Places to Avoid

Dengue Mosquito

Dengue Mosquito

With the recent increase of rain in the Dominican Republic is coming an increase in the number of mosquitoes and mosquito bore diseases like Dengue. New dengue cases are being reported through out the island on a daily basis so it is time to start slathering on the mosquito repellent again!

The Dominican Republic has a history of dengue as can be seen by the other Dengue reports from past years. Most cases are preventable. Basic tips like putting some chlorine in any rain water that you might save, putting screens on your windows, applying insect repellent and removing any areas where water may get trapped and become stagnant can greatly reduce the mosquito population and reduce the spread of the disease.

When traveling in areas where there is a denser population of mosquitoes (more…)

(9/24/15) The Dominican Republic definitely has it’s share of national holidays! Today’s holiday  is called “Our Lady of Mercies” (La Virgen de las Mercedes). 400 years ago she was proclaimed as the patron saint of the Dominican Republic and the whole island of Hispaniola.

What this usually means is much more drinking and partying on the streets. For this reason it would be a good idea to limit travel if you can and try to stay off the main highways as much as possible. The death count on the highways frequently raises considerable during “Dias de Fiesta” or holidays.

Our Lady of Mercies” is a catholic celebration and a national holiday. Many banks, government institutions and other businesses will be closed today to observe the festival.

As with many of the Catholic saints, this saint is said to have (more…)

Well, it looks like Tropical Storm Danny (Previously Hurricane Danny) might be a bit of a disappointment for those of us hoping to get some rain out of this storm. While it still looks like it will hit us in the couple days, the rainfall is already decreasing. Hopefully there will be enough left by the time it gets here to ease our drought a bit.

From the projections it looks like what is left of Danny will hit the lower part of the Dominican Republic. Still we might get a little up north.

Seems kind of strange talking about a drought on a Caribbean island but for the last couple months many of the smaller towns in the country have been without water supplied from the city. That means that in addition to paying the city for water (which we don’t get), we also have to pay water trucks to come in and fill our tenacos and cisterns. That can get pretty expensive.

Tropical Storm Erica

The good news (more…)

The trucker’s union Fenatrado plans on having a “show of force” tomorrow Tuesday the 23 of September which is very likely to cause traffic jambs and problems with transportation through out the Dominican Republic. One of the largest unions Fenatrado is planning to park their trucks long main roads as a “show of Force”. While they claim this isn’t a protest or that they are trying to cause any change in the government this is very likely to increase the danger of traveling on the main highways tomorrow.

So, if you are planning any longer trips this week, you might want to consider avoiding  Tuesday.  We have spent hours sitting in buses in the past during truckers demonstrations as they block roads, or make the paths on the main highways so small that only motorcycles can get through.

These demonstrations also quite often spark violent conflicts, gunfire, heavy traffic congestion and overall irritation, so if you can avoid it  I would recommend not doing any traveling in the Dominican Republic tomorrow.

Something to be careful of if you buy peanut butter here in the Dominican Republic. the US Food and Drug administration has announced a recall on peanut butter sold here in the Dominican Republic under several brands. There have been four reported cases of salmonella linked to Peanut Butter produced by nSpired Natural Foods Inc.

nSpired Natural foods markets and sell peanut butter under the following labels Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butters, MaraNatha Almond Butters and Peanut Butters and specific private label nut butters sold under the Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Kroger and Safeway brands. 

While likely if you are buying peanut butter from the larger market like La Sirena, Nacional, Jumbo and other larger supermarkets the affected product (more…)

Dominican Republic Rain

Dominican Republic Rain

While it is good to finally see a little relief from the drought that has been plaguing the Dominican Republic, the same rain also means flooding in some areas due to the poor drainage in many communities and even in some of the larger cites. the storm that is coming in today is putting several areas on alert San Pedro de Macorís, La Romana, La Altagracia, El Seibo, Hato Mayor and Duarte (especially the Bajo Yuna area).

If you are driving today it would be a good idea to slow down and be on the watch for water on the roads especially in any of the lower areas near creaks and rivers. The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) which forecasts that the system will bring moderate rainfall, which could be heavy at times, accompanied by thunderstorms and isolated wind gusts, starting in the eastern and northeastern regions.

In the Santiago area it has been raining off and on all day which is good news (more…)

(8/19/14) If you are one of the many people using services like EPS to have things shipped to the Dominican Republic you have no doubt been watching with interest the news about the new tax that is suppose to be applied to all online-line purchases.  Well, the good news for now is that the Superior Administrative Tribunal (TSA) has accepted an appeal against the Customs Department (DGA) which has at least for now stopped the tax from being applied.

My biggest worry about this on-line purchase tax was that it would be another reason for customs to open packages and apply random import taxes. At times these import taxes can cost more that what the package is actually worth. While I don’t (more…)

Right now if you plan on staying in the Dominican Republic the chances of you getting the Chikungunya Virus is very good. Well over ¾ of the people I know here have gotten the virus. Even after taking all the normal precautions it still gets passed around. If you are here for vacation and you are looking up information on how to treat it, sorry there isn’t much to do but take some pain medicine and wait it out.

However what you do while you are waiting it out can make a big difference on how comfortable you are and how long it lasts. Pushing through and remaining active will just complicate things and may even lead to more serious complication as you will see from the experiences I relate below.

The short answer for treating Chikungunya is: There is no real treatment; you just try to lower the symptoms. If you go to a hospital the first thing they will usually do is connect an IV and try to get you hydrated. With the IV they will often give you pain killers, vitamin B and also an anti-inflammatory.

Chikungunya Symptoms

While Chikungunya usually doesn’t kill, it is a very painful disease. It usually starts with pain in the feet  or other joints (more…)

For those of you that hadn’t heard of them. TelexFree is a “Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service” company that was becoming very popular here in the Dominican Republic.  The interesting part about this company is that the people recruited for sale weren’t so much required to try to get people to sign up for the service as much as trying to get people to buy into a membership so that they could recruit more people.

Sound a little fishy, yep, the FBI thought so too. In fact you can now go to thier website and fill out a form to complain if you were one of the many people who bought into this “alleged”scam. You can view the FBI page here. and fill out the form here

Why would people pay a membership to work?

Good question. Each time I was approached about this I asked the same question. The basic idea is that you pay about $1500 USD to become a member and after that (more…)

(1/6/14) Well, if you haven’t noticed there is another holiday today in the DR. Today is part of the way Dominican celebrate Christmas. While celebrators in the United States give gifts on Christmas Day, Dominican give gifts a week later on “”El día de los tres reyes magos” or “Three Kings Day”. Today you will find many of the larger businesses closed although many of the smaller colmados and tiendas will be open in the morning.

I find it interesting that the  Spanish name of the celebration includes the word “mago” meaning Magician, wizard, conjurer or prestidigitator (or astrologers). Usually this term isn’t used in English translations (more…)

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