I have been silent for too long! -Read this if you are thinking about coming here

DominicanQuest

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Oct 22, 2012
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Hello ladies and gents. I have been meaning to make a thread about the DR for some time. I am going to try to be as objective as possible. This is especially for those looking to come to the DR - based on my experiences:

*34 year old African American here for 2.5 years. Fluent in Spanish (learned in school back home, still perfecting it now.

The good:

Caring people. Seriously, Dominicans have been very nice to me. They are extremely helpful. I have seen numerous situations in which the people here RUN toward an accident or something in order to help. They chase thieves and beat the crap out of them. They feed me first if I am a guest, or even if they cook at my house. In their house I don't usually buy the food, in my house I do.

The weather and natural beauty. I like the weather, but I would say its good but not great. It gets pretty hot and humid and is rarely "fresh." I love the beaches and there is plenty of nature to discover here. I wish there were more animal species. But I think it is a pretty beautiful country, especially once you get away from the cities.

Choose your lifestyle. If you are conservative (I am not) or like a more traditional way of life, you can find that here. Make no mistake, sex is everywhere in this country. But, it has more of a traditional social set up than back home. Men work and women either work or stay home. It is more a decision based on economics and personal preference than societal pressure. Women are free to be professionals or mothers, and are not forced to be doctors and lawyers in order to fulfill someone else's idea of what she should be.

There is a flip side to this. There is a very low marriage rate and a high rate of couples splitting up. But YOU can find whatever you want here. You can be in a traditional relationship far easier than back home, because women are not forced to "live up" to some other woman's idea of what she should be. But, if you want to live an alternative lifestyle - gay, swinger, have multiple partners, be single and celibate, whatever - you can do it here.

The bad:

Power and water outages. I live in a decent area and really don't suffer from either much, but they are a nuisance when they happen.

I consider the roads to be the true DR danger. Its more dangerous for Dominicans than for me because I tend to travel in taxi, not on moto or pasola (moped). But I have never understood why taxi cabs often have the seatbelts deliberately removed. In this country you are likely to see bad traffic accidents happen in front of your eyes. Many people are amputees and a large percentage of them lost their limbs in traffic accidents while on a motorcycle.

The violence is talked about so much that you feel unsafe, even when you are relatively safe. Everyone loves to talk about violence here. The national past time is complaining about violence and how bad things are economically. I do believe violence and robbery happens. But, I also think that all the talk about it makes me feel less safe than I really am.

Poor quality of life for locals. It is true that your friends and their families will likely hit you up for some money from time to time. The education system is a total joke. People are struggling. I saw on TV that a general in the police makes 31,000 pesos per month! These are the guys living in multi-million peso homes. How? You know how. Its a symptom of the culture. People can't afford food, are often unemployed, and there is a very large portion of the population which is marginalized. My DR based family is through my wife. I am African American - not latino. They are all poor. Seriously, $5 is a big deal to them at times. But one thing I will say is they never ask me for money. I think they know I'm just not having it. I can see how a weak willed person could easily wind up broke, depressed, and not trusting anyone here. Often times this happens due to their romantic interests and his or her family. I cold write a book about this. But the truth is that the family will often get what the can because they are BROKE! Like, "I cant make it to your graduation because I don't have the $10 for the transportation" broke. The key is just knowing how to say 'no' with a smile, and not caring if they talk bad about you. Dominicans have enough tact to always treat you well to your face as long as you are always cordial to them.

The Ugly:

The noise. The noise in this country is very likely to affect you if you live in a city. It is not just noise, it is NOISE! at night, when you are trying to sleep. I lived near an outdoor drink and they had total disrespect for the neighborhood. Luckily no one went there and it eventually closed down.

The pollution. How would you like to stand at a stop light and get a healthy dose of bus pollution in your face every time one passes you? That is what it is like in the cities here. The countryside is far better though. But, big industry, like Barrick Gold, are polluting some of the countryside as well.

Corruption. I have never had to pay off a police officer. But, the situation is quite clear that this country is corrupt, even when I am not personally being extorted. The salaries the public officials are paid are way too low for them to live the way they do.

The Crazy:

No one in this country has change for any kind of currency over $200 pesos ($5) It is the craziest thing I have ever seen I probably my #1 complaint. I have been in many arguments over it.

Remember when they taught you to get in a single file line in elementary school? Forget that when you come here. Dominicans usually do not stand in line. Period.

Sex is a currency in this country. If you don't know what that means, you will learn after being here for some time.

Misconceptions:

Its cheaper. Some things are cheaper, some things arent. I find food to be similar in price as in the U.S. Gas is more expensive, so is buying a car. Mortgage rates are 13 percent!!!! My light bill is slightly lower than in Miami, and my rent is less than half. You can find gym memberships which are cheaper or more expensive than back home. Public transportation is cheaper, but far worse in quality. I havent bought clothing here, but it can be found for cheap. Movies and movie refreshments are cheaper. Electronics are almost always more expensive. For example, at Wal Mart you could probably by a fan (necessary here) for $25 bucks for a big one. Here, a standard fan is $50 and up.

Its violent. As I said before, there will always be stories of people who have been robbed and killed. I am not saying that the DR is not at all violent, but it is not as violent as some would have you believe.

