Norfolk Island – Former British Penal Settlement and Home to World Heritage Convict Ruins

Norfolk Island was part of Australian territory, but had been granted limited self-government until July 2016. The island’s unspoiled nature and beautiful scenery attracts more than 20,000 visitors each year. At first glance, it may be hard to believe it was ever a penal colony. Despite being featured in the classic film, “Mutiny on the Bounty”, Norfolk Island isn’t that well known in Japan. So, we set off to explore what this beautiful island has to offer. The ccTLD for Norfolk Island is “.nf“.

♦Where is Norfolk Island?

The island lies east of Australia at latitude 29°02 South and longitude 167°57 East. It is situated between Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand. In 1774, Captain James Cook sighted and landed on Norfolk Island, naming it after the Duke of Norfolk. The island has an area of 34.6 km2 and a population of 2,210 (as of 2014). The currency used is the Australian Dollar (AUD). Norfolk is also the name of a city in southeastern Virginia and a county of eastern England.
* As of June 2023

= Table of Contents =

◆Norfolk Pine – Another Kind of Christmas Tree

◆Unique Museum with the World’s Only Phonebook Listing People by Nickname

◆World Heritage Australian Convict Sites

◆Norfolk Island Cuisine

◆Hiking to Beautiful Secret Beach

◆Sea of Green Handprints & Miscellaneous Norfolk Island Information

◆Finding “.nf” Around Town

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed


◆Norfolk Pine – Another Kind of Christmas Tree

The Norfolk pine is a native evergreen tree that has become the local icon. It’s even depicted on the flag.

We flew to Norfolk Island from Brisbane airport in Australia. It took about two hours. As you come in to land, you can see lots of Norfolk pines from the window.

We arrive at Norfolk Island Airport. There really wasn’t anyone there, apart from the airport staff.

The tiny airport looks like a couple of cute cottages.

We also saw many Norfolk pines around the airport. The Norfolk pine can be used as a Christmas tree because of its beautiful conical shape, characteristic of conifers. Unusually, it’s also a popular and easy to care for houseplant.

Get up close and you’ll be impressed by its size. They can reach up to 60 meters. That’s the height of a 20-story building!

While these pine trees are found all over the island, there is one in particular that has become famous. It’s known as the “Lone Pine” and is often mentioned in tourist guidebooks and other publications. Standing conspicuously in a world heritage area called Point Hunter, this lone figure has managed to survive for centuries.

If you view it from Emily Bay, you’ll feel the full impact of just how solitary it is.

Emily Bay is also a great spot for swimming.


◆Unique Museum with the World’s Only Phonebook Listing People by Nickname

We next visit the Bounty Museum to learn more about the history of Norfolk Island. It’s about a 5-minute drive from the tourist information center in Kingston.

It’s open daily from 10:00am to 4:00pm. There are no closed days. Five rooms display historical items and collections dating back to 1788.

It costs $15 AUD to enter. You can then visit as many times as you like during your trip. There’s also WiFi.

After paying the admission fee, the museum staff will give you a brief introduction to the museum. They also showed us the Pitcairn Islands flag and told us that descendants of the Bounty mutineers moved here from the Pitcairn Islands in 1856 and became primary residents of Norfolk Island from that time onwards.

Bounty Museum also broadcasts a FM radio station.

We go inside. Wow! We were blown away by the size and number of exhibits!

It would be impossible to see it all in one visit. I guess that’s why they let you come back as many times as you like.

Model of the ship “Bounty”, famous for the Mutiny on the Bounty. Also, there are many different items that are part of the Mutiny collection.

In the late 1780’s, Britain started exiling convicts to such places as Australia and Norfolk Island. Many prisons and barracks were built here on the island. Exhibitions show us the inhumane conditions the convicts were kept in.

Convicts weren’t only men. There were also women and children. A number of indigenous Australians were also forced into hard labor. You can even touch and hold the same chains prisoners were once chained to.

