A Year Ago Today?


Pro-Bono Demolition Hobbyist
Jul 24, 2004
?at approximately 2:40pm, Spirit Airlines dropped me off in Santo Domingo on a one way ticket from Tampa.

I have now lived in the Dominican Republic for one year. In retrospect, it should have been many more years because I should have done this long ago.

There have been many people in the DR that have been indispensable in my transition, many from here on DR1: Luis, Chip, Grahame and Ginny, Michael, George, Marcel, Andy, Marco, Ted, Aftab, Billy, Robert, Earl, Lindsay, Joel and Norbert just to name a very few. Many non-DR1ers, especially Dominicans, have also been enormously helpful, too. I value each and every one.

I want to especially thank mi esposa Alida and her large, wonderful family. Without their love and understanding the last year would have been infinitely more difficult.

Like many who had only visited the DR, I?ve learned that being on vacation did not prepare me for daily life here. Only living here can do that. Even the most experienced traveler to the DR, and I considered myself one, just cannot know.

I thought I?d offer some things I?ve learned the last year to give insight to what it?s been like the last year:

-When a Dominican smiles at you, it doesn?t mean he agrees with your words or behavior. It?s just a smile, that?s all. Don?t interpret into thinking it?s something it?s not. Conversely, a Dominican raising his voice doesn?t mean he?s angry.

-Never, ever underestimate the ability or resourcefulness of a Dominican. They could build a space shuttle out of cement, rebar and used moto parts if they wanted to.

-If it?s labor-intensive, it?s much less expensive than in the states; if it is material intensive, it?s much more expensive than the states.

-You will be the same person here as you were at home. The environment doesn?t change your basic person. You can?t run away from yourself even if you wanted to.

-Business in the Dominican Republic is much harder than in the states on many levels. Don?t compete with Dominicans on their turf in business. They will win, and you won?t know what hit you. Import your revenue, and become a customer of other Dominican businesses.

-Expect nothing, and you won?t be disappointed.

-The tourist areas are to the rest of the DR as Daytona Beach is to Kansas or Idaho. No comparison.

-There are many more conservative Middle Class Dominicans with strong ethics and morals than most tourists and many ex-pays would realize. Or want to realize.

-Oregano is life. Or so it seems. It?s on everything. Wouldn?t surprise me if it?s on the Cardinal?s mass wafers?

--The least dependable people on Dominican soil tend to be ex-pats. A broke ex-pat can be one conniving SOB.

-Never assume your personal safety or the security of your possessions. It is possible to protect yourself and secure your belongings. You just have to do it yourself, and tell no one what you did or how you did it.

-Living with 10% of your stuff is imminently doable. It?s amazing how few possessions happiness requires.

-Dominican street dogs proves Darwin was right. The dumb ones never get to reproduce.

-If you think you?re a good golfer, invite an experienced caddy to play a round with you. A caddy that was assigned to me in the JGC Christmas member-caddy Tourney shot 5 under par for 9 holes with my old set of cheapie clubs?and complained about his game. Humbling, indeed.

-Dogs enhance a good life. Toby, my 1 y.o. Great Dane that came from Lindsey?s pack, and Perla, the little white street dog puppy that wandered in one day and won the Doggie Lottery, make us laugh every day.

-I?d rather eat modeling clay than a boiled platano. But I?ll kill for platanos maduros fritos. What a difference fructose makes.

-If Spanish was mathematics or physics, I?d be fully fluent. My brain needs better wiring for language. It?s a continuous struggle to improve.

-Dominican beef sucks.

-Life is MUCH less expensive at under 700kwh per month.

-Styrofoam containers have more of a negative impact on life in the DR than Drug Lords do.

-Sour Orange is excellent in iced tea.

-Most Dominicans are polite enough to hear criticism of their country and how much better where you came from is than their country, but they really don?t want to hear from you.

-It costs $US0.15 per mile less to operate my SUV on propane than on gasoline. That is a savings of almost $US30 per tank.

-The best way to truly experience the DR is on a motorcycle.

-If I had to describe the DR in one word, it would be ?loud?.

-Alcohol sales may stop at 12 or 2am, but the noise doesn?t.

