"Speed Bump Cafes" in the DR
The drive between the airport in Santo Domingo and La Cuchilla was an adventure by itself. The "highway" works its way through some larger cities and some very small communities. Driving in the DR is a little different. There aren't lanes, or street signs, stop signs, or rights of way. I do recall 2-3 stop lights after we left Santo Domingo, which were much more of a suggestion than the rule.
One very effective way that traffic is controlled on most of these main roads are through speed bumps, really big speed bumps. Dominicans have adapted to these speed bumps in a few very interesting ways.
You can easily tell if there are locals or tourists in the car by how the car goes over the speed bump. If the car goes over the speed bump at an angle, the people in the car are most likely not tourists. If the car goes straight at the speed bump at full speed the car is mostly likely filled with tourists. This also holds true for motorcycles too which is important to note because there are many more motorcycles than cars on the roads.
Taking these speed bumps straight on in a car can really damage your car. Taking these speed bumps on full speed in a motorcycle would get you some sweet air time.
Another way that people have adapted to these speed bumps are by what I coined as "speed bump cafes". Because you have to slow down so much for these, its a great opportunity to sell stuff to passing motorists. Almost every speed bump will have fruit stands, a farmer's market, hats, sunglasses, basically anything you can find at a gas station.
The speed bump cafes can be pretty overwhelming at first. When 4-5 people swarm your car trying to sell you anything from fish heads to t-shirts, it can get a little hectic and difficult to know if you're going to run someone over or not. But after a few days these can be pretty convenient if you want to grab something quick on the go.