Severe penalties were imposed on prisoners for a variety of reasons:

  • For having a pipe
  • For not walking fast enough
  • For doing up shoelaces when muster was called
  • For having tobacco – later gagged for complaining
  • For having tobacco – later gagged for complaining
  • For asking a Gaoler for a chew of tobacco
  • For having a tamed bird
  • For saying “Oh my God” while on the chain
  • For smiling while on the chain
  • For having some raveling from old pair of trousers
  • For walking across the prison yard to make an enquiry
  • For singing a song

These violations could be punished with 50 or more lashes and 10 days imprisonment, and in some cases, they were confined to a cell with 13 other prisoners, with only enough space to stand.

Tools used for whaling and photos from that time period were also on display.

A booth displaying audio equipment and cameras once used on the island.

Here’s a Sony radio. Looks like it’s in pretty good condition.

This old cinematography camera was used on Pitcairn Island many times.

This is a telephone directory. Phone numbers are listed next to names such as Beef, Cane Toad, Carrots, Dar Bizziebee, Duck, Grin Lettuce Leaf, Moose, Moonie, Onion, Hunky and Boo.

This is the “world’s only telephone directory to list people by nickname”. In most cases, while we know their nickname, their real name is unknown.

Fun facts about Norfolk Island:

  1. 1Norfolk Island has the NSW post code of 2899 but is not part of New South Wales.
  2. Norfolk Island votes in the Canberra electorate of Bean, but is not part of the Australian Capital Territory.
  3. Norfolk Islands’ health and education is provided by QLD but it is not part of Queensland.
  4. Norfolk Island’s television stations are broadcast from Alice Springs but it is not part of the Northern Territory.
  5. Norfolk Island’s phone country code is 672 (Antarctica) yet it is not part of Antarctica.
  6. Norfolk Island is an external Territory of Australia, yet it has no direct shipping service to or from Australia.
  7. Norfolk Island’s official airline is not the Australian registered flag carrier Qantas, but Air New Zealand.

As we leave the museum, we suddenly come across a cow and her calf. They weren’t there when we arrived. The calf was eagerly drinking milk from its mom. I hope you grow big and strong, little calf.

World Heritage Australian Convict Sites

Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) was once a convict settlement during the period of convict transportation to Eastern Australia from 1788 to 1855. On July 31st, 2010, it became one of 11 Australian World Heritage Convict Sites. The registered area covers 225 hectares. That’s about the same as 48 Tokyo Domes!

As we walk through the area, we happen upon a small, free resource center called “The R.E.O”. Let’s take a look inside.

Various items related to the convict site are on display.

There is quite a number of norfolkislandmuseums scattered throughout the large historic area. There is also a tour bus available that goes around to each museum, but we didn’t go on it this time.

Site of the original prison complex.

These are the ruins of a three-story building, which began construction in 1829 and after its completion in 1835, housed around 973 prisoners.

As it is a world heritage site, the area is kept tidy and free from any rubbish. We got the impression that the entire area is very well looked after. This green building was a public restroom.

An observatory built on a slightly elevated hill. Queen Elizabeth II visited on February 11, 1974, during a visit to Norfolk Island.

Nearby there was a bench built in memory of Ian Kenny, a Norfolk Island businessman heavily involved in the tourist industry, who died in 2009.


◆Norfolk Island Cuisine

・Bounty Bar & Grill

When we asked at the hotel where the best places to eat are, they first recommended Bounty Bar & Grill. They went ahead and made a reservation for us. The staff here at the hotel are Russian, but have spent most of their lives on Norfolk Island.

It’s already getting pretty dark. With so few street lights, it was a little difficult to find the restaurant, but in the end, we found it.

The atmosphere in this early 1900’s building was very quaint and relaxed.

There were some really gorgeous pieces of antique furniture.

We ordered the steak and grilled fish, which came with plenty of local produce. It was the owner’s recommendation. The steak came with lots of butter.

After our meal, we had dessert and Irish coffee. Everything we had was delicious and the restaurant was cosy and comfortable.

The friendly owner who was happy to have their picture taken.

After paying the bill and just as we were about to leave, the owner invited us to take a look at the kitchen. The friendly and welcoming chefs are originally from Fiji.


・The Olive Cafe

We had breakfast at The Olive Cafe.

As soon as you enter, you’ll notice the Specials of the Day.

It was empty when we first arrived, but it was soon filled with locals and tourists.