Everyone is dumb. When you read that all Dominicans are dumb or something like that, consider the source. Do they speak Spanish? Do they regularly associate with Dominicans? There are a wide variety of very educated people here, just like back home. There are plenty of idiots in all countries as well. Many people misjudge Dominicans' intelligence based on a difference in culture. For example, my wife tugs on my daughter's ear when she is choking on some water or something (she is an infant.) To some that is pure stupidity. To me, its cultural and I let it be what it is.
 
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SKing

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Nov 22, 2007
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None of that is new information, but thanks for your point of view on it.
I'm guessing it'll be helpful for newbies to read.

SHALENA
 
Aug 6, 2006
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Not much there to disagree with.
I have not noticed that seat belts have been removed from cabs, but I don't doubt that this is true. And I agree, a dumb thing to do. My guess is that when the reupholstered the seats or put on seat covers, the upholstery guys hid the belts. I have noticed that Caribetours has belts on their buses, at least the ones I have ridden.
 

JMB773

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Nov 4, 2011
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I do not know about other posters but when I read " I do not give Dominicans money" I think they give Dominicans money.
 

Mauricio

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Nov 18, 2002
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2.5 years and still driving around in cabs? When I came here in 2001, the first 4 months I didn't have a car. My life improved big time when I finally bought one.

In 8 years driving in Danto Domingo I have had a few minor accidents (1 my fault), but I'd rather have control myself than put my life in the hands of a cab driver.
 

donP

Newbie
Dec 14, 2008
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Flying is safer than driving.

How about you Don, Have you seen as many accidents here as one does back in the USA?
I only spent limited time in the US.
In fact I flew a C182 from Madera, CA to Ft. Myers, FL and did not see any accidents during that flight. :cheeky:

If you think that the DR is a country with safe driving, you are following the wrong dog... :tired:




donP
 

Mauricio

Gold
Nov 18, 2002
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How many killer accidents have you seen while driving in this country?
Der Fish
Maybe 3 or 4. But I drive 95% of my kilometers in the city. I think most killer accidents happen on the highway. I wonder though how many of these killing are due to bad driving or to idiots taking their chances crossing the highway on foot.
 

SKing

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Nov 22, 2007
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I do not know about other posters but when I read " I do not give Dominicans money" I think they give Dominicans money.
Exactly....like when they say "He has never asked me for anything"...

He's asked for a LOT.

SHALENA
 

CarpeDReam

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Feb 17, 2006
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Quest, that was a very fair assessment. Welcome to dr1. Do u live in the DR? What parts do you tend to go to?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Aug 6, 2006
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Perhaps he does not give Dominicans money, but I find it somewhat unlikely that none have asked him for it.

Just sitting in the Park in Barahona listening to my MP3, a couple of HS girls came up and asked me to buy them ice cream.

I didn't and they were good sports about it, but I doun=bt that this would happen in the US or Mexico.
 

ROLLOUT

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Jan 30, 2012
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About traffic accidents: Have you seen very many? One cannot drive for 3 weeks in Miami or Memphis or Minneapolis or elsewhere in the USA without seeing a killer accident. But I haven't seen but 2 in 3 years here.
Der Fish
Fish, I drive the Sawgrass expressway, I-75, and the palmetto from Broward to Miami on a daily basis, and in 4 years, I may have seen 1 accident.
 

mountainannie

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Dec 11, 2003
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elizabetheames.blogspot.com
I do not know about other posters but when I read " I do not give Dominicans money" I think they give Dominicans money.
I give Dominicans money. I have a regular group of folks.. the old ladies who sit on the street ALWAYS get a few pesos, the shoe shine boys, only once every two weeks, the schizophrenic guy, about once every week, random folks with their hands out, etc.. I have a revolving no interest loan to a friend, who knows he can ask for another only when he pays it back. I drop change on the street at night. Hand the concierge a few hundred pesos for no reason. Sometimes I will hand off some pesos to a mother with kids who does not even ask for it.

What i have Stopped doing is writing a check to CARE, MSF, UNICEF, etc.. since I have now been to parites in various country director's homes.
 

DominicanQuest

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Oct 22, 2012
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I just wanted to clarify about the don't ask me for money part because maybe it came across wrong. Strangers ask me for money all the time. I was referring to my Dominican family (through my esposa.) Of course, as I said, I buy some food when I go to el campo, but never more than a couple thousand pesos. That is the least I could do for the excellent hospitality and 3 meals per day. But I have never been asked to pay for someone's surgery or buy household appliances. I am not expected to pay for everyone's transportation or meal unless I offer. To be sure, my wife will ask me for $100 pesos to get her mom a metro pass or something, but I wouldn't find that odd in the U.S. (if the mom were on social security for example) and I don't have a problem with it here. The point is, I have never been asked by my circle of influence to pay for something out of the ordinary.

Before I met my esposa I actually made a giving budget and gave away some pesos every month. But, now that goes to my daughter.

I didnt buy a car because I didnt know if I was going to stay here. But I am working on my 2nd hija in just the past 12 months, so yea....think I will be buying a car soon.

Btw. I was very sensitive to being asked for money when I got here. There were many chicas that I liked but we didnt make it very far because they expected me to buy all manner of things for them. I wound up starting a family with a really nice girl who was 25 when we met, had no kids, and was finishing college. She never asked me for a cent, and still doesnt ask for much. That is allowing us to save and hopefully buy a house and car soon.
 
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drescape24

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Nov 2, 2011
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Good luck and I wish you continued success with your Dominican life! Congratulations on your daughters!

drescape24