If you had one of those in the D.R. in 1956, you had to be on the Trujillo "A" List!
Quite by accident---or serendipity---I was re-acquainted with someone tonight at Valentino's Cafe in Sosua who I knew when I lived in Sosua 30+ years ago. He was a big macher back in the day. His family has had a farm near Sabaneta, but in the intervening years, he has bought up a lot of real estate, and he does much better at rent that he does at farming. I knew him and his then-wife (American--he's Dominican) and this was before the days of ATMs and Playero and the local industry. They made money hand over fist changing money, cashing checks, renting cars, and helping the very few Americans and Canadians negotiate this country.
It was really fun and nostalgic to talk about what Sosua was like in those days, and it made me glad that I knew Sosua before it was Sosewage. It also made me sad about what Sosua has become. But I love this country. I choose to live here. I am not a citizen and have no intention (at present) of becoming one. I've got the regularization well underway, and although I will probably never be able to vote here, I try to work every day to understand how to survive---and ultimately---to prosper here.
The DR of 30 years ago is long gone. They sort of sold their souls to tourism over agriculture, and at some point, it's going to come back and bite them in the a** if they don't get certain things right.
I love this thread about old DR. I love the stories my great Dominican friends tell me about their childhoods here, about the wonderful traditions of respect, hospitality, and generosity that were the hallmark of Dominican culture. I continue to believe (because I am a cock-eyed optimist) that this beautiful, generous, gorgeous country will find a way.