A corner selling miscellaneous goods.

It’s a very stylish cafe.

Nice big portions, too.


Latte art.

You can read The Norfolk Islander if you’d like.

It includes the puzzle game, sudoku.


・Hilli restaurant cafe

Hilli Restaurant & Cafe is relatively new and includes an art gallery and some other facilities.

Everything looks so good on the lunch menu that we had a hard time choosing.

In the end, we ordered the lunch plate.


The hamburger was thick and juicy. The word “Hilli” is the Norfuk word for sleepy or lazy. In other words, it’s a cafe-restaurant where you can relax and eat until you’re full and maybe a bit sleepy. Our experience was exactly as the name suggests.


◆Hiking to Beautiful Secret Beach

At Anson Bay, there is a beach that is a well-kept secret. We didn’t realize until we arrived there, but the beach is actually under the cliffs. You can only get there on foot. There’s not long until sunset so we’d better get going.


We follow the signs as we go down.

The path twists and turns so it’s not such a steep decent. It’s relatively easy. The walk back up is probably going to be tough, but we try not to think about it for now.

The path is closed beyond this point due to a land slip. We keep going, using a different route that has a slight incline.

The path travels along the bare hillside.

We’re getting closer to the beach now. But it’s still some distance away.

We stop and take a break on this bench.

Finally, we reach the beach! It’s the perfect spot to watch the sun set so it’s become a popular tourist spot on the island. But today, there was nobody but us.


◆Sea of Green Handprints & Miscellaneous Norfolk Island Information

We stayed at Aloha Apartments, which is long-term accommodation with kitchens and other facilities. The kitchen is equipped with all the dishes and utensils you could ever need. A lot of accommodation is like this on the island.

Living room.

Bedroom. There’s no air-conditioning unit, same as the living room.

Why not? According to information provided, air-conditioning is not permitted on Norfolk Island. The average maximum temperature in February, the hottest month on the island, is 25°C, and the average minimum temperature in August, the coldest month, is 15°C. It certainly seems possible to live here without a/c. We fell asleep with the window open and ended up getting really cold!

While strolling the streets of Kingston, we came across a live jazz band.

On this trip we decided to rent a car. Arrangements can be made through ‘Aloha Rent-a-Car’, an affiliate of Aloha Apartments, where we are staying. An international driver’s license isn’t needed as they accept Japanese licenses.

You will be able to choose where you want to return the car. We decided to return the car at the airport carpark. Helpfully, each Aloha Apartment comes with its own parking space.

You’ll need to be careful of cows while driving. We saw a car waiting for a cow to cross the street.

Some buildings have cattle grids to prevent cows from entering.

Cattle roam freely on the island. Cars drive on the left side of the road, the same as in Japan. If you ever find yourself having to drive around Norfolk Island, just be sure to take it easy.

Near the Norfolk Shopping mall, we saw a large number of handprints. There were so many!

If you look closely, you’ll see there is a name written with each green handprint. What does it mean?

It’s a display for “Hands Up for Democracy”, a group of residents fighting against Australian rule and calling for a return to self-rule.


 ◆Finding “.nf” Around Town

Unfortunately, we didn’t see “.nf” at many places around town. A company run by local artists who design jewelry and other items. Their e-mail address uses “.nf”.

Company van for a local bakery.


◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

SIM cards from mainland Australia cannot be used on Norfolk Island, so you will need to purchase one locally. There is just one telecommunication carrier, Norfolk Telecom. We popped in to Norfolk Telecom (close to 9 New Cascade Rd), which we had looked up beforehand, but found they had relocated to the Bicentennial Complex, near the information center.

We head to the tourist information center. We can’t see anywhere that looks like Norfolk Telecom. We decide to check out the green building, and as it happens, it’s where Norfolk Telecom has relocated to.

There is only one SIM card plan for travelers. That keeps things simple. It cost $30 AUD (Aprox. 2,820 JPY), $10 AUD (aprox 940 JPY) of which goes towards the SIM card. It gives you 2GB, valid for 21 days.

A measurement we took near the information center showed 6.2 Mbps.


