DR Tips

#1 Spanish Present Indicative Verb Tense

The Spanish Present indicative verb tense is one of the most commonly used Spanish Tenses. While it is normally used for the present, it can also be used in the present and past at times for a particular emphasis.

  • Present: Estoy cansado – I am tired
  • Habitual: Leo la Biblia cada día.  – I read the bible each day.
  • Permanent truth: Cinco menos dos son tres –  Five minus two is three
  • Emphasis: when talking of past – Tiene Miedo – He was scared
  • Near future: He llega mañana – He arrives tomorrow.
  • Started in the past but continues to now. Often uses Hace: Hace tres horas que miro la television.  – I’ve been watching TV for three hours
  • Almost or nearly when used with Por Poco:  Por Poco me matan – They almost killed me.

(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…)

Orange Dominican RepublicOne of the key players in the market for Telephone and internet services in the Dominican Republic has reached an agreement to sell it’s interests in the DR. Orange (based in France)made a deal with Altice (based in Luxembourg) for $1.4 billion.

The Dominican Republic is considered a non-core market for the French based company that has been struggling over the last couple years.

How will the Sale of Orange affect Dominican Subscribers

Over the last couple years Orange has continued to improve its cell-phone and internet services. While still being known for its dropped calls and patchy cell network these issue have been improving with new equipment being added in the outlining areas.

Orange Internet services have continued to improve with some areas reaching much higher download speeds than the comparable Claro internet services at a considerably lower price. About 6 months ago I switched from Claro to Orange and was able to double my bandwidth that I was receiving from Claro (10gig to 20gig) at about 2/3 the price I was paying at Claro. With this same move my download speed went from 1.0meg to a max of 2.5meg with the Claro Internet service to 3.0meg to over 5meg with the cheaper Orange service.

Upload speeds have also increased from about .5meg with Claro to about 1.5meg with Orange. This greatly affects internet services like Skype and Magicjack which benefits from the higher upload speed for images and constant voice transfer.

Altice Caribbean

Orange isn’t the only acquisition that Altice Caribbean is making this year. On October 31, 2013 Altice VII in particular its subsidiary Altice Caribbean S.à made an agreement to acquire (more…)

I’ve been working on learning my latest language “Haitian Creole”. As you travel the campos here in the DR you end up meeting quite a few Haitians and so it doesn’t hurt to be able to talk to them a little in their own language, especially when you are in the preaching work. While for the most part my studies are going pretty well, every once in a while I come across a work I can’t find a meaning for. My latest puzzle is the word Lefétke.

What does Lefétke mean

So far I’ve checked Google Translator, several online dictionaries and my pocket English – Creole dictionary (more…)

If you are living in the DR somewhere along the line you are going to need to write in Spanish. Whether you are trying to write a letter or document or composing an email MS Word can be very helpful. There are a few changes you are going to have to make to the program though like setting up the spell check ad grammar for Dominican Spanish. Likewise it is a good idea to learn a few shortcuts so you can quickly type with accents and the tilde (mark above the Ñ).

If after finishing with this page you are still looking for more tips on Reading, Writing and Speaking Dominican Spanish check out our Learn Dominican Spanish page.

Setting up Spell-check and Grammar-check for Dominican Spanish

Setting up MS Word to do Spell-check and Grammar-Check is pretty easy. Once you have opened a new document look at the bottom of the page and you will find in the bar first the page number, then the number of words, and then the language. Click on this and scroll down to Spanish (Dominican Republic). And yes there are enough differences in the Dominican usage of Spanish to warrant it’s own version in Spell Check.

Normally I have this set to automatically detect the language, however at times I write in both Spanish and English and this can confuse spell check. For this you can highlight and manually choose the language you want to use for a particular word or sentence.

MS Word Shortcuts for Spanish Accents

Spanish Letter, Accent or Punctuation mark. Type this in MS Word
ñ (Tilde) 1. Press and Hold control and shift keys

2. press the tilde ~ key

3. press the letter n

Accents over vowels: é, í, ó, á 1. Press and Hold control key

2. press ” “ marks key

3. press the desired letter (é, í, ó, á)

¿ (Question mark in front of sentance) 1. Press and Hold control and alt keys

2. Press and Hold shift key

3. press  ?  key

¡ (Leading exclamation point) 1. Press and Hold control and alt keys

2. Press and Hold shift key

3. press   !  key

ü (Diéresis) 1. Press and Hold control and shift keys

2. Press and Hold colon : key

3. press   u   key

If you like to check out the sky at night there will be something of interest to look at this Friday (10/24/13). There will be a lunar Eclipse between about 7:50pm and 11:50pm where over the course of 4 hours the moon will come into the shadow of the earth. This will be visible during anywhere on the dark side of the Earth during that time. This is the second lunar eclipse to happen so far this year.

Lunar Eclipse Viewing

Unlike a solar eclipse, lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye. The moon does not get any brighter than it would normally. This does make for an interesting set of pictures where over just a few hours span you can take the moon completely lit through the stages where is it completely dark (in the shadow of the earth) and back to fully lit again.

If you plan on taking pictures it is best to use a tripod to hold your camera. You will normally need to use exposure times of 5 or more seconds to get a bright clear shot. Unlike when taking pictures of star trail you don’t want to set the exposure for much more than that, unless you are looking to have the moon move across a wide angle view picture changing as it goes along. NikonUSA has a good tutorial Lunar Eclipse Photography that explains three different methods to capture the Lunar Eclipse.

