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February 17, 2009
  • Carlos Santana: Live Your Light
  • Carnival in Punta Cana
  • Good feedback on Chocolate Tour
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Time for whale-watching in Samana
Carlos Santana: Live Your Light
Carlos Santana will be back on 7 March at the Altos de Chavon Amphitheater. For many old-timers, he will be picking up where he left things. As it happened, on 22 August 1982, as part of the inaugural concert series for the Amphitheater, Carlos Santana initiated a legendary full-house concert that to the loud protest of all had to be suspended due to a torrential rain storm. The crowds enjoyed so much the start of the concert under the rain that thousands stayed on in hopes the rain would subside. The concert had to be cancelled, nevertheless. Santana acknowledges that his fans have been eagerly awaiting a new opportunity to be inspired by his music. Carlos Santana will perform in La Romana as part of his tour Live Your Light 2009. A Latin music living legend, and a member of the Rock n'Roll Hall of Fame, Santana's sales surpass 100 million records. He is winner of 10 Grammy Awards, 3 Latin Grammy Awards and has been named Person of the Year by the Latin Recording Academy. His four-decade career is considered one of the best of guitarists of all times. Tickets are on sale at Casa de Campo Concierge desk, at Soloticket in Santo Domingo (Tel 809 565-0030). General admission is RD$3,500 and VIP tickets are RD$7,000. See www.carlossantana.com
Carnival in Punta Cana
Punta Cana will be picking up carnival, after it dazzles all with its parades in Bonao, La Vega and Santiago on Sundays in February. Punta Cana has set Saturday, 7 March as the date for its 2009 Carnival. The event will take place on Boulevard 1 de Noviembre, at the Puntacana Village as of 4pm. This is the second year of the Punta Cana Carnival. More than 15 provinces from all around the country, with an expected 1,000 costumed participants, will parade to show off their folkloric traditions. The event is sponsored by the Puntacana Resort & Club and the Union Carnavalesca Vega, with the support of Presidente, Brugal, Tropigas and Codetel.
Good feedback on Chocolate Tour
DR1 reader James Streator writes:
"We visited the DR for 10 days in January, staying 5 days in Boca Chica and 5 days in Cabarete. We drove a total of about 600 miles in the eastern half of your country and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and found the Dominican people some of the most friendly we have met in the Caribbean. We went on the Chocolate Tour that had been described in an earlier DR1 news letter [Travel News 9 December 2008]. You should do as much as is reasonable to promote this tour. All the people involved could not have been more friendly. We had to enlist the help of a motoconchista to get through Hato Mayor to find the Cacao factory but even that was a positive situation. The ideas of fair trade, of the small plantation owner and of the women's group are powerful enticements to get tourists to visit the location. I was quite glad you originally described the tour since that is what got us thinking about driving to Hato Mayor to find the Tour de Chocolate."
The Tour de Chocolate takes tourists "off the beaten track" into the countryside. The eco-tourism project is run by the Association of Cacao Producrs in the East, an affiliate of the National Confederation of Dominican Cacao Farmers (Conacado). The project spreads the benefits of tourism beyond the beaches.
The tour consists of three official stops, but along the 22 kilometers between El Seibo and Hato Mayor there are other stops that are almost obligatory due to the attractions.
The tour starts at Luis Mejia's farm, where all the processes in the production of cacao are demonstrated for the visitors. Dona Mercedes shows visitors how to open a cacao pod. Visitors learn that it takes three or four years for a tree to begin to produce pods and a cacao tree can last as long as 150 years, but the most abundant crops come after 40 years. A curious note is that a tree might have as many as 6,000 flowers but it will only produce about 20 pods.
Another stop is the egret sanctuary at El Rancho near the Cibao River. While the egrets make a lot of noise and emit bad odors, farmers consider them their friends because they eat insects and other pests. The second official stop is the center for gathering the seeds at San Francisco Vicentillo in El Seibo. Here is where the cacao seeds begin to change their flavor and start smelling like chocolate. Severino Vilorio explains the fermentation process. He is a youthful 74-year old who grew up farming cacao. Of his seven children, only one has followed in his footsteps. The third stop is filled with the aroma of chocolate, and the visitors can taste all the products made from the bean: liquors, wine, preserves and candy. This is the Women's United Hope Association's Fermentation Center in Yabon, El Seibo.
For more information, write to Hector Romero at [email protected] or call 809 553-2727, or in Santo Domingo, 809 957-6203
Fiddler on the Roof
The National Theater in Santo Domingo is presenting "The Fiddler on the Roof", the musical with original music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick based on a book by Joseph Stein, set in Tsarist Russia of 1905. The book is based on the story of Tevye and his daughter and other tales by Sholem Aleichem that were published in 1894. The musical, in its Spanish version, will be on stage 19, 20, 21 February, and then the next weekend. Guillermo Cordero presents Kenny Grullon as Tvye and Nuryn Sanlley as Golde in the staring roles, with an impressive support cast.
The Fiddler on the Roof is known as the longest-running Broadway production.
Tickets are available at the National Theater box office.
Time for whale-watching in Samana
These are whale-watching days in the Samana area. Thousands of humpback whales from the North Atlantic migrate to the waters of the Dominican Republic each winter to mate and give birth. Their most popular winter rendezvous is Silver Bank, the 3,000-square-kilometer reef system approximately 70 miles north east of Puerto Plata. But from there many circulate to other popular areas like humans do at singles bars! One of these gathering places is Samana Bay. It is estimated that more than 1,500 humpbacks visit the bay, with as many as 300 present at any given time during mating season.
The World Wildlife Fund considers Samana Bay one of the best places in the world to watch whales. It offers something for everyone-the outer bay is where you might find aggressive males competing for the favors of willing females, and the sheltered inner bay is one of the most important humpback nurseries in the world.
Overnight in Samana hotels or in the Cano Hondo ecolodge from where excursions can be arranged.
See http://www.dr1.com/directories/hotels/paraiso_cano_hondo.shtml

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