres Ojos is located right off a major highway in Santo Domingo, and ten minute drive from colonial part of town.

IMG_4370There are a lot of stairs…

Having “done” this by 11 a.m., I felt quite good about going out to lunch before taking an epic siesta.

If It Looks Like a Taxi; Then It’s A Bus

Here in Santo Domingo, the traffic is hellish. That seems to be the collective consensus. I still think Dhaka wins. It’s true that there are many cars on the road here and traffic lights and lanes are mere suggestions, but, the sewers are underground here…

Back to the subject of the taxi. The sedan cars that look like a beat up taxi are actually not a taxi. Even if it has the little trapezoid perched on top with the word, “taxi” written on it. It’s a bus of sorts. It will drive a fixed route, usually up and down a straight stretch of road, picking up and disgorging as many people as can mush themselves into the car — like those clown cars from the circus.

Phap_KIZU_ktdsCEThVlkA7qMXAwEM8H35aJSxt4rqDuAPZ8WouB5_9ELSuGyuOVHClWBxHj0jCmz_-N9gh9a0RA_66jXn3c7Tr-7dAGtovhCfaiWzPkzsMxh-LaOHoJayYyPnSSUnw8v1kiTb1V6J2A4n5NlSK01z46hPV-rnJ9_ICvzhzelZdQO8The taxis here are fairly invisible like Uber or Lyft in the U.S. They have Uber here and that seems to be the most popular. They even have Uber Moto here… Another popular taxi service is Apolo taxi. Every ride seems to only cost between 180-300 pesos (3.8-6 bucks) which is much cheaper than many other chauffeur services. Apolo taxi has an app but when I ordered via phone, they even understand MY Spanish. The dispatcher will tell you how many minutes before the ride arrives, the color, make, and a four digit driver number (not the license plate number). I also ask how much it will cost.

The drivers usually only speak Spanish and I even had a semi-intelligent conversation with one, even though he called me a “pendeja” which I pretended not to understand since I assume he meant it in a nice way…