Mom riding a Baby on a Goat

Baby on a Goat

 

 

I thought this was a cute picture!

 

It’s pretty common to see Goats and other livestock on the streets in the Dominican Republic, but this is the first time I’ve seen a baby ridding a goat. Of course mom is helping.

 

I’m guessing the goat is glad the baby is at least wearing a diaper!

Dominican Family on a motorcycle

Dominican Family Transportation

Transportation can be a little more interesting in the DR than you will find in the more developed countries. It is pretty common to see a whole family on one bike. Hard to believe but this is n’t the most crowded bike I have seen. :)

The family bike also doubles as a pickup. It’s not uncommon to see 15 gallon propane tanks, wash machines, pigs, calves, tables, couches, just about everything.

This is also considered a pretty good sized bike. Small scooters from 50cc to 100cc are very common as well as Honda Cubs and other very small bikes. For the average Dominican a 125cc bike is considered a large bike.

As part of an international beauty contest and the International Tourism Film Festival the Dominican Republic will be choosing a “Miss Dominican Nature” who will compete for the Miss Nature Crown. The new Miss Nature International will be an international ambassador in environmental protection campaigns and will be part of fund raising efforts for environmental protection.

Candidates will need to be single, at least 5’5’’ in height and between 18 and 26 years old. The candidate will also need to be well versed in the culture of the country they represent. While one of the other requirements is that the candidate be physically fit, there is no ward yet as to whether there will be a “Miss Nature swim suit competition” as part of the contest. (more…)

One of the things that surprised me when I first moved to the Dominican Republic is the openly gay community that you find here. While politically the Dominican Republic appears to be rather neutral, the predominant religion of the country Catholicism has historically been, at least publically, against same sex couples. Even with this pressure against this sexual orientation, homosexuality is more prevalent in the D.R than in any other country in the Caribbean.

While in the United States the more showy gay men (flamers) are usually only seen in the larger cities, it is not uncommon to see men in traditionally women’s clothing even in the smaller towns of the D.R. For the most part Dominicans are tolerant of this culture (either locals or foreign visitors), although there is frequent reports of “Gay Bashing”, either verbal or physical, reported in the news. It is not uncommon to meet younger men (15-20 years old) that are obviously experimenting with “alternate lifestyles”, even in the smaller towns.

Like the U.S. homosexuality is even more frequently observed in the larger cities, especially the ones that receive large amounts of tourist traffic. Prostitution, both straight and gay is open and readily accessible in most of the beach and tourist towns. (more…)

Fa La La La La (and snort boom burp!)As Christmas approaches so does the Christmas music and x-mas traditions. Dominican love to copy Los Americanos (the Americans) and Christmas traditions are no exception, as usual though Dominicans have their own take on things. And so, the birth of Dominican Christmas caroling.

I’m sure everyone can picture it from the movies, a group of people bundled up, walking through the snow and stopping at houses to sing a song and spread “x-mas cheer”. Well, the Dominican version does include a group of people and stopping at houses, but the similarity pretty much ends there.

The traditional Dominican Caroling starts around the 15th of December (when school lets out for a couple weeks) and continues every night through the end of the year. It consists of a group of kids 7 – 20 years old with drums, and other percussion instruments (more…)

There have been more reports of ongoing protests at the entrance of the Barrick mine near Cotui. The march was called “peaceful” however if you have ever tried navigating a road anywhere near protests (locally called a “huelga” pronounced wel-ga) you probably know that peaceful is a matter of opinion.

Police with tear gas and shotguns have been stationed all the way to Cotui at many of the intersections. Needless to say if you have business that takes you out of Cotui in the direction of the mines it might be a good idea to hold off until the demonstrations are wrapped up.

Even if you are not near the actual protest, during these times people have a tendency to start getting worked up and small skirmishes and arguments can happen anywhere in the area and in nearby towns (like Cotui), when you start to hear yelling and screaming pay attention to what is happening hear you. (It can be tough at times to tell the difference between a friendly domino game and an argument here at times)

Dominican Republic Huelga

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If you have spent much time in the Dominican Republic you probably know that the dream of almost every young Dominican is to make it to the Majors. Baseball is considered a dream ticket out of poverty in the DR. With that dream comes dedication and practice, just about every little community and town has at least one baseball diamond and usually many more fields marked out for the kids to play on. The results are obvious; Major League baseball is packed with Dominicans that have made it. Some that make it to the Big League look back at their hometown and decide to try to make a difference.

Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz recently made the commitment to help out his community with a “new” fire truck. Well, not really a “new” truck it’s actually an older one which works out better here because it take much less training to operate it. While that may seem like an unusual choice of donation (more…)

Most of the articles I write are more centered on foreigners living in the Dominican Republic. Today I thought I’d write more about the locals. If you are living in the campos (rural areas) of the Dominican Republic it is pretty hard to get a decent paying job. The average worker in the fields in my area make between $10 and $15 per day for 8-10 hours in the rice and other fields. While there are some higher paying jobs in the towns, maybe working at a colmado (small store), banka (lottery booth) or one of the other stores, competition is pretty rough and so the pay isn’t much better. Then you have the large companies like Barrick Gold, it is the dream of many of the younger guys here to get “empleo de minas” or a job at the mine.

Without a doubt the pay at the mines is much better and while I haven’t personally visited the mines, I have quite a few friends that work there and it would seem safety and other working conditions are not too bad. You can either stay at the mine, or if you live in one of the towns near Cotui there are busses that will pick you up and take you back home each work day. The biggest problem with working at the Barrick mine is they pretty much own you. (more…)

I don’t often write an entire post around a video, but I found this video to be interesting. If you are interested in learning about the Dominican Culture and people this video does a great job of describing the views of Dominican toward their culture and heritage.

It is interesting to note that the Dominicans are not the indigenous people of this island; this goes the same for the Haitians. Both are actually a mix of Africans that were brought in as slaves and French for Haiti and Spain for the Dominican Republic.

Even with this heritage in mind, Dominicans do not count themselves as black. (more…)

While I have visited Jarabacoa a few times, I haven’t yet gotten the chance to write much. This week my wife and I will be doing some house sitting for some friends here in Jarabacoa so I’m starting up a new section.

Jarabacoa as a Tourist Destination

Unlike most of the typical tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic, Jarabacoa is not located near a beach. Actually Jarabacoa is pretty much in the middle of the island of Hispaniola. In case I just confused you, Hispaniola is the name of the island the Dominican Republic and Haiti share. The draw for Jarabacoa is its mountains and weather. If you like to hike, visit waterfalls, off road atv and things of that nature this place is great!

My family and I have taken several day hikes here up into the mountains checking out waterfalls and streams. Some of the paths are just maintained by other hikers with machetes, some are well groomed. Usually if it is groomed you will need to pay to get in. Don’t panic, the usually price is 50 to 100 pesos or about $1.50-$3.00 USD.

Foreigners in Jarabacoa

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