One Day in Santo Domingo

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Celt202

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Yesterday morning I was walking in my neighborhood. As I came to a major street there was a crazy street person breaking windows of parked cars and yipetas with rocks. Several car owners appeared and chased him down the street. They caught him and hauled him back to where he had done the damage. Three or four of them proceeded to beat him silly with fists and boards.

I stayed around to see what would happen. They flagged down a police patrol that happened by about forty minutes after it all began. The cops were reluctant to stop but they did. They listened to what the witnesses had to say, wrote nothing down and took away the hapless perpetrator.

I spent some time talking to several people about what happened and one theme kept surfacing. People kept saying that the government consistently fails to deal with street people like that. Several serious people suggested that what often happens if someone like that becomes a serious continuing problem in a neighborhood eventually someone will kill him.

Later in the day I stopped into the colmado next to where all this happened in the morning. I struck up a conversation with a man from Spain. He had been staying in the Zona Oriental and had had his money stolen. He called his family and they sent money to Western Union. A "friend" offered to take him to Western Union to pick up his money and then take him to the airport.

The "friend" robbed him at knifepoint of his passport, suitcase and the money and took off without injuring him. All he had left was his Spanish cedula. He was waiting for more money from home and a duplicate passport from the Spanish Embassy.

I told him about the English expression "school of hard knocks" which I translated "escuela de golpes duros" and that he had just earned a year or two worth of credits. He laughed. He'll do all right in life with a good sense of humor.

It was his first visit to the DR. He says he won't be back.

Last night I called the colmado for an order. The kid showed up with a brand new laminated carn? (photo identity card) pinned to his shirt. I asked him what was up with the carn? and he said there have been tigres roaming the neighborhood on motorbikes that look like colmado bikes mugging people.

This morning I was out walking and three police came by on motorcycles accompanied by a fire department yipeta that was packed with young males. I watched them stop several young men who were able to produce cedulas and explain their presence so they let them continue.

Boys and girls, this is not Kansas.
 

ZEUS

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Why don't you call this Thread 'One Day In The World'. Unless you're tellling that there's no crime in Kansas or anywhere else matter.

Zeus
 

Tamborista

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Apr 4, 2005
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Why don't you call this Thread 'One Day In The World'. Unless you're tellling that there's no crime in Kansas or anywhere else matter.

Zeus

The Toto is better in Santo Domingo than Kansas, Dorothy.
 

RonS

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Oct 18, 2004
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No. Crime is not unique to the DR. But one should not be so dismissive of the OP's point. We all should be careful, however long we have visited or have lived there. The rule of law is truly not observed in the way it is in many 'first' world countries.
 

Celt202

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May 22, 2004
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Zeus, if you want to find out about bad things that can happen in Kansas read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.
 

J D Sauser

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... a man from Spain. He had been staying in the Zona Oriental and had had his money stolen. He called his family and they sent money to Western Union. A "friend" offered to take him to Western Union to pick up his money and then take him to the airport.
The "friend" robbed him at knifepoint of his passport, suitcase and the money and took off without injuring him.
Seems that besides delincuentes we do get our more than fair share of plain stupid folks over here too.
This is certainly not meant to justify hustlers, con men and robbers... but there are just to many stories being reported of people getting shafted, robbed or seriously hurt because they were doing things or acting in ways they would never even do or act like back where they come from. :tired:

But I must say, that the only two times I felt "the heat" closing in on me here in this country, was in Santo Domingo.
  • Once a guy tried to intimidate me with his prison, drug and crime stories, in several quite well spoken foreign languages... I "intimidated" him back, to his surprise in HIS language and in no uncertain terms... he then chose to make "friends" and let it go... (but no, he has not yet become my driver when I go pick up or deliver money :))
  • Second time, when I spotted some guy disguised as some kind of street idiot, checking out chassis (VIN) of cars (mine too) parked on the parking lot of the hotel I was in. I warned the the guy at the lobby, who only tried to make me believe "que no te preocupes este solo es un tonto que anda por aqui...". I decided to play tonto too, showed myself as satisfied with the explanation and went out walking, cool, but grabbed the first patrol I spot and had them both checked out. The "tonto" was immediately recognized as a having worked in car theft schemes and the guy from the lobby was never seen working there again.
... J-D.
 

Thandie

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I recommend reading a very powerfula and educational book (especially to the females on the board) called...

THE GIFT OF FEAR by Gavin de Becker.

https://www.gavindebecker.com/books-gof.cfm

Amazing tips on how to protect yourself and the importance of listening to your intuition. If your gut tells you something is wrong LISTEN to it, dont ignore it !!!!
 