■List of Places Visited

■For access to Norfolk Island here

■For “.nf” domain details here

■For “” domain details here

■For “” domain details here

■For “” domain details here

■For “” domain details here

Injected in the Backside in a World Heritage City and Columbus’ Final Home! Visiting the Dominican Republic, the Only Caribbean Island With an Underground Railway

The Dominican Republic is a super power in the baseball world, having produced many major league players. The Carp Academy is also located there and was set up by the Hiroshima Toyo Carp baseball team to discover and train foreign players. It’s also a popular beach destination for visitors from the USA and Europe. Our Domain Island Tour expedition decided to investigate the attractions found at Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic and a World Heritage city. The ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain) assigned to the Dominican Republic is “.do”. The “.do” can be read as the English verb “do”, which is often used to mean taking action or performing an activity.

◆Where is the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic is located on the Caribbean island Hispaniola, between North and South America. Hispaniola has an area of 74,700km2. Hispaniola is divided into two nations: Haiti in the West and the Dominican Republic in the Eastern two-thirds of the island. The Dominican Republic is a former Spanish territory and the main language is Spanish. The currency used is the Dominican Peso (RD$). 

= 目次 =

◆The Flight Attendant who Practiced Baseball With Beans

◆We Couldn’t Communicate in English! Trying the Caribbean’s Only Underground Railway

◆Columbus’ Final Home – A Dominican Republic Food Report

◆Japanese Restaurant Hopping – We Loved “SAMURAI”

◆Walk-in to the Hospital and Get Jabbed in the Buttocks

◆Domain Name Registry Location is a University- Finding “.do” Around Town

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

◆The Flight Attendant who Practiced Baseball With Beans

After visiting the Commonwealth of Dominica, we hopped on a InterCaribbean Airways propeller airplane and flew to the Dominican Republic. It was a small plane, with a capacity for only about 30 passengers.

After about an hour we landed at Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on the British Virgin Islands. This is the same airport we’ve visitied before to investigate the tax haven, the Virgin Islands.
All the passengers got off at this point, except us. We were told to stay on board, since our destination was the Dominican Republic.

In the wait before departure, a crew member cleaned the toilet with detergent.

A member of the cabin crew handed out water. When I said thank you, he smiled and gave me the thumbs-up. His name was Stewart. As he is Dominican, we asked if he likes baseball. He said he does. He told us he used to practice baseball using small beans when he was a kid. No wonder everyone is so good at baseball. Truly a baseball superpower! Some time later our plane once again took off with about 10 on board, heading to the Dominican Republic.

About an hour later, we arrived at Las Américas International Airport, Dominican Republic. While walking through the airport I thought I’d come across a Uniqlo, but it was actually a store called MINISO. MINISO, operated by a Chinese company, sells miscellaneous goods in countries around the world. It’s “Japanese-like” marketing, including their logo that has an uncanny resemblance to Japanese stores Muji and Uniqlo, blew up on social media in July 2022. Eventually the company declared it would end it’s Japanese-like marketing by March 2023, but at the time of writing this, the logo has yet to change.

Airport bathroom sign. Unlike the signs in Japan, these figures have no arms.

We make our way to the capital, Santo Domingo. Uber is available in and around Santo Domingo. It’s not a problem if you can’t speak Spanish. However, as many cars here only have number plates on the back it can be hard to confirm your car, so we used the chat function to meet up with our driver.

Vehicles in the Dominican Republic are only legally obligated to have a number plate on the back, so on the front they can use whatever plate they like.
This car, as you can see, has Dominican Republic plates on the back…

From the front though, it looks just like any car driving in Japan with Gunma prefecture plates.

He played salsa music in the car, which lifted our energy. We used Uber a lot during this trip and many of the drivers played salsa music.


The roads in Santo Domingo are heavily congested and it’s difficult to get very far. During a stop, our driver suddenly starts talking with a person on a motorbike next to us. I was worried they were going to start arguing, but all he did was buy a drink.

He gave some to us too. It tasted a bit like the energy drink Lipovitan D. Incidentally, the cars we saw in the Commonwealth of Dominica were mainly Japanese, while most of the cars here seem to come from South Korea.

We made it to our destination. He gave us the thumbs-up when we thanked him. Just like Stewart, who we met on the plane.

