Santo Domingo

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SnapShots: Santo Domingo’s National Aquarium (Acuario Nacional)

I’ve come to understand – as best I can in six years – the delicate balance of the Dominican Republic. Natural, pristine beauty amidst littered streets. Tranquil beaches to feast your eyes upon with ear-piercing dembow as “background” music. Fresh fried fish ordered straight to your table in the sand with week old fish bones buried under your chair. The Acuario Nacional, the National Aquarium of Santo Domingo is no different. From the outside, you’d think there isn’t much to see, and...

Dominican Art and Date Night in the Colonial Zone

Last night was date night and, in spite of traffic and crummy weather,  we took it to the Colonial Zone for a Dominican Art exhibit that we heard was happening at Galería Toledo. We had an idea of where the gallery was located but we needed to do a little searching. I asked the doorman who stood outside of the Nicolas De Ovande Hotel, “Oh La Casa de Betty?” He asked. I repeated the gallery’s name, “Galeria Toledo.” Apparently we were...

MicroAdventure: Bikes, Birds and Plaza España

Last weekend was a long weekend in the Dominican Republic to celebrate May Day.* Many of our friends went away but we opted to stay in Santo Domingo and chill out since (I’m not complaining, but…) we’ve done quite a bit of traveling and weekends away this year. A little staycation was exactly what we needed. We had a delicious bagel breakfast with friends, a yummy lox and mimosas brunch at home, watched movies, drank wine, and took a stroll around Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone,...

Husband’s Bike Pub Crawl Birthday (with video)

Parties are my thang. If I had a superpower it would be all things party. I love going to parties, I love planning parties, and I love throwing parties. When Husband was boyfriend, he got the brunt of that superpower… and then we had kids. Correction – we had Santiago whose birthday falls two weeks before Beloved’s so for the last 2 years, Husband’s birthday has been crickets. I have planned nothing. This year, I vowed to change that; this year I would get back on the birthday roll… a birthday bike...

Grupo Bonye in the Colonial Zone: The One Thing You Cannot Miss in Santo Domingo

Let me give you a little background here. When we first arrived to DR, our new friends, in finding out I was Cuban, beamed with excitement to tell me about the free music event on Sunday evenings in the Colonial Zone. Of course Husband and I wanted to go… but Sundays? For a teacher? Like Kryptonite to Superman. So for five years, we have attempted to go when we had a Monday off and for five years, for one reason or...

Notes from a Local Scene: Gran Parador Bellamar

Turning off of Avenida de las Americas towards Samaná and after the first toll booth, you’d never know there was a serious BBQ operation in the same stop as the Texaco gas station. But you should. From the road, it looks like a typical rest stop – gas station, convenience store, restrooms – but there is nothing typical about Gran Parador Bellamar. It’s as if Texas exploded and delivered a baby in Santo Domingo....

Notes from a Local Scene: An Ashram Grows in Santo Domingo

It’s almost impossible these days to plan on a whim. A last minute call from a kidless friend to “do dinner” is the evergreen reminder that we are no longer our single selves. It’s fine, of course, but always a bummer to say, “Sorry. We can’t tonight.” So the other day, when I received a last minute call from a friend wondering if Husband and I wanted to join them for Indian food at Jeeva restaurant and ashram she had recently...

Visiting Aldeas Infantiles Orphanage: Finding Real Christmas Spirit

Husband and I have known since year one in DR that we wanted to take our kids to the yearly Aldeas Infantiles orphanage Christmas visit organized by the middle school National Junior Honor Society. It became even more possible, last year, when Husband became the advisor for NJHS* and actually do-able this year, now that our kids were older. Find more information about Aldeas Infantiles SOS.*      Pulling into the orphanage for a Christmas visit would have been special enough. Some...

SnapShots: Parque de Luces, Santo Domingo

Any island can be a frustrating place to live, and DR is no exception. We have power – most of the time: sometimes it works minimally, sometimes it comes and goes as it pleases, and sometimes it completely shuts down and refuses to engage. Traffic lights, water, and customer service run just about the same way. But Brillante Navidad (Bright Christmas) or Parque de Luces, as it is popularly known (Park of Lights), is not that. Parque de Luces might be the absolute best thing this place does (besides the beaches and beer)....