Category Archives: Culture & People

Music Changes Hearts and Connects the World

Blooming in Los Haitises

Fine music changes hearts and connects the world. If I could clone myself and a few musical friends a hundred times over and go out to every group of children thirsty for music, I believe it would contribute immeasurably toward the happiness and peacefulness of homes and communities. Destroy music, or say that what is […]

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Mysteries of the Produce Stands

Mammoth avocado

The first conundrum of our expat experience happened standing stock still as we contemplated the mysteries of the produce stand. Knowing that your life’s blood depends on figuring out what to do with an overwhelming array of unfamiliar foods can be daunting. At first, jet lag dictated we take the simple approach and begin stocking […]

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Seaside Drive Morphs into Outdoor Abattoirs

Goat for sale

Imagine that, quite unexpectedly, a gorgeous seaside drive morphs into outdoor abattoirs. The first one startles you. Then you pass another abattoir on the right, then one on the left, then another and another. Abattoir is the French word for slaughterhouse (or shambles, or knacker’s yard, depending on your country of origin). But of those […]

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Artisans Who Create for Their Culture


After discovering the class disparity in shopping in high end malls compared to the low end street vendors, we began discovering individual artisans who create for their culture. By this I mean, those talented few who create beautiful things that represent the values–perhaps the soul–of their people. The products found in a particular home workshop […]

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Why Call Dominos the National Game?

In a country where baseball is as much of a passion as dominos, why call dominos the national game? Huge amounts of energy and money go into baseball, which I’ve written about elsewhere. Very little outlay is necessary for dominos. Some say whichever game is most popular is a toss-up, but I suspect a class-divide […]

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Visit Samana on New Year Day

El Monte Azul Restaurant

After a rousing New Year Eve in Santo Domingo’s Colonial District, our driving goal was to visit Samana on New Year Day. We saw beautiful tropical scenery, stayed at a secluded condo in The Cove, and had a lot of fun (which later blogs will explore). But early on, while simply driving to Samana, we […]

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Discovering High-end Cuisine in the DR

Shell chandelier at Boca Marina

Discovering high-end cuisine in the DR has generated many pleasurable evenings with good friends, but I always wonder what aspects of the experience are for the tourists and what are for the locals. Take for example, the matter of music. At Santo Domingo’s El Conuco we heard what I think of as “happy Caribbean,” the […]

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Christmas Morning in Los Llanos

House in a tree

Music was our mandate for Christmas morning in Los Llanos. The invitation came about because friends involved with humanitarian work in the DR asked us to infuse the Christmas service in a small church in a rural location east and north of Santo Domingo with any music we wanted to bring. This wasn’t much direction, […]

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Christmas Concert in the First Cathedral in America

Interior oldest cathedral of the Americas

The Christmas concert in the first cathedral in America is a once-a-year event at Basílica Catedral Metropolitana Santa María de la Encarnación Primada de América. We arrived in the Colonial Zone with only half an hour to spare and I was tense. I really wanted to get in to see the performance, but I’d been warned […]

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The Nativity in Parque Iberoamérica Amphitheater

Friends attending a Sunday night performance of the Nativity in Parque Iberoamérica amphitheater recommended it to us so highly that we simply had to make time. Each morning since Thanksgiving as we’ve take our early morning walk, we’ve seen this green space–the park–gradually transform with the visual festivities of Christmas. Masses of tiny colored lights entwine the […]

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