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

Santo Domingo: the other side

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC | Wednesday, 6 June 2012 | Views [1735]

Why did the nomad cross Santo Domingo? To get to the other side. Remember that old "Why did the chicken cross the road?" anti-joke that you always hear as a child. The past few days I've experienced one side of Santo Domingo, today I would experience the "other side." Retrospective of what I saw coming in from the airport or near Burger King the other day, Santo Domingo isn't all glitzy shopping malls, fast food restaurants, and Mercedes-Benzes. The metro slices right down the centre, dividing the city in half but the further north you travel on the metro the more you'll experience the grit, grime, and shantytowns of the "real" Santo Domingo. After having breakfast and hanging out at Jorge's house for awhile I took a public car to the metro station. Santo Domingo has been in the midst of a terrible heat wave and the air-conditioned metro is a welcome relief. The trains and stations are in stark contrast to whats above ground; as though you're in the London Underground. Shiny trains, colourful stations, and a top-up touch card add to the metro experience.

Unlike most metros the stations aren't named for a street or an area of the city; instead they're named for people of national importance (e.g. Joaquin Balaguer). Heading about six stations north to Estacion Gregorio Luperon, I got off and was suddenly on the other side of Santo Domingo. Street vendors, food stalls, and people hanging around fill the streets in this section of town. After picking up fresh sugar cane I stroll confidently in search of a bite to eat. First I call in at a colmado, getting a bag of cornflakes before I spot a Chinese eatery across the way. There I get roasted pork with fried rice mixed in with green onions. Travellers are often very reluctant to eat at many of these hole-in-the-wall places but what's the likelihood of some illness happening? I would say "slim and none, and slim just left the building." That's a quote from Chick Hearn: former long-time broadcaster for the L.A. Lakers. He called games from behind the mic for 42 years and appeared in 3,337 consecutive games! After eating I got a to-go box and walked around for a bit. These guys near the metro station were having fun as I was shooting photos. On the way back I visit a herbal healer and pick up some Dominican honey as I board the air-conditioned metro and travel south again.

From Estacion Gregorio Luperon I disembark at Estacion Joaquin Balaguer right along the malecon. Grit to glitz, clamor to glamour in a stretch of only about 40 minutes.

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