Since my wife volunteered (?) to work through Christmas and my parents were visiting us for the first time here in the DR, we decided to get out of the city and do some heavy relaxing at the beach in Juan Dolio. I had wanted to go up to the North Shore, but my parents were only here for a few days and wanted to see our house. Juan Dolio is nice in that it’s a beautiful spot that’s only a 35-minute drive from Santo Domingo.
We got good rates, being Diplomats and not having to pay taxes (ITIBIS in the DR is 16%. We’re exempt.) The resort had some pet flamingos:
All in all, we had good times outside of the city. As my wife says (and I agree whole-heartedly), “It’d be so much better if the Government were OUTSIDE of Santo Domingo.” Her theory is that the gov’t pack up and move elsewhere in this country. It’s true. Santo Domingo sucks as a city. It’s dirty, crowded, traffic-prone, and all-around inconvenient to navigate. Like in the US, if the financial capitol were in SD, and the gov’t were in Santiago, or another location altogether, it’d be a better setup. As it is, EVERYTHING in this country is in Santo Domingo: government, finance, trade, people. The country is roughly 10,000,000 people, and a little over 4,500,000 live in Santo Domingo/Distrito Naciónal. It makes for nightmarish commutes and errands.
Despite my ramblings and ruminations on how much I hate Santo Domingo, I do look forward to the opportunities we have to get the hell out of dodge. Those people who have given bad reviews of Santo Domingo in the post reports likely never took the opportunity to get out of the city much. As one explores this country, one finds that there is a lot to offer in this tropical paradise. We’ve been to three of the five most popular tourist destinations thus far, and with the exception of the Juan Dolio trip, we’ve stayed exclusively in off-the-beaten-path places.
On a side note, after our weekend at the beach, our massage therapist came on Monday and remarked how few knots/problem areas I had in my body. Mind you, this was after only 3 days at the beach. It’s crazy what sitting on a chair and looking at the ocean can do for me.