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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Heat of the D.R.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC | Sunday, 3 June 2012 | Views [1405]

The first thing you'll feel when you're in Santo Domingo is the heat and humidity; I surely felt it. There's nothing better than being in an air-conditioned car on a day like today. Andres, a CSer picked me up from the airport, and the first thing I saw (just outside the airport) was a horrible accident. Two vehicles were in an accident and a truck was literally in half! 

Whoever was in either of those vehicles had to have been seriously injured. Before getting here I thought to myself "I feel like the Dominican Republic (D.R.) is going to be a lot like Cuba" due to the music, dance, baseball, etc. but visually it seems nothing like it. Just driving in I noticed McDonald's, Outback Steakhouse, IKEA, Papa John's, and the whole lot. Andres and I went to an air-conditioned U.S.-style shopping mall where we got pizza at Papa John's and had some strong Dominican coffee and some tasty ice cream. The D.R.'s currency is the peso ($1 = 39 D.R. pesos). The D.R.'s tourism potential is largely untapped. Unlike places like Mexico and Cuba, there are both resort tourists and cultural tourists, but just about everyone who visits the D.R. go to the resort towns of Bavaro or Punta Cana. If you told a Dominican anywhere that you visited their country they'd assume you hung out at the beach in Punta Cana. Not many young travellers come here and it's not on the backpacker radar simply because it's an island. I should add that there are a lot of CouchSurfers here in Santo Domingo, not many of them are willing to host. Andres doesn't host because he works a lot but he said that Dominicans, especially in Santo Domingo are very conservative and rather fearful of inviting a stranger into their homes. The CSer I'm with tonight is Jorge, and his brother is Javier. They live with their mother and housemaid in a rather nice area of the city. Getting to their place was a mission! First, Andres and I drove up and down the street looking for it. Whilst we were on the right street, we couldn't find the number. After searching for 20 minutes we found it but nobody was home. I had forgotten to write down Jorge's phone number. We then decided to find a Wi-Fi hotspot. First we went to Papa John's and theirs wasn't working. Then we parked in the parking lot of McDonald's and there was no internet. Then we went to the mall and their internet wasn't working. Then we went across the street to McDonald's and their internet wasn't working! Murphy's Law to another degree! We then walked about three blocks to IKEA and they didn't even have Wi-Fi! By then I was so exhausted! These past few days I've only slept about five hours in total. Then I said to Andres "let's just visit a cybercafe" but he said they're far away. I figured that, like in the rest of Latin America, there are cybercafes on every street corner but Andres said that's not so here except in poor areas or touristy areas. Finally we decided to go to Jorge's house again, and his housemaid was home. Shortly after I met his brother Javier and his girlfriend Danielle. Both of them speak perfect English but Danielle's English sounds more British due to spending some time there. Jorge came home a short while later and we had pasta for dinner. Although I was more tired than hungry we had a good chat over dinner. In Year 1 there was a little boy in my class named "Jorge" and the teacher on the first day of school asked me to guess at how to spell it, and I said "H-O-R-H-A" and then explained that it's spelled "J-O-R-G-E" like "George." Several of my classmates that year had Spanish names (Ricardo, Roberto, Anjelica, etc.). Jorge asked if I wanted to go out, but I'm exhausted tonight. The night before yesterday I only slept three hours, woke up at 5:30 AM, worked for 10 hours, bicycled home, ran around, packed, finished a writing project, got to the airport, slept two hours on the plane, got here, got lost, and dealt with the heat of Santo Domingo. All in all, oh yea, I'm ready to sleep!

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