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By Led Black

Image0022 Nothing against resorts but after going to resorts for the last few years, I’ve kind of grown tired of them.  It’s almost like if you’ve seen one, you have seen them all.  Don’t get me wrong, the family and I, had a great time at the Mariel Coral Hilton.  The grounds were immaculately kept by the staff that seemed to be working 24/7.  The pool had to be the biggest pool in any resort I’ve been to.  My 2 little girls and I stayed in the pool from when it opened to when it closed.  By the time we checked out of the resort, I was so dark I looked like Cuco Valoy.  My one real gripe was the food.  After a few days of so-called international food I was dying for plain ole Dominican fare.  Some tostones, rice, beans and meat properly seasoned and cooked would have hit the spot. 

Now that I am a father, I want to instill in my children the same love of country that my mom implanted in my brother and me.  My oldest daughter, who was 6 when we made this trip, has been to DR a total of 3 times in her short life.  She is completely enamored by her country and its splendor.  After this trip, I have pledged to return to this beautiful island at least once a year.  Love of this country is DNA-deep for most Dominicans.  Never mind the annoying plane ride, we would swim here if need be. 

As each trip to DR winds down and I’m faced with the thought of returning to the states, I always feel a profound sense of reverence for the DR as well as for being Dominican.  If my mom had not left this country all those years ago, I would not have had the opportunities or lifestyle I now enjoy.  While my mom left the DR, the DR did not leave her.  She brought to her new home her Dominican work ethic, fierce pride and tenacious determination. 

This trip, like the last few trips, was not planned.  It was kind of spur of the moment.  I just felt that I needed to go.  Wifey was getting bigger and it was either go now or wait until my 3rd daughter was old enough to make the trip.  I could not bear to wait that long.  It is only so much Santo Domingo Invita a Dominican can watch before they are on a plane headed to Quisqueya.  For a good portion of Dominicans that reside in the U.S., the Dominican Republic is still home.  “Un pie aquí y un pie allá” is our motto.  Frequent trips to DR are a way for Dominicans to recharge their batteries and rejuvenate themselves.  “Para botar el golpe” as my mom likes to say.  It is a defense mechanism to help deal with the rat race that life in the U.S. can be at times.   

On our last day in DR, my cousin Uri overslept causing us to almost miss our flight.  In actuality, it was a blessing that we arrived late because it deprived the customs folks in the airport in Santiago a chance to really mess with us.  On the way back to the states everyone’s luggage including ours is filled to the brim with Presidentes, cheeses, oregano, coffee etc…  The plane ride back is usually not as bad because everyone is tired from their trip.  There was this one dude though who refused to be seated no matter how many times the stewardess told him to sit down.  Like I said at the beginning of this Travelogue, you can take a Dominican out of DR but you can’t take the DR out of a Dominican. 


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  1. Reply

    This was a perfect ending to the travel log. Very, very good work my brother.

  2. Reply
    Led Black

    Juan, thanks for the love, it is much appreciated.

  3. Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed each and every part of your DR Travelogue. Your descriptions were so vivid, it almost felt like I was there! You have cleared your name with the Part 1 “haters”. I laughed my ass of with part 1 because I’ve experienced this myself. I sent this to my friends and we all got a kick out of it. My favorite part was part 4 “La Casa de Mama”. As a mother, I can only imagine playing this role without the benefits of the English language in a foreign place. God Bless your mom and all of our Mother’s and their struggles to get us where we are today. I can’t wait until you go back and provide us with the next Chapter…Keep up the good work!

  4. Reply

    Congratulations on such a fine piece. You really captured our Dominican-American experience in your travelogue. All my Dominican friends have been flooding me with e-mails saying how much they loved the DR Travelogue!

  5. Reply

    I loved the entire travelogue. I related to almost all of it. I hope you don’t mind, but I shared it to my incarcerated 3 brothers and I’m sure they’ll pass it along (the 3 different jails they’re at). They really enjoyed and looked forward to me sending them the parts, one at a time. Wait til I send them “El fin”! Thank for sharing “compatriota”.

  6. Reply

    There could not have been a better way to express this love, hate feeling about being DOMINICAN. I loved it, Maestral, Maestral.

  7. Reply

    I’ve just finished reading all seven parts( and ode to the platano)of Mr. Black’s travelogue and failed to find that which would have created a “stir” in the Dominican community. The personal experiences and views of one individual are just that. I’ve experienced most of what Mr.Black has while travelling to the DR, with the exception of getting whipped at dominoes. I lived in Mao in the early 60’s and if he thinks Esperanza is “countrified” now…there was no “cruce” then, just a dirt road! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece and hope the hypersensitive few would just “chill-out”.

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