Category Archives: Culture & People

Hansel and Gretel in Parque Iberoamérica

Gingerbread house

On weekends throughout December a professional company performs the Christmas operetta Hansel and Gretel in Parque Iberoamérica outdoor amphitheater. We happened on the opening night, which was a free performance and enthusiastically attended by families who brought their children. Initially the stage was bare, with a suggestion of forest. When the expected curtain time was substantially delayed, […]

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Making Christmas Music with People Large and Small

My celebration of the holiday season has always involved making Christmas music with people large and small. Happily, my life in Santo Domingo continues the pattern of making special music in honor of the Christ Child. The producer of a musical group who play bells and chimes, Nuria Martinez, asked me to provide keyboard accompaniment […]

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What Is a Third World Country?

Dominican Republic flag

What is a “third world country”? It really bothers me when I hear a foreigner refer to the Dominican Republic as “a third world country.” When I was an Exchange Professor to Qingdao University in P.R. China, a decade ago, I experienced the same discomfort when western teachers got together and bandied the term about. […]

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Where to Get What and How Much to Pay

Upscale Santo Domingo mall

After a few months in a new country even the most shopping-adverse visitor has to figure out where to get what and how much to pay. It’s all part of a gigantic puzzle. How I wish every country on the planet had a master-key along with route maps to hand out to visitors at the […]

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Dominican Baseball at Quisqueya Stadium

Tigres vs Liones ticket

The season opener for Dominican baseball at Quisqueya Stadium had it all. Action, fans, color, music, non-stop noise, and the best empanadas in town. The music grew louder as we walked from the parking lot to the SW front of the stadium. By the time we reached the security guards, who briefly searched bags, the […]

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Discovering Local Cuisine in the Dominican Republic

Chimi with bacon and cheese

Discovering local cuisine in the Dominican Republic is an ongoing adventure. We began with the obvious, the cafeterias attached to grocery stores such as Nacional and La Sirena. Frequented by store employees, customers, and local business people, we reasoned that the food had to be typical. That’s where we met la bandera (meaning “the flag”), the nickname […]

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Paradigm Shift in Understanding Santo Domingo

This week I’ve experienced something of a paradigm shift in understanding Santo Domingo. The old paradigm from the first six weeks in the country seems limited now, but it came about quite naturally based on the first people we met. This included lethargic doormen, stern security guards, craaaazy drivers, and a long line of clerks […]

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Cultural Sensitivity and Road Rage

Ornamental grasses enhance parking structure

Cultural sensitivity and road rage are categorically incompatible. But cultural sensitivity is more difficult to achieve than at first appears. I’m thinking of Dominican driving practices. I conclude many of my blogs with an Astounding Driving Event that is befuddling in the moment (translate that as terrifying), but amusing in retrospect. I’ve found another way […]

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Cultural Sensitivity and Humanitarian Ventures

Exquisite

Cultural sensitivity and humanitarian ventures have to go hand in hand. The longer I live in the Dominican Republic, however, the more I see how unexpected cultural insensitivities can be. They seem to erupt out of nowhere. But what does that nowhere consist of? It has to be some kind of unexplored bedrock, doesn’t it? […]

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Fourth of July in the Dominican Republic

Vegetation changing with elevation

To celebrate the fourth of July in the Dominican Republic, we joined friends who staged an indoor “picnic.” (Have to alter the definition of the word picnic here.) Of course, if we had been in the U.S., we would likely have attended a barbecue and watched fireworks without thinking much about the reason for the […]

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