Even out of the car, we were held up by traffic. It’s very different from the Commonwealth of Dominica, which has no traffic lights.

◆We Couldn’t Communicate in English! Trying the Caribbean’s Only Underground Railway

We make our way to Eduardo Brito Station in Santo Domingo to take the only underground railway in the Caribbean. The station is named after the famous singer, Eduardo Brito. The entrance has a beautiful, modern design.

There are no ticket vending machines inside the station. You need to buy your ticket at a counter. But, we couldn’t use English. We had to use a translation app to communicate. We discovered that they don’t accept US dollars or credit cards, only the local currency, Dominican pesos.

It cost RD$15 for one ticket. A one-day unlimited pass costs RD$80. Metro cards, similar to the Suica card in Japan, are pre-charged with RD$60 and can be recharged thereafter.

We didn’t have any Dominican pesos on us that day, so we gave up on riding the subway.

The next day, after getting some local currency through our hotel, we tried again. 1 USD is approximately 50 Dominican pesos (RD$). The bank notes have a stylish, almost european design.

We tried again at Juan Ulises García Saleta metro station. The station is named after Juan Ulises García Saleta, the first president of the Dominican Olympic Committee (COD).

It’s spacious and clean.

We head to a counter. Let’s give this another try! After meeting people in the Dominican Republic, we soon came to realize that most don’t speak English at all. The leader of the Domain Island Tour, who has explored more than 30 islands with domains, said that the only other country he knows where English is not spoken to the same extent would be China.
Staff in the airport generally spoke English, but once outside of the airport we found few English speakers. As for hotel staff, only about half knew any English. But hardly any restaurant servers, railway staff or university students seem to be able to speak English. We found this very surprising because the city is located just south of the Florida peninsula and is home to many American companies such as McDonald’s.

We successfully bought our train tickets!

It’s a cool design.

The train arrives at the platform.

The inside is clean. There weren’t any performers or buskers on the train.

We got off at the next stop, the Freddy Beras Gogico station. The station is known as Beras-Goico and is named after Freddy Beras Gogico, a Dominican comedian with a career of over 30 years.
It was a very pleasant underground experience, except for the fact tickets could only be purchased with cash. We boarded at 9am, but it wasn’t particularly crowded.

Exiting at street level, there is a lot of traffic, and although it’s hard to tell from the pictures, the exhaust fumes were so bad you may want to wear a mask. None of the locals wear masks though.

any of the motorbikes waiting near the station have space for people to ride on the back. It seems to be a motorbike taxi service called Motoconcho.

The price of taking a motoconcho taxi is negotiable and they can be used to transport animals and other goods. Passengers aren’t required to wear helmets.

I would’ve liked to give Motoconcho a try, but not only do I not speak Spanish but JICA (Japan International Co-operation Organization) members are prohibited to use Motoconcho due to safety concerns, so Domain Island Tours decided to avoid using them too.
Near the station, someone was stopped by police.

◆Columbus’ Final Home – A Dominican Republic Food Report

We visited Columbus Park, one of the most popular tourist attractions. There’s a statue of Columbus, the man who discovered Hispaniola. Santo Domingo was the first city founded by Columbus. He visited three times in order to promote his colonial policies. Columbus and his family settled here for three generations, including his own children, and it became his final home.

Right next door is the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor. It was the first cathedral built in what was known then as the New World.

The square is home to several historic buildings and it’s a place where people gather at night to relax and enjoy themselves. The area was decorated with neon signs and loud music was playing.

It was beautiful, just like a scene in a painting.

We decided to have dinner at La Marchanta Restaurant in Columbus Square. We had done our research beforehand and now it was time to enjoy some local Dominican food. First we ordered a Pina Colada (RD$325) and a Sangria (RD$295). Both went down easily, but the alcohol content seemed quite high and we were soon a bit tipsy.

We ordered food. This dish is called Mofongo (RD$380). With potatoes, beans and meat, it was like potato salad, just without the usual sourness from vinegar. Eaten plain the amount would’ve been slightly overwhelming, but adding the salty sauce that came with it made it taste better. The drinks are going down well.

