Santo Domingo

To begin, I want to express my displeasure with the internet. Oh internet, I had such great hopes for you. I thought you would forever stop human suffering… I thought you would bring the world together. I thought that you would at least tell me the truth, and in a timely matter.

Instead, for the most part, all you have done is brought all the world’s stupidest people together and cataloged it.

Case in point. As I usually do, I read about the Dominican Republic prior to arrival. There were all sorts of opinions posted, but generally, it said that this is a poor country but has an incredibly vibrant nightlife.

Well, I haven’t seen the whole country, but I have spent a few days in the capital. But I wouldn’t describe it as being poor, at all… and the nightlife is very, verrrrrry tranquilo.

It is very nice here. I especially like the people…. In Camerica, there is a full melting pot… here in the Dominican, you have every shade of people… BUT, unlike in Camerica, they are all locals (ie. not immigrants). I found that really neat. From the whitest of white, to the blackest of black, they are all, for the most part, Dominicans… And, unlike in Camerica, not a thought, or bias, based on skin color seems evident.

I heard, on the internet, all sorts of stories about poverty and crime here in Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo, from what I have seen, is very nice. I have seen nothing but nice people, nice tree-lined streets and nice establishments. It is very, very nice here. If all you are looking for is nice weather, nice people and a nice city, Santo Domingo may be for you. In fact, if that is what you are looking for, I highly recommend it here.

I also heard that the nightlife here is “spicy and the best in the caribbean”. Well, if that is the case, I am going straight back to Mexico or Thailand. Ahhhh how I miss them both.

There are numerous… countless even, merengue and salsa bars, where a plethora of latino couples dance the night away. If that is your thing, this is your place.

But if you want to go to a club, see some hot single girls and listen to some normal music, there isn’t that much here. Most of the places described on the outdated internet were either closed or empty, including a bar I had high hopes for, called La Guacara, a club that is built into a natural, large cave, in the center of Santo Domingo… how cool is that? But it was empty on the Friday night I went… After a few evenings criss-crossing the city I have found most of the better places.. places that aren’t even mentioned on the internet. There is a few okay places in the Zona Colonial… and a few places on Venezuela Street.. one called Eclipse is okay. But if you don’t enjoy doing some sort of robotized (that’s how I see it, although most latinos think it is the most sensual, free dance of all time) shuffle, don’t expect to be blown away by the nightlife here. It may very well be the best in the caribbean, but as I previously stated, if so, I won’t be here too long.

Don’t get me wrong. Other than the nightlife, I have no complaints here. I can’t stop from using the word ‘nice’… everything is very nice. But, as you have probably learned by now, I am not looking for nice… I am looking for places that will give me stories I could never tell my illegitimate grandchildren.

I will go to Boca Chica in a few days… I hear it is beautiful but greasy… perhaps that place will give me more of what I need.

However, for you poker players out there, this is the easiest place to make money I have seen yet. There are numerous casinos here and most have one or two poker tables. The easiest/best one is at the hotel next door to the Renaissance Jaragua… I forget the name, Melia maybe… but it has the easiest game I have ever seen. There are no blinds, but everyone antes in $3 (100 pesos) each hand, for a total of $15-30 in antes depending on the amount of people. I NEVER saw anyone raise pre-flop the entire time I was there (except for myself)… and when I did raise, most times everyone would fold… meaning you could steal hundreds of dollars of antes per hour… and if someone did call, it almost always meant they had a big hand, so you knew to just fold if you didn’t hit the flop. Also, because no one ever raised pre-flop, you would ALWAYS see the flop with any drawing hand… and if you hit your hand, someone would always call with only a pair, guaranteeing you a good return for your best hand.

But the buy in was only a max of 3000 pesos ($90), so no big money is there to be made… but if you want to make a few hundred bucks a day playing poker, like I did, I highly recommend it. The funniest part was that, almost every hand, the people involved would ask the dealer to lay out all the cards after they folded, because they wanted to see if they hit their hand… in other words, everyone there was playing for the hope of hitting their hand, not playing to play well… for those of you who know poker, you will understand, from what I have said, what a bonanza this place is for the player who wants to grind out a living on the tables.

I still have 5 more days here, before I have to briefly go to the US… I don’t have high hopes for any exciting stories, as explained above… but I have some hope for Boca Chica. But, in general, if you are a nightlife seeker, don’t expect too much here. In fact, during the week, every club closes at midnight! And even on the weekends, every club closes at 2am, and there are no after-hours clubs that I know of… if you want to party, go to Mexico or Thailand. But if you want to live cheaply, safely and be amongst a lot of very nice people, check out Santo Domingo.

However, if you are more of a day-time person, I have had and seen countless opportunities to just engage into conversation with beautiful girls, which seem to populate this place. If I weren’t such a nightlife lover, I would definitely, without question, consider this to be a top destination. It’s a bit like Havana, but without the poverty.

Like I said… it’s very nice here. If I was looking for “nice”, I’d stay here for a long time.