Touchdown Santo Domingo. God it feels good to be back in a Spanish-speaking country. I love being able to communicate with everybody, and man I love speaking Spanish. It was just as much my first language as English, only it has decayed from neglect and a lack of formal study while my English and my ability to write in English solidified into something I'm proud of. One of these days I will call a Latin country home and Spanish will begin its comeback.
I'll tell you, if I hadn't experienced Port-au-Prince already, I'd report Santo Domingo to be a hustling and bustling and all over the place kind of city. It is, in fact, just that. Only now, with Port-au-Prince available for direct comparison, Santo Domingo is unquestionably a few rungs down on the "Holy shit." ladder. I like it here. It's hot. I like that now. It makes the ice cold Presidentes that much better. I'm writing this as I enjoy that very thing and wait for my food at a diner type placed called Grands, recommended by Patricia, the manager of the low-key, backpacker-oriented hotel I'm staying at - Foreigners Club. Normally I'd likely steer clear from such a named establishment, but the internet masses highly recommended this place, and the internet masses were once again right. Within five minutes of my having checked in, a local guest named Bien (the dude is named "good"!) handed me a coconut he just bought off a street vendor's cart. Bien indeed! Super refreshing. Coconut milk is a wonderful thing. I drank it and chatted away with an English girl from Manchester who's name I forgot to get, and who was very likely the object of Bien's affections, and then, once they departed, struck up a conversation with a guy who looked Haitian, but is Dominican. Seemed a really nice guy, until he hit me up for money. Predictable, but dissapointing nonetheless.
This is the more diverse side of Hispaniola. Dominicans can come in light-skinned (Spanish likely), beige (Spanish / Indian?), mulatto and black. There are also Asians here, and you'll see a lot of places that sell Chinese food and fried chicken. Reminds me of the East Village. Ah, NYC, thou art a special place. Then of course, there are the straight up pales - me and my northern European brethren (although now, with my Haiti tan, I definitely don't qualify as leading the pale pack).
The roads here are all concrete, and stop signs / street signs exist, both of which are very limited, if not all together missing in Haiti. You can immediately feel the European influence here (not that concrete and street signs are of European descent, I'm just playing mental hopscotch), which is as it should be - this was the first European city in the Americas (actually, is this technically the Americas?). Let's just call it New World. First European city in the New World. After the Taino people, original natives of Hispaniola, burned down Columbus' first choice for a capital city on the island, which was along the coast of what is now northern Haiti, he chose Santo Domingo as his replacement. A few decades later, the Tainos were virtually extinct - wiped out by slavery, a Spanish policy of basically genocide, and Old World disease. Columbus was a major dick, in case you didn't know. I'm going to go visit his grave tomorrow. I'm tempted to spit on it, except I'm afraid that may lead to crazy fucking Dominicans spitting on me later that day in prison. I'll silently spite him. It won't matter, dude did what he did. He's certainly not the only one who has destroyed people along a path to personal grandiose. Hell, I think that's basically written into elements of the human code, certainly the male code anyway. It has been that way since we've been here, and continues still. I'm reading this book, Emergency Sex & Other Desperate Measures: A True Story From Hell On Earth. It's about UN relief workers, and places like Cambodia, Somalia, Uganda, and yes, Haiti. Proof positive the major dick gene is alive and well in us homosapiens.
But enough about dicks. I just met a solid dude. He's from Brazil - Dorian DaSilva - and he's a DJ. A progressive house DJ. Oh really Mr. DaSilva? Fancy that, I was once that exact thing. As a matter of fact, I just spent this afternoon walking around Santo Domingo rockin' out to Nick Warren. We hit it off, he loves New York, and he gave me a free pass to "Fashion Day" later tonight. Modeling show + afterhours party that he'll be DJing. Hey, when in Santo Domingo... Sounds fun, and I'm always down for good music. Models... meh. Fun to look at, but usually a major pain in the ass, and without the ability to see beyond their own silhouttes. Of course, that's NY and LA. This is the DR. Maybe the models here are a little more fun. We shall see.
Of course, this means Q must go pick up some proper attire. These New Boots and the stained ass shorts and t-shirts I brought with me are designed for Haitian rubble sites, not Dominican fashion parties. Just as well - I'll need the clothes for the resort as well. They may just straight toss me out if I roll up like this.
So yes, there you have it. Traveling, as always, proves to be awesome. Life is short people. Give up the cubicle jobs. Give up any shitty job, period. Sell your shit, it isn't that important anyway, and pay off your debts, or, if you're totally fucked for debt, just declare bankruptcy and be done with it. That's a hamster wheel you don't want to be on. The world is big, and for the most part, friendly. Couchsurf. Drink cold beer in really hot places. Make an ass out of yourself speaking a language you don't know how to speak. Smile. Laugh. That's universal. It'll work itself out in the end.