Next, we had Bandera Dominicana (RD$380). That translates to “the Dominican flag”. Sometimes it’s simply called “la bandera” meaning “the flag”.
Like a lunch set meal that changes daily, the main course changes day to day, with meat or fish etc. The main components are rice, main (meat, fish etc), beans and vegetables on a single plate. The brown liquid was like a thin, very light tasting soup curry. The beef was lightly seasoned and delicious. The rice was dry but not inedible. The salad was ok. Overall, it was a satisfying meal. This style of 4 dishes on one plate is a common way of eating. It’s said to be named after the way it’s served, which resembles the flag of the Dominican Republic.

But when I mentioned the dish to our Uber driver he had no idea what I was talking about, so it seems it’s not very well known among the locals.

After we finished our dinner we walked about 20 minutes to the underground. Obedient to our Google Maps directions, we even went down this narrow alleyway.

It started to rain. The station still seemed far away, so we were about to give up and call an Uber when a woman we were passing told us not to take out our phones in these streets. Her comment reminded us that the Dominican Republic was listed as the third most dangerous destination by an American travel advisory.

It’s best to be careful at night in any country.

◆Japanese Restaurant Hopping – We Loved “SAMURAI”

The staple food of the Dominican Republic is rice, so there are many Japanese restaurants. This time we visited four.


Our first stop is “Shibuya”, located in the Blue Mall shopping mall. This shopping mall is connected to a hotel. When we got out of the car, hotel staff came running up to take our luggage, even though we weren’t staying there. When we thanked them, of course we got the thumbs-up!

Although it didn’t feel like we were in Shibuya, it was pretty busy.

It’s not like America where a set member of staff is assigned to your table, it’s more like Japan where you can call on the staff as appropriate. English menus can be requested. Truly a fancy restaurant. Anyway, let’s order some food.

This was the shrimp fried rice (RD$365). Looks pretty good doesn’t it. But, take a bite and you find out it’s crunchy! It’s all slightly burnt. The seasoning was good, but honestly it wasn’t easy to finish this dish.

Vibrant salmon carpaccio with orange sauce (RD$795).

Sushi rolls without rice, with fried shrimp and avocado and rolled in tuna instead of nori seaweed (RD$620). An instaworthy shot.

Dominican-style Poke, a very sour dish with lemongrass (RD$795).



Our next stop was SAMURAI in Santo Domingo. The nice-looking exterior feels like an authentic Japanese restaurant.

We ordered the “Nigiri Combo” from the assorted sushi category (RD$1500). It came with 10 pieces of nigiri sushi. It tastes just like Japanese sushi! So good!

“Kamikaze” from the maki sushi category (RD$415). A style of sushi not often seen in Japan, this was fried shrimp tempura wrapped in rice. The deep-fried shrimp and the rice both tasted authentically Japanese.

Mixed tempura platter (RD$815). It was unusual that the dipping salt was mixed with chilly pepper. I don’t think I’ve ever seen bell pepper tempura in Japan either. But, that too was delicious!

Ribeye Wrapped Asparagus (RD$660). Everything is delicious here!

Let’s order some more. We finished with Udon Noodle Hot Pot (RD$800). The taste was a bit strong, but overall it was very good.

The tea was also very authentic. If you’re on Santo Domingo and craving Japanese food, this is the place to go!



We found these Japanese restaurants in one of the eat-in areas outside the airport. There’s two to choose from, Teriyaki and Tamashi. We ordered sushi and ramen from Tamashi.

On the left are “Volcano rolls” (RD$292.97). It contains crab stick and is covered in panko bread crumbs. It was crunchy and delicious. On the right: Shrimp Tempura Roll (RD$300.78)

This was the “Pork Belly Ramen” (RD$359.38). In Japanese it would be translated as “buta bara ramen”. Despite the name conjuring up images of Tonkotsu ramen, apparently it just meant that it came with slices of char-siu (braised pork belly). The soup tasted quite weak and the noodles weren’t the proper consistency.



The final restaurant we tried was located in the airport. They mainly serve udon noodle dishes.

The paper placemat was fancy.

We ordered Fried Udon Noodles (RD$22.73) and Beef Bowl (RD$16.36). Quite pricey, but surprisingly tasty! This was the beef bowl.