AZB

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you make friends with conchos, cab driver and street tigres, then chances are, you will get robbed on the way to the airport. Come on folks, get to meet the real dominicans for a change.
AZB
 

Thandie

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Firstly "Real Domincians" drive taxis and conchos, I have met many nice ones...not all are bad!
But I dont think it is wise to discourage people from posting their warnings/stories here out of fear that they will be called stupid, or etc.
Effective communicators understand that you can give constructive criticism without insulting and being rude to someone.
Just a pet peeve of mine that I see on many message boards.
Bad things happen to people in much safer countries....and its not because people are ALWAYS stupid or doing stupid things. Sometimes bad things happen! Thats life!
Knowledge is power and by someone posting their story it brings AWARENESS and could possibly help someone else....or maybe even you!
 

AZB

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I alway hear people say, the taxi driver, hotel workers, shoe shine boys, the waiter, the colmado boy, the motoconcho guy etc are good people with kind hearts. Why can't the same people tell me that lawyers, doctors, business owners, bankers, general manager of a company etc are also good people? why is it that in your view of most expats, only the poor and desperate have the monopoly in being good folks?
I tell you what I am talking about:
Every time I am in a company of a foreigner, I always see them with a puta, a motoconcho, a resort sankie, a handy man who fixes their toilet, the damn beach bum who works in some shack or simply a jobless jose. You people really think these losers are real dominicans? You think they pay taxes, pay lights, water, cable or do anything productive to advance their country move forward? It simply makes me sick to see foreigners only socializing with scum of this island. People who are even looked down upon their own folks. Then the same people complain of high crime, robberies, puta, unfaithful girlfriends, abussive, drunk domincian boyfriends who beat them up regularly, who don't work etc etc. Yes, you people will see the worst of this country just because you folks deserve it. Keep finding love in filth and then scream foul.
Why is it that these things don't happen to us in santiago? Why is it we are not surprised to hear what is happening to foreigners or crimes in barrios?
I can care less if all the barrio tigres kill each other. My life is totally unaffected.
AZB
 

Matilda

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Sep 13, 2006
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I alway hear people say, the taxi driver, hotel workers, shoe shine boys, the waiter, the colmado boy, the motoconcho guy etc are good people with kind hearts. Why can't the same people tell me that lawyers, doctors, business owners, bankers, general manager of a company etc are also good people? why is it that in your view of most expats, only the poor and desperate have the monopoly in being good folks?
AZB
Funnily enough I have been ripped off much more by the doctors, the lawyers, the bankers and the company directors than the shoe shine boys, colmado boys etc. The latter rip you off for 20 RD$, the former for at least 50,000RD$,

I know which I prefer. There are good and bad amongst the rich and the poor. It doesn't matter which social class you come from nor what you do for a living. I am influenced by the person. Not their job title. Being poor doesn't make you bad. And being rich doesn't make you good either.

Matilda
 

AZB

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I know, I know, no matter how you cut it, you folks just can't stay away from motoconchos and barrio folks. You folks always find reason to socialize with the servent class of this island. So please spare us of all the sad tales that you will encounter in life.
AZB
 

Lambada

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Being poor doesn't make you bad. And being rich doesn't make you good either.
Matilda
Of course, but you won't convince AZB because he has internalised the classism endemic in this society. Nor does he realise quite whom dines at your table............. ;). Reverse colonial imperialism is a fascinating topic but maybe a shade removed from Celt's post. For which I thank you, Celt202, most illuminating.
 

cobraboy

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But AZB does make some good points. I know folks who travel here that hang with folks of unknown/dubious character, in neighborhoods/barrios that they would never, ever be caught dead in where they come from.

They come to Paradise, and lose touch with their sanity and defense mechanisms.
 

J D Sauser

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I alway hear people say, the taxi driver, hotel workers, shoe shine boys, the waiter, the colmado boy, the motoconcho guy etc are good people with kind hearts. Why can't the same people tell me that lawyers, doctors, business owners, bankers, general manager of a company etc are also good people? why is it that in your view of most expats, only the poor and desperate have the monopoly in being good folks?
I tell you what I am talking about:
Every time I am in a company of a foreigner, I always see them with a puta, a motoconcho, a resort sankie, a handy man who fixes their toilet, the damn beach bum who works in some shack or simply a jobless jose. You people really think these losers are real dominicans? You think they pay taxes, pay lights, water, cable or do anything productive to advance their country move forward? It simply makes me sick to see foreigners only socializing with scum of this island. People who are even looked down upon their own folks. Then the same people complain of high crime, robberies, puta, unfaithful girlfriends, abussive, drunk domincian boyfriends who beat them up regularly, who don't work etc etc. Yes, you people will see the worst of this country just because you folks deserve it. Keep finding love in filth and then scream foul.
Why is it that these things don't happen to us in santiago? Why is it we are not surprised to hear what is happening to foreigners or crimes in barrios?
I can care less if all the barrio tigres kill each other. My life is totally unaffected.
AZB





