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Published: April 4th 2012
It's been a few weeks and a busy time in the office, but I snuck out for 4 days to go to the D.R. for their 2nd Intl. Bachata Festival the weekend before last. After an 8 hour busride I was in Santo Domingo for an incredible first trip to other country that shares this island. Not only was the contrast in city infrastructure striking between Haiti and the D.R., but even on the busride over there was a notable difference in the agriculture: organized fields, tools, tractors, irrigation systems for rice fields, etc. (another convo about international investment and country histories would be great to have here, but I can't do it justice now...). Anyways...
It was the first time I've ever paid for a hotel in my adult life (granted I shared the room to save $$$ with 2 people I had coordinated with on Facebook via the festival), and I really took advantage. Hot showers twice a day (hadn't had one in 2 months)!! 2nd's and 3rd's on the buffet line for breakfast (expresso!, all you can eat fresh tropical fruit, croissants...yes please!). The first trip I made out of the hotel was to
Dancing dancing dancing
until 4am....that's how it's done!
the supermarket where I prompty bought a liter of yogurt and nearly consumed all of it right there in the store - the lack of flora in my intestinal system these last 2 months have caused severe stress in the diarrhea/constipation department, if you catch my drift...Along with the yogurt I bought chocolate, cheese, and apples!! Heaven!! I was SO grateful to be able to enjoy these things.
Anyways, back on the dancing track....I love the D.R. just for the fact that bachata music is played EVERYWHERE! Literally, in stores, taxis, food stands, clubs - you could probably walk from one side of town to the other and hear bachata music the whole time, and then walk into the countryside and still hear it. Honestly, the workshops were okay except for Troy and Jorjet's which I made special effort to attend, as I've followed them on YouTube a bit and have heard great things about their workshops. I was not disappointed! Being as I'm self-taught and have never taken a bachata class before, I really enjoyed the way they taught and broke moves down. Fantastic.
It turned out that roomates had come to know Joan Soriano (one of
dance. dance. dance.
my favorite bachata singers, and quite famous internationally too) and so I got pulled into hanging out with him and his family for quite some time over the weekend (I didn't object! And didn't mind skipping the other workshops). He was a fantastic host, and took us to the countryside of his humble background to hang with his family and dance at some local outdoor bars by the side of the road. His family was fantastic, and many of them tour with Joan and sing as well. I LOVED IT!! And I got to speak Spanish, which I was afraid had been pushed to the depths of my mind as it's been consumed learning Creole...but lo and behold it came back no problem!! The brain is amazing, and I'm glad mine functions well.
Joan even came out a few times for the bachata parties (I was up til at least 4am dancing for all 4 nights...) and his wife/family came too. His wife, after hearing that I hadn't painted my nails in about 7 years, did my toes up in 5 minutes literally - I asked for purple, naturally. She is super talented, look at the picture. And then
Hotel! Buffet! Hot water!
Grocery stores! I love the D.R!!
my toes looked super good (still do!) in my dance shoes, and I had to really resist buying another pair....
Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE TO DANCE!! It was a super fantastic weekend and vacation after being in Haiti for 2 months. And I met lots of great people from around the world. I'd love to go back and explore more of the D.R - maybe for their Intl. Salsa fest in October? Anyhoo, another blog post to come very soon about Haiti and what's going on with me here. Hasta pronto.
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