Trip to Dominican Republic (January 2006)
Hotel and Restaurants
We stayed at "Hotel El Refugio Del Pirata" in Zona Colonial, which apparently was a refuge for pirates in days gone past.
If you stay in Santo Domingo, I recommend staying in Zona Colonial. That is where you will probably want to spend most of your time, and it is invaluable being able to walk out of your hotel and go eat or see nearby sights.
Nearby the hotel is Dulceria Cecilia (phone 809961-3741), a great place to buy sweets and rum. We bought some fantastic stuff at good prices. We found that the stores specializing in rum and liquor were typically geared towards tourists, and prices higher. You are better off going to the grocery store, or other local store.
Lucinda in the hotel room reading the Rough Guide.
Here are pictures of the shower in our hotel room.
Note the use of the re-bar for the shower rod (at the top of the picture).
All of this illustrates the high cost and lack of manufactured goods, as well as the resourcefulness in using 'junk' in place of those items. We saw this all around the country, typically in the type of materials that were used to assemble the shacks/homes many people lived in, outside of the cities.
The three settings were: "Caliente" (Hot), "Desconecta"
(Off), and "Tibia" (Tepid).
Our favorite cable channel in the room was HTV.
I always like to watch music television when I'm in a foreign country. I usually buy some CD's based on the music I see. For this trip, my favorites were
Here is a picture of Craig in La Cafetera where we ate breakfast several
mornings. They are preparing food on the right.
Here is a picture of the outside of La Cafetera, a hangout for local painters
It was at this cafeteria that we encountered a scam artist. (We had previously been told not to give money to anyone on the street, regardless of their story.) On our last morning, a guy was at the entrance to La Cafetera, yelling, "Does anyone here speak English?" He proceeded to tell us (child in arms; his wife was apparently somewhere else) how he was visiting from New York and had been mugged the previous night, after receiving some money from Western Union. He said he was trying to get to the airport to catch his flight back home (he showed us some documentation of this), but had no money. He told us that he thought that he could take a bus to the airport, but since he claimed to speak no Spanish, he couldn't get any information about the bus. In the end, we told that we were going back to the airport that morning and offered to share our taxi for free.
In retrospect: (a) I remember now that there are no buses to the
airport (only taxis), so I'm sure he knew this and hoped we also knew
it and would offer him the RD$750 taxi fare (around $22), instead
of just a few dollars for a bus. (b) Even though he 'spoke no Spanish',
he had no trouble quickly ordering a cup of coffee from La Cafetera
(and presumably paying for it). (c) For some reason, even though his
'wife' was somewhere else, why was he dragging around his child rather
than leaving the kid with the wife?
What is different in the Dominican Republic compared to the United States? One of the small things is that when you buy an ice cream, the 'tasting spoon' *is* the spoon. (Note the interesting brand name of 'Moldy' on the spoon.) Also pictured is a 5 peso coin, and a 10 peso bill.
Other things that are different include:
At one restaurant, we were served "Atlanta" brand sparkling
This restaurant was located under an art college.