Leaving Havana, Arriving in Santo Domingo

After a trip to Cuba, I planned a stopover in Dominican Republic in order to film an update and get some much-needed pick-up shots for the film. Upon leaving city, I arrived at the Havana airport with $35 dollars left in my pocket. This disappeared in paying the taxi and the exit visa fee, and with not a cent to my name I flew out of Cuba 3 hours later. I hadn’t eaten much of anything in the last day, just some rice and eggs and was very hungry. On the plane I received the same meal I had gotten two weeks earlier, which I had looked upon with disdain: pan con queso (stale white bread with cheese and “ham”). This time, I devoured it. Upon arriving to Dominican Republic – a total reverse culture shock: I went straight to the ATM and with relish got crisp Dominican Pesos; I rented a car; I stopped to buy gas, and paid with my credit card just because I could; going inside the gas station store I felt like a kid in candyland… Lays potato chips! Hershey bars! I was overwhelmed. These are things I normally avoid like the plague and here I was gorging on junk food. Yesterday night entering a grocery store was almost a spiritual experience. Shelves and shelves teeming with a seemingly endless variety… SO MANY OPTIONS, SO MUCH FOOD!!!!!!!! It’s like seeing two sister islands back to back, but feeling like I traveled to another planet. I went to sleep with my belly full, and 10 hours later, awake again for the next adventure. I am going to drive today to Santiago, 2 hours north, and visit the trash dump for the first time in four years.