| ||Dominican Republic: Part 1|
I had to escape the bitter cold of NYC, so what better place to pull a Houdini than.....
The Caribbean of course!
Only a 3 hour hop away by plane, yesterday I landed in Santo Domingo, the vibrant
seaside capital of Dominican Republic.
It's not just sun, sand and sea here. This city is the Caribbean's most urban, vibrant and
sophisticated with many upscale hotels, restaurants and pulsating nightlife.
No sleep the night before after a whole lot of frantic packing whilst making the cab
Santo Domingo may be a sprawling metropolis of 3 million, but it's soul is found within
a special one square mile called the Zona Colonial (Colonial Zone). It was the location
of the original Spanish settlement, founded and ruled in the 16th century by none other
than Christopher Columbus!
Being the history buff I am, I decided I wanted the ambience and romanticism of such
an old