-The fatter your wallet, the more handsome and charming young Dominicanas think you are.

-Nature is working full-time to reclaim the island. That is why the roads are never complete.

-That mob thinks they are standing in line.

-Pedro Santana keeps my music mojo intact.

-If Milton had been Dominican, Mayes would occupy their own level of hell.

-Dominican politics and elections are better than most spectator sports.

-Seriously. Don?t drink the water. Ever.

-Starbucks has nothing on Monte Alto coffee.

That?s my short list, just off the top of my head. I?d be interested in what others have learned living in the DR.

Bob K

Aug 16, 2004
Great post. However your forgot one we quickly learned.

Manana does NOT mean tomorrow. It has no bearing on time other then to mean it will not happen today.
So "I will do it manana" from a Dominican means it won't happen today but when????????????????????

Bob K


Pro-Bono Demolition Hobbyist
Jul 24, 2004
Hugs to Toby.

Toby, then:

With sister Missy:

And now:

Toby needs a girlfriend. He's well equipped and ready for the responsibility...


New member
May 4, 2008
Great post!
I'm glad that you are on the right track with your life and business.
I wish you success and happiness in both.
Unfortunately I start to give up on the dominican beef.
I'm not a cattle expert, but I always wondered why is it?
Are they just waiting till they are getting way to old?
BTW, reading your thread made me thinking, was there ever a thread started with a title: " you ARE a dominican if:" ??
For example: you are a dominican if you can transport your whole family in a pasola.
If not, we should start one.

The Hun


Pro-Bono Demolition Hobbyist
Jul 24, 2004
What say you about your adopted home town Jarabacoa, if I'm correct.
Very nice place, clean, cool and people who love and respect their town. It is much more middle class-esque than most towns I know of.

I like it here. But it DOES have a nice little golf course that can be played whenever you want, so that helps.

One of the nicer places in the country, IMO. I enjoy living here, and it's just 40 minutes to Santiago.
  • Like
Reactions: LindseyKaufman
Aug 21, 2007
cobraboy- you have gained much wisdom in one year. Your post was astute, funny, and perceptive. Thanks. I enjoyed reading it.



May 29, 2004
Congrats on your first year... and thanks for taking the time to make your list. You hit on so many truisms - many which are seldom discussed.

I especially appreciate your comment 'Never, ever underestimate the ability or resourcefulness of a Dominican'. It gets so tiring hearing people say how lazy Dominicans are and how they can't accomplish anything.

Again, congrats on year #1.


Aug 15, 2006
Never, ever underestimate the ability or resourcefulness of a Dominican. They could build a space shuttle out of cement, rebar and used moto parts if they wanted to.

:bunny: My step son made a door out of wood,
that i would never have attempted
it looked like a load of fire wood :speechles

-Seriously. Don?t drink the water. Ever.
or cook with it
good post cobraboy


Aug 11, 2002
congrats on the year, my experience is that without my dominican wife's large family, i'd have made it about only a month, and with a sister in law who is an accountant and a brother in law who is a colonel in the national police it is still difficult.
as far as beef goes, the only thing that comes close to a US style steak in flavor is cube, or cubed, steak, the thinner the better, one minute per side in a frying pan, available at most supermarkets...............


Mar 4, 2004
Gosh was it really a year ago? I don't know if it's gone quickly for you, cobraboy, but it has positively rocketed by for me. Thanks for sharing your insights. Can I add one? Look at all the preparation work you did before arriving - I feel that ought to be mentioned somewhere because there are probably some who won't be where you're at after one year because they started from a different place. If that isn't too tortuous :cheeky:.

La Mariposa

Jun 4, 2004
With regard to the beef situation we found, when we first arrived here almost 3 years ago, that it was almost inedible but I think we have found a good way to tenderise and develop the flavour due to a simple tip given to us to "age" it. Wrap in a clean tea towel, place in the bottom of the fridge for 10 - 12 days, rinse it off with good water then either marinade, grill, fry or freeze... works for us and none of our guests have complained either.

I wrap it in a wet towel, put it in the top of the fridge (not the freezer) for about 8 - 10 days, change the towel every 2-3 days . Some american friends thought I brought it from the U.S. couldn't believe it was bought in the campo.