Trip to Dominican Republic (January 2006)

Walking around Zona Colonial and other areas in Santo Domingo

Lucinda on El Conde

The main pedestrian walkway in the Zona Colonial (“Colonial area”) is El Conde (“The Count”). This view is looking west.

Notice that most of the people shown in these pictures are slim. I attribute this to a regular regimen of walking (instead of driving), and reasonably-sized food portions (as opposed the the super-sized portions in the U.S.) Also, almost everyone wore long pants, even in the 85 degree weather we had in January.

In general, we felt very safe walking around. There was typically a well-dressed, friendly tourist policeman stationed every block or two.

Bookie's chair

One of the strangest things we saw on El Conde was this metal seat that was bolted down. There was a trap door on the side below the seat that held a phone (you can see the coiled cord in the picture). The man using this seat would occasionally write numbers on the chalkboard. We think he was a bookie, taking bets.  We saw some some regular sports betting places, so we weren't sure if this sidewalk version was legal, illegal or, more likely, in some gray area.

In another part of Zona Colonial, we saw a man in a van who had a phone line strung from a second floor balcony, who had a phone and a desk set up in the van. We think he was also a bookie, operating from his van.

Craig on Restauracion street

The streets are hundreds of years old. Look at the wonderful houses on Restauracion street.

View of Restauracion street

This is Restauracion street again, from farther down the street, looking uphill to Monasterio de San Francisco at the top right.

Emilio Tejera street, with Monasterio de San Francisco

This is Emilio Tejera street, with Monasterio de San Francisco at the top of the hill.

This street is typical in Zona Colonial. The metal overhead doors on the right (covered by awnings) are likely to be businesses, perhaps a small store or cafe. Some of the other doors may be the front door to residences. At night, we would walk down the street and occasionally pass by a partially opened door that offered a view into the resident's living room, with the family watching TV or eating dinner.

Inside view of the Monasterio de San Francisco

Here is an inside view of the Monasterio de San Francisco. The monastery survived years of hurricanes and earthquakes, but what finally caused it to crumble were the large canons placed of top of the building which slowly caused the walls to degrade, so that a later hurricane caused much of it to collapse.

Palo Hincado street

This is a view of tourists exiting their car, on Palo Hincado street. You can see the ocean in the distance.
(Where's Waldo?  Find Lucinda in this photo...)

Craig at the ocean

Here is Craig down at the Malecón, the boardwalk along the oceanfront of Santo Domingo.

Guys playing baseball near the ocean

A group of guys playing baseball/stickball in makeshift fields is a typical sight in the city. This group was playing in between properties next to the ocean (you can see a ship in the upper right).

Vacant oceanfront property

There were quite a few oceanfront buildings for sale (like this one) that appeared to be in disrepair. It was amazing to me that in a capitol city, buildings like this were not beautifully restored and occupied.

Monumento de Montesino

There were many monuments all around the city. This is the Monumento de Montesino (50 meters tall) at the ocean side. Fray Montesino was a sixteenth century priest who preached against the genocide of the Taino (indigenous people).

Parque Mirador del Sur

This is Parque Mirador del Sur, in the western part of the city. There were limestone caves all around. A restaurant, El Mesón de la Cava, is actually embedded in one of the caves.

It cost us RD$300 to travel across town to get to this park, and RD$200 to return. We had a hard time finding a cab to take us back to Zona Colonial, but I enlisted a carro publico to give us a ride, even though he normally drove on a fixed route with multiple passengers.

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