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Things you should know before coming to the DR
So you’ve decided to come to the Dominican Republic for a vacation. You start packing everything you think you’ll need for your short stay in paradise. In go the bathing suits, sunglasses, sun tan lotion, sandals, and with it you start wondering what your vacation destination will be like. You head to the airport and before you board the plane you decide to buy a travel guide, thinking the book will give you all the great details to make your trip even more amazing. Beware! Those travel books won’t give you all the information you need to help you understand the DR. The following are twenty-one things you should know before coming to the DR. These funny and quirky scenarios might sound odd to you now, but wait until you come back from your vacation. That’s when you’ll really have a great laugh! Remember that some of these following situations are extreme and in other cases they are very particular to the Dominican Republic. Even if you don’t understand everything now, or even later, you can always calm your senses by knowing that this is just the way things are in the Dominican Republic.

1) Dominican time exists; get used to it
Hate being late? Hate it when someone makes you wait? Hate it when things don’t run smoothly, even when you planned everything ahead of time? Get used to it! For a lack of a better term we can call this “Dominican time!” It’s hard to determine how far behind Dominican time is from regular time, but our estimates say that the difference is about 30-45 minutes from time in the rest of the world. Even if you plan things years in advance you will always have someone showing up late. It’s just the way things are. If someone says let’s meet at 8, the odds are you’ll end up meeting at 9. Got a meeting with the doctor at 4:30, he is more likely to show up at around 5:15. You called for a pizza at 6, there is a God if you are eating that same pizza by 6:30. The only things that are ever on time in the DR are bills and your clock and that’s only if your clock is battery operated.

2) A Sanky Panky is not a state sponsored tour guide
So you see some hot guy on a beach. He’s friendly and helpful and takes you everywhere you need to go. Eventually you start developing feelings for this guy (love or lust, take your pick) and you think you found your knight in shining armor. He’s almost perfect and not even the language barrier is enough to stop your beautiful burgeoning summer romance. In the back of your mind you think that he loves you for what you are, not for your visa… Wrong! These Don Juans who just happen to magically appear and romance unsuspecting tourists are known in the DR as Sanky Pankies. Maybe handsome, maybe not, beach gigolos can be suave and sometimes sophisticated, but you should let the game stop there. They can be fun while you’re here; just make sure you check them at customs when you leave.

3) You can always fit one more person into a bus or public taxi
It’s a nice sunny and you want to see what Santo Domingo really has to offer, but you don’t want to be the typical tourist so you say, let me take a carro publico” instead of a private taxi. And when you get in the car you feel a bit cramped because there are now four of you, one in the front and three in the back. All of a sudden the taxi slows down and stops on a corner and you think to yourself “what’s going on, there’s no space for anyone else.” Wrong! In the DR there’s always place for one more. Even if they have to hang out the window, out the door or on the roof, which in most cases ends up happening, there is always space for one more!

4) Tinted windows are more useful at night
If you stay long enough in the DR and get a Dominican boyfriend or girlfriend, we’ll let you decide why this is so true.

5) Clapping when the airplane lands is required by Dominican law
As you land in the DR, all of a sudden you’ll hear loud clapping from Dominicans. You’ll see some praying; some hugging and some extremely superstitious Dominicans will even bring out the holy water and pass it around like a bottle of Dom Perignon. Although no real reason for this has been determined, some theorize that the fact that a plane landed, contrary to anything else in the DR functioning properly, is a major relief for passengers. Regardless of any reason, don’t ask why they clap and where they got the holy water from, just go ahead and applaud with them.

6) Every Dominican is good at baseball
Ok, so every Dominican isn’t good at baseball. That's true, but at one point or another every Dominican wanted to be a baseball player. Just check in their closet for a baseball glove. And even if they didn't want to be a baseball superstar they still played at some point in their lives. Note: There’s a million dollar reward for anyone who can identify a Dominican who has never played baseball.

7) Chiclets are a form of currency
So you’re a big baller and never have any change when you go to a colmado. Well wakeup call bub, the colmados never have any change either so instead of getting your 5 pesos back, the guy behind the counter is going to pay you with 5 pesos worth of gum or anything else of equal value. Get used to it: Chiclets are a form of currency in the DR.

8) New York, Miami, and Boston are the only America cities Dominicans know
The introduction, "Hi, my name is James and I’m from middle of nowhere (insert your town name and state here) Idaho," will be followed by this response, "Hey! Is that near New York?" Just so you know, most Dominicans have family in the US but those family members tend to live in largely populated Latino communities like New York or Miami, so unless you live near any of these cities no one will know where you’re from. Instead introduce yourself like this, "Hi, I’m James and my flight made a stop in New York!"

9) Drinking during the day, at night and on Sunday’s is accepted and maybe required!
OK, Dominicans aren’t alcoholics and we aren’t urging you to become one, but the taboo towards drinking here isn’t the same as in the US. Having a beer at lunch, during the mid afternoon or at night is socially acceptable. So sit back and enjoy.

10) If you’re ever stuck in traffic, just honk as loud as you can
Yeah - you read it here. If you’re ever stuck in traffic just honk your horn. It won’t do much to move traffic considering that no one can hear your horn since everybody’s honking their horn, but if you’re looking for a genuine Dominican experience and want to feel like a Dominican, just sit back in traffic and honk away.

11) It’s not true, Brugal doesn’t cure everything
Yeah, if you drink enough Brugal you might get drunk enough to forget you were ever sick, but it won’t cure anything. You might have someone try to rub some rum on you for mosquito bites or a bad cold, calmly saying Brugal will cure that, but it’s a double trap my friend. So be forewarned.
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