I think that AZB not only raised some interesting questions but also was quite adept to include some obvious answers between the lines.
I agree with the general message (except with broad labeling of street and beach people as "scum"... which I doubt was AZB's intention, but it may read as such).
I think that there are several reasons why this happens. Dominicans and Latinos in general have a big advantage over most expats... they can easily be outgoing, approach people make "friends" without feeling strange or about it. Foreigners naturally feel flattered by the interest... specially coming from the opposite sex and when they are sensibly younger. People from the street or beach also have daily contact with foreigners and have learned to handle the language barriers. Many foreigners coming here feel just great about their ability to speak English, German or what ever developed country's language they believe to speak so well they think they could do a killing by teaching it here. But most of ALL, street and beach people (of which most are certainly not "scum") have the TIME to mingle and build contacts and it seems to be of INTEREST to them to do so.
On the other side, people of higher education, social level and business (there is actually more than quacks and scheisters) do in general not NEED to mingle with some stranded foreigner wandering around in flip flops, flowery Hawaii shirt and a big Presidente bottle in his hands.
In other words, most expats will find that making it INTO a higher level of society does nos not come by itself... actually, it is quite difficult.
And to be sincere, I haven't been very successful at it either yet, but I am here only just over 1 year and I understand it takes time and I will have to prove myself locally before some people will feel interested in my person and what I do or can do.
This is no different in most any country, it's called networking.




... J-D.
 

cobraboy

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I've been in several situations where I was NOT approached because I was not Dominican, contrary to being in the tourist areas.
 

AZB

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And to be sincere, I haven't been very successful at it either yet, but I am here only just over 1 year and I understand it takes time and I will have to prove myself locally before some people will feel interested in my person and what I do or can do.
This is no different in most any country, it's called networking.
... J-D.
I am glad you get it and get it so easily, just like cobraboy.
Its quite easy to get in to the circle of the decent people of this country, all you have to do is act decent yourself and follow the rules of the society. You would so pleased to see that dominicans love and appreciate a foreigner who is willing to respect their culture and the social norms that they have setup for themselves. The educated, decent folks who are the ones who move this country (meaning: pay taxes, lights, water, cable, shop at real supermarkets, work in respectable jobs, drive nice cars and live in real residential neighborhoods etc). I am not even talking about the super rich, just your average decent law abiding middle class citizen. I understand these types exist in a very low number in the coast. If they do, they are generally hidden in their own nice neighborhoods. So generally you only see the servant class in the coast who are seen as the only type of Dominicans this country has to offer. I do respect the poor hardworking folks anywhere but my point is towards the most Dominicans who are friends with the tourists and expats there. If they need your friendship, then be careful, there maybe a surprise at the end waiting for you.
My friends are not super rich in santiago, they are your average folks who live as if they are living in any 1st world country. We have everything in common and no one feels sorry for anyone. We are all equal. Once you live among these people, you will see that you will almost never see any crime or ugliness in this country. This rule holds true in any country. I never went into ghettos or projects looking for friendship in USA. I don't do this here.
Its all about how you carry yourself in this country. If expats are seen with putas and sankie type losers, then chances are these expats will not be considered quality people by dominican standards and thus, will not be approached by decent dominicans. This is a concept many cannot understand on dr1. I have a feeling, many expats really do want to be with the servant class and will do anything tobe with them.
AZB
 

AZB

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I've been in several situations where I was NOT approached because I was not Dominican, contrary to being in the tourist areas.
Cobraboy, you are the type real dominicans would be honored to have you as their friend. You are doing everything right. You are already with a real dominican. Just give it time and see you will fit in just perfectly.
AZB
 

AZB

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Speaking of the Spanish fellow who got robbed on his way to airport by a dominican friend. Please anyone care to show me one espanol in the coast who is not with a hooker or a jobeless loser? For everyone you show me, I will show you 10 who are with putas.
AZB
 

Skippy1

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AZB if only you were a little more sensitive and a bit more articulate I would vote for you in the Presidential elections... if I could........lol

The issue you make about association with the poor and uneducated is the western guilt trip.....you see it is young Canadian US and European woman mostly 30 something over educated and over burdened with guilt for their good fortune.
They fly thousands of miles passing the poor and needy in their own countries and neighbours to bring a book and some crayons to some barrio school because it makes them feel better (oh and the beaches are better than some Somalian desert slum, I wonder what the real attraction is?) but has little effect on the kids they think they are helping.
The desire to associate with poor and needy they would never associate with at home is a magic pill that they can talk to their friends about and say what a good person they are......polluting the planet to get here and then fueling the sanky system by perpetuating them with money and a reason not to work or get an education.

Long live AZB tell it like it is!!!!!!

Skippy1
 
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