So you're back in the DR for the second time and on this new adventure you want
to take a deeper look at what the DR has to offer. You read the first version of
"21 things," and not only did you laugh at them, but you've understood them and
have become more curious about those curious little quirks in Dominican culture.
This time around, to better gauge the DR culture, you've changed your lodging.
You might be staying at a local hotel (as opposed to a resort), a friend's
house, or on the street; no matter where, there are still some things that
you've seen that make no sense, or a few things that are important that you
should be on the lookout for. Regardless of your particular situation, enjoy
these 21 more things you didn't know about the DR and remember that if on the
first read you've understood them all, you've already been here way too long.
1) DR1 is your best source for everything!
OK, OK, so it's a shameless and somewhat unnecessary plug. I mean we figure that
if you are already reading this article you've entered the magical world that's
DR1 and aren't leaving anytime soon. But hey, one more shameless plug never hurt
anyone - just ask Donald Trump.
2) Sugar Daddy is not a candy anymore
He's 70, she's 18 and the only things keeping these two together is a bottle of
Cialis, his Mercedes Benz, a house at Casa de Campo and the realization that his
"sponsorship" is keeping her from serving you fries at the local Mikey D's. I
can hear all the groans already. In a perfect world she'd go to school and get a
degree and get her own millions, but you've been in the DR long enough to
realize that nothing is perfect.
3) Plantain leaf psychics
As religious as Dominicans are and despite all the bibles and kids named Jesus
and Maria running around, Dominicans believe that reading plantain leaves and
the stains from a coffee mug can somehow predict the future. Add this one to the
list of Dominicanisms that none of us can understand. So you bake a plantain
leaf or tip an empty coffee mug around and read the drips and you can tell my
future? Ooh, I feel a chill coming on! The positive thing about it is that at
the very least Dominican psychics are eco-friendly at 75% of the cost of the
Psychic Friends Network. Dionne Warwick, eat your heart out.
4) Licey, Aguilas: Enough said
Yeah you've heard that the DR is baseball crazy and that the baseball world
revolves around Dominican baseball, but you'd be surprised to learn that there
are only two professional baseball teams in the DR, or at least only two teams
worth cheering for. Ask any Dominican what their favorite baseball team is and
they'll say either Licey or Aguilas. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying
or too ashamed to say which they really like. To be honest, it's the equivalent
of everybody wanting to cheer for the Red Sox or Yankees and no one wanting to
root for the Cubs. Sorry Cubs fans, you had your chance! Guess the term
"loveable losers" doesn't translate into Spanish.
5) When did Friday's become a 5-star restaurant?
We've all been to Friday's, Applebee's, Outback Steakhouse, Fudruckers,
Friendly's and hundreds of other eateries that basically offer the same food, at
the same price with a different lame motif. But for some odd reason Friday's in
the DR is some 5-star restaurant. Wait, what? So hanging out at the mall, eating
bad hamburgers in a really noisy restaurant is back in style? Talk about
exporting bad quality culture. At least there is enough alcohol to get you drunk
enough not to remember where you are. And on a similar note, when did Wendy's in
the DR become so popular? It's not like they even have a 99-cent menu here!
6) MSN Messenger is a must
For all of you who spend most of your time chatting it up online, make sure you
download the MSN Messenger before you come to the DR. No, we aren't getting a
cut from MSN for this plug, though we should be, but for some reason most
Dominicans have never heard of AOL. Add to the fact that everybody in the
country has a Hotmail account, especially since it's free, so you definitely
don't want to be left out of the loop.
7) There is no such thing as "bad hair" in the DR
The number of comb-related injuries in the DR has skyrocketed by 32% in the last
year, add to this the fact that hair relaxer imports have decreased by 72% and
that apparently the jheri curl is back in style (thank you Pedro Martinez!).
Looking at these figures I say we have a hair epidemic, but don't worry there is
no such thing as "pelo malo" in the DR. We'll leave the reasons for this up to
you anthropologists and sociologists, but there are two things Dominicans never
have (besides a good excuse and watch) and that is bad hair and a Haitian
relative!! Go figure.
8) Stoplights are for losers
Ever drive up to a stoplight and see that it's on green but there is no apparent
movement of the traffic ahead of you? Ever wonder why the traffic isn't moving,
thinking there might be a big accident ahead? The answer is simple: in the DR
stoplights are for losers and foreigners. In fact they are more akin to the
Christmas ornaments you put on your tree: they have no real purpose, but they
look real nice. Many times rolling blackouts in the DR cause stoplights to stop
working and transit cops are dispatched to the streets to direct traffic. But at
times, when transit cops are bored and have nothing better to do, they jump into
the middle of traffic and direct vehicles, EVEN WHEN THE STOPLIGHTS ARE WORKING,
inevitably rendering the grid system obsolete and causing head-bruising traffic
jams. This one isn't particularly funny, it just vexed me and I needed to write
9) The 12th kilometer: like your second home
If in Santo Domingo, find George Washington Avenue and drive straight down until
you see the shining lights. Stop when you feel like you're in Las Vegas. You'll
thank us later.
10) Don't take diet tips from Dominicans
Whatever you do don't take dieting tips from Dominicans. I mean taking dieting
tips from Americans isn't such a good idea either, but we're talking about the
DR here so stay with me. Among the most ridiculous items of the day is that
eating rice makes you fat. As if the fried chicken, fried plantains, fried beans
and fried vegetables soaking in oil have nothing to do with it. Add to that the
huge jug of soda and that chimi you ate at lunch and now we blame poor helpless
little rice for making you fat. I mean one billion Chinese people in the world
and never have you seen a fat one. Never have you seen a Chinese man drinking
slim fast or a Chinese woman in a Jenny Craig commercial.
Funny, huh? But not as funny as the idea that tamarind juice makes you sleepy,
that plantains cure diarrhea and passion fruit juice makes you impotent. No
further comment, your honor.
11) You've been in the DR too long if…
You know you've been the DR too long if you know what a "chopo" is. It's hard to
explain what it is or where to find one, but it's something you'll recognize
when you see it. Ever seen Ali G? Yeah, just imagine that hanging out on Lincoln
on a Saturday night. And just to clarify things, if you are still hanging out on
Lincoln on Saturday night you might just be a "chopo" yourself.