The fried udon noodles also tasted the same as you’d find in Japan.


◆Walk-in to the Hospital and Get Jabbed in the Buttocks

On the last day of our expedition, a member of our team developed a fever, a terrible headache and a sore throat so bad they couldn’t even drink water. There’s no way they could continue the tour, so we urgently went to the hospital to get them checked out. A search on the internet turned up the Luis Eduardo Aybar Hospital, open 24 hours a day and has been supported by Japan since 1989. Hoping that we might be able to speak Japanese there, we took an Uber armed with plenty of tissues due to an incredibly runny nose. We arrive at the entrance to the hospital.

When you enter this building, you can see photos of those involved in the founding of the facility. There are Japanese people shown, too. Through a 1989 grant from Japan, a center for gastroenterology and a medical education center was built, and Japan also sent specialists and provided technical guidance for diagnosis.

There was no one at reception, so we headed to the back of the building.

We arrived at what seemed to be the proper reception area. There’s a queue. Should we line up here? We only have two hours before our flight. Can we be seen without an appointment? We’re pretty anxious.

When we showed a hospital staff member on Google Translate that we wanted to see a doctor, we were directed to a different building.

The staff at this reception could speak English. When we said we were Japanese and asked to see a doctor, we were directed to the information desk on the third floor.

Unfortunately the staff at the third floor information desk didn’t speak English. When I used Google Translate to translate the symptoms from Japanese into Spanish, they told me ‘you walk alone’. Where should I walk to?

Asking again, we were shown the following screen. What does it mean that we don’t need to go to a primary care centre? Where should we go? This is making the headache worse.

We were then told “there isn’t any torino”. What on earth is a torino? My nose wont stop running and we’re about to give up.

Patient after patient arrive and we were left to ourselves for about 30 minutes. When there was a break in the flow of incoming patients, we once again asked for help and they took us to the Emergency department.

We were asked to sign in.

After waiting another half an hour, a nurse came, took me into the treatment room, told me to pull down my pants and suddenly I was given an injection. It was an injection for pain relief. We were told, “You have an appointment with the doctor but it’s after he’s had his lunch break”. When we said that we’d miss our flight, the doctor agreed to see us straight away. He also prescribed medication.

A photo to mark the occasion of being seen by Dr Carlos. He has a great smile. Dr Carlos was the only man on the whole trip not to give us the thumbs-up. Maybe it’s because his lunch break was cut short.

Back at reception, we were charged RD$300. When we tried paying with US dollars or a credit card, we were told they only accept Dominican pesos in cash. When we told them we didn’t have any on us, they said they’d make the examination free, that we didn’t have to pay.

The Luis Eduardo Aybar Hospital staff may not speak Japanese, but they’re a hospital that provides free medical services to low-income earners. So maybe that’s why they gave us free treatment when we had trouble paying. We’re so thankful to everyone at the hospital! We somehow managed to make our flight on time. If you happen to feel unwell in Santo Domingo, rush yourself to Luis Eduardo Aybar Hospital.

◆Domain Name Registry Location is a University- Finding “.do” Around Town

The registry that manages the “.do” domain is located within PUCMM University. The domain is We visited twice, but unfortunately couldn’t meet the person in charge.

This business, that looks like a home improvement store, uses “”.

Our hotel and a sign for sanitary products use “”.

UFHEC university uses “ “.

Immigration information seen in the airport showed the government domain as “”. As it’s based on Spanish, it’s gob, not gov.

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

Domain Island Tours have reported on how to find and purchase local SIM cards from June 2018 to September 2020. However, since it takes a surprisingly long time to find a store and buy one, from now on we’ll use eSIMs. Switching to eSIM made it easy to sign up for a connection that works in the Dominican Republic.

The one used this time was the Caribbean data plan from Ubigi (1GB, 30 days, $19 USD). Dominican Republic eSIM speeds as measured downtown. 7Mbps.

We couldn’t connect to Airalo‘s data plan for the Dominican Republic.

■List of Places Visited

■ For access to the Dominican Republic click here

■For “.do” domain details click here

■For “” domain details click here

■For “” domain details click here

■For “” domain details click here