|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|11-25-2001 07:02 AM|
Next time someone in uniform asks you to pay a tax, fine, or an outright bribe, smile and pay the man. Then thank him for his help and offer him a beer or some food. You might find he is just a regular guy, underpaid and trying to feed his kids.
A little cash on the side and friendly conversation might also gaurantee you help at a later date if you need it.
The best part is that you get to tell all your friends back home how you had to pay off the Navy to save your skin Trust me, it makes for a great story. If your really nice he might let you take his picture shaking your hand )
One word of caution... Don''t offer the bribe! Murphy''s law clearly states that you will find the "strictly by the book" cop. He will surely arrest you for attempting to bribe an officer! Anyone looking for a little under the table will ask you, or at least hint very strongly.
|11-07-2001 01:02 AM|
I am truly sorry of your experience in Luperon. Mine was the complete opposite as Luperon was one of the most friendliest ports of call including the Commandante of the Port ( who did not speak English). Fluency in spanish helped but is not required.
My concern is that you stated that you arrived Sunday night and went shopping on Monday morning. Did you follow the protocol of registering and establishing intent with the authorities before disembarking?
If you did not $210 was a very small price to pay. It could have cost you a few days in jail. I am certain that your encounter is a rare isolated incident and not reflective of the D.R. I spent two weeks there and had no problem or request for a 15% duty on any items purchased. We were on a 52'' Gulfstar with all the perks and were not searched or boarded at any time. We made a great deal of purchases and provisioned the vessel for an extended passage. I must conclude that there was something in your behaviour which resulted in being singled out.
Granted, No reason or excuse can justify your experience but the Dominicans are very strict especially when "drugs" are suspected.
Also there are "special" drug agents that work with the Navy and I "know" they can be very confrontational and corrupt.
Luperon is a great destination wwith a large sailing community and hope that this sort of behaviour with the local Navy does not continue.
|11-01-2001 01:05 PM|
It''s no wonder, when I see as much advice to just "roll with the punches" as this thread generated, that cruisers continue to be victimized by locals the world over. When people treat you badly, it''s only natural to complain. MORE natural than victimizing those who have done you no harm, regardless of how much wealthier and able to "afford to pay" you may percieve them to be. Perhaps if more than just the occasional victim were to complain vociferously to the authorities, things just MIGHT change... but as long as we castigate those who report these abuses to our community, they won''t.
Fire at will.
|07-30-2001 09:09 PM|
Don''t feel badly, we have all gone through this process before - many times. I was just passingly interested to see the type of boat you had - in that "would it attract any more attention" than the others around you ?
Its all a part of the learning curve in 3rd world countries. As discussed above, all whites in these areas are considered rich & in many areas to be milked at any opportunity. Obviously, this is not true of all areas - but it should be in the back of your mind.
Its just that over time in various areas, you will come to know what is an acceptable amount of graft, and typically, this is usually a "negotiable" process.
Anyway - the incident doesn''t look like it has dampened your enthuiasm - good deal !
|07-30-2001 10:13 AM|
As I read your responces and look back at my ordeal, I realize I was a complete newcomer to the cruising world. I will certainly heed your advises. I did not really present my self as arrogant or rich, I am neither. But I do understand what Mr. Honan stated on his reply. I guess I''ll have to learn the ways of extortion. Anyway, this event will not change my heading. I will just have to learn as I go. Thank you folks.
|07-29-2001 05:47 PM|
Just out of interest - what sort of boat are you sailing ?
I''ve read all the posts above & agree wholeheartedly with the comments.
Having said that, its been our experience (in SE Asia anyway) that the boats that attract the most attention from all & sundry tend to be the larger well maintained vessels - where the assumption is that "you can afford to pay" - taxes, fees etc are usually just a "face saving" way of extracting mulla from whities.
Bear in mind that many officials in these poorer countries supplement their megre wages in this way, and its just a way of life one has to accept when travelling these countries.
Like the others who frequent 3rd world countries, we know that the payment of bakseeh is an accepted way of life & if they don''t get it one way - they will get it some other way & that may well be unsavoury !!
|07-29-2001 02:42 PM|
Ahoy, Speedy92152. Homan is right in his reply to you. I lived and worked overseas for 15 years. I lived in Peru, Trinidad @ Tobago, Scotland, Norway, Libya, Hong Kong and Singapore. My two girls were born in Port
of Spain. Buksheesh, grease, "service fees"
are a way of life over there. I have been in
places that were battling rebels, having revolutions, burning the President in effigy
and was in Libya during it''s border skirmish
with Egypt. I helped from Tripoli when Iran
blew up and we were trying to get our people and some assets out of there. In all that time, in all those places, I have never once been in danger that I know of, or my family.
I bet the 15% "tax" on your purchases would have been a lot less than $210, and you would
have been done with it. Is it right? No. Are
we going to change it? No. If you go through the legal drill in a foreign country, they resent it. And some places will make you stay until the case is completely ajudicated.
For all the time trouble and effort, the penalty for a $210 dollar theft isn''t much. What will happen is they will wind up spreading their ill gotten gains around, and
nothing will happen to them. Don''t let it rile you. Just roll with it. I learned that
when I sense that it is comning, I offer a tip in gratitude for services rendered. I get to set the amount then, and I am in control, more or less. Notice animals in the wild. When a wolf starts after another which has snatched a piece of his carcass, as soon as the thief drops the piece, the chasing stops. Better to give a little than to wind up in a mess. It is just recognition of reality, a reality you didn''t created. When in Rome...etc.
|07-28-2001 03:32 PM|
Not to start anything or what, but in having traveled in the US, Canada, Asia, and Europe, and the DR as well, I have never encountered a problem with the local gendarmarie.
I think that maybe situations have a way of taking care of themselves. I also think that after being boarded and "searched" and having money stolen...instead of complaining to the DR Navy....I would have written the situation as a "bum deal or learning experience". Complaining to higher ups brought down the wrath of all below. Thats why you were told to leave....and I''ll bet $10.00 it wasn''t done with formal documents.
You have to remember that we as Americans who have the wherewithal to afford boats valued at more than the average Dominican will make in his or her lifetime....appear in teir world...and they want no more than a piece of the pie...even if they have to be nefarious to get it. I think had you negotiated the "tax" on the goods - you probably would still be there and having one heckuva good time. Had you talked earnestly with them and maybe made a "present of good faith" you would have a friend for life and maybe a person to watch over you or escort you...or show you the better places to go in the DR.
We operate and do things on a different level than most people in other countries...but yet when we travel to those other countries we just can''t seem to understand why they just can''t be like us....damn...really why can''t they??!~! And when it comes to the DR, its a place where Americans are welcome and the majority of the populace respects us...at least it was like that a few years ago when I was down there.
Maybe you should examine your modus operandi when in foreign ports...then maybe you won''t experience the downside. BTW...in Mexico what happened to you is called the collection of "Mordida". Nothing new...centuries old.
|07-23-2001 12:56 PM|
I am sorry to hear of this happening to you.I hope to cruise in a few years.(Liveaboard style).I will be single handed sailing also.
I sometimes worry that my dream will become a nightmare when I hear of this.
Maybe cruisers should run in packs.(i.e.3 or 4 boats traveling together or reasonably together)Saftey in numbers may be good.Also will the embassy help any?
The Navy always told us to travel in groups while in forigen lands,its alot harder to victimize 4 or 5 sailors and rob them etc,than if you travel alone.
Just my thoughts,
|07-23-2001 07:28 AM|
I was sorry to hear about your bad experience at Luperon. My experience was completely different and I found the people there wonderful. I did not have any contact with the Navy though, dealing directly with the local "commondante'', who is usually lord and master in those small towns. Luperon is one of the most popular cruising ports in the D.R. because it is so cruiser friendly. There is a marina there that is completely dependent on the cruisers and Bruce Van Sant (sp) makes his home there.
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