Of course if you want to see the lunar eclipse well you will need to get out of any of the larger towns and cities. The light produced around the larger cities like Santiago, Santo Domingo, Punta Cana etc, will make it pretty hard to get a good shot. This is a good time to visit a friend in the campos so you gat get clear pictures without a background haze from the city lights.

It can be pretty interesting trying to get things to work well in this country. I’ve been working with a new group and we needed to come up with Microphones and a amplifier for the meetings. While this shouldn’t be too difficult to come by it’s the little things like providing clean power that can be a real issue.

Hurricane power HP 450c PA amplifier

After working with an old stereo amp with a mic input (which barely worked) someone donated a Hurricane power HP 450c PA amplifier, sounds impressive huh? Well, the little guy actually works pretty good as long as it gets good power. Something that doesn’t happen very often out in the compos.

At times we get city power during our meetings, but more likely we are running off our generator. City power or “la Luz” is pretty hit or miss here, there is no way of predicting when we might have power or for how long. When we do get power the voltage can vary more than 40-50 volts. Unfortunatly the Hurricane 450c can only take about a 5 volt change before it starts to make popping sounds, cutting out, etc. This is pretty easy to take care of with a small 1000va voltage regulator. I’m using a Sky STDR-1000VA which does a good job as long as the voltage stays between 90 and 130, which usually is the case, but not always.

Running a generator when ever there is no street power can get a little expencive with gasoline at over $5.50 USD per gallon so (more…)

Huawei E355 Modem from Dominican

Huawei E355 Modem from Dominican Orange

Got the chance to try out a different internet provider over the last month or so. The Dominican internet provider Orange has wireless internet plans at less than half the price of Claro although then have a reputation of having a much more limited coverage. Equipped with the Huawei E355 modem that is offered by Orange I decided to give it a try.

Dominican Orange Upload and Download Speed

When he service is working well (as in low traffic times), there is a much higher cap with Dominican Orange than there is with Claro. My Claro plan said that I should get up to 3.5 meg downloads, during the 4 years I have used Claro I never got more than 2.5 meg. Whoever during my tests with Dominican Orange I very frequently get 5 to even 6 meg downloads with a consistent upload of over 2 meg instead of the .5meg cap that I have always received from Claro.

Remember though, the actual Upload and download speed that you get will vary depending on how close you are to the internet service tower and how many people are trying to access the internet in your area at the same time. If possible it is always a good idea to find someone with the service and try it out in the area that you plan on using it the most before you lock yourself into a 1.5 year plan.

MagicJack on Dominican Orange Internet

One thing that is definitely nicer about using the Dominican Orange internet service over the Claro service is the way MagicJack reacts. Claro caps your upload at a much lower rate, usually about .5 meg while I often get as high as 2.0 meg upload with Dominican Orange. Magicjack seems to like (more…)

With it’s 34% of the Dominican Cellular and internet market-share it looks like Orange is looking into leaving the Dominican Republic. While it is no likely to be bought by Claro who already holds a little over 50% of the Dominican market it will likely be bought by another company like competitors Viva and Tricom, so services should continue even after the change.

Higher Prices for Foreigners

Internet is always a delema for me in the DR. When I first started my plan with Claro I didn’t have my cedula yet so I had to use my passport. When you do this Internet companies here charge you considerably more of the service. For example the current price for 10g of internet per month is 1995 pesos per month on the Claro website, I pay 3500 pesos per month because my plan was started without a cedula. I have to now start a new plan (more…)

Another frequent question I get from parents thinking of moving to the Dominican Republic with their families is school. Should I enroll my kids in a public school? Are there private schools? Would it be best to use an internet based home school?

Dominican School

For the most part the level of schooling found a Dominican Republic schools is lower than what you will find in most of the developed countries. The kids go to fewer hours per day, due to strikes and other problems there are more days off, and for budget and other reasons the quality of the schooling is lower than U.S. standards.

Most kids in the Dominican Republic go to about 4 hours of school per day. This is especially true for the lower grades where they go to school either in the morning or in the afternoon. The schools are typically underfunded and low on what would be considered unnecessary items in most US. schools.

A good example is their English classes. I’e had friends ask me to help them with their homework. Quite often the teachers written instructions are written in very poor English and even their instruction books contain very poorly written English. Kids that really want to learn the language usually hire tutors or enroll in “English Schools”(a School where only English is taught).

Another example is in mathematics. The level of mathematics required in order to graduate is much lower that is usually required in the U.S.. My son has several times been asked by college students here to help them with their math. The level of math that is given in colleges here is about the equivalent of the math in JR. High School in the States.

Other than the “English Schools” I don’t have much experience with private schools in the country. These would only be found in the more affluent areas of the country, but would likely be of a much higher quality.

Online Home Schooling

Most parents of foreigners seem to choose online homes schools for their children. While these schools do require more from the parents they will give the child a diploma from a U.S. accredited school (or from a school in your own country). The level of education is usually much higher than what is received at a school in the D.R.

For Citizens of the U.S. there are quite a few options. Normally you would look for a school that was in your home state. You can often find online schools that are paid for from State money so that you don’t have to pay an extra tuition. If not there are a number of good paid online schools.

We’ve used a couple of different online schools over the years. (more…)

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