Las Terrenas: Get off the beach and get into town
25 Mar 2009
If you come to Las Terrenas, the nearly-hidden enclave on Samana Peninsula on the country's north side, be sure to step away from the pricey, over-populated beach-side area and venture down Calle Principale, the main street and the place where prices, and inhibitions, drop. It is only here that you will find pollo a parillada for mere pesos, fresh meat, freezing cold Presidente beer in a bumping bar aflame with the sounds of merengue, and yourself haggling over the freshest avocados and papaya in the hemisphere. This is where real Dominican culture comes to life-- sometimes rude, often dirty and difficult, but always passionate. Sure, the beach and it's many French and Italian restaurants are great, but main street es mucho mejor.
Fight cat calls with cat calls
27 Mar 2009
Faced with the unending onslaught of unwarranted attention from Dominican men, I've learned that, though machismo is alive and well in this country, it isn't nearly as threatening, or as annoying, as many perceive it to be. As long as you know how to give it right back.
A friend gave me this advice one day amid a symphony of catcalls, hissing and crotch-grabbing in my direction. "Point at them and yell like a mad mother. Like when your dog pee on a floor. Do it!" So I adopted a masculine stance, crossed my arms, and mimicked them. "Hola, papis!" ('Hey boys!) I shouted with puckered lips and kisses. "Tienen novias?" (Do you have girlfriends?) Then, I started to hiss and emitted a loud, cat-in-heat cry. They stared, blinked, and, after a long pause, burst into laughter and sauntered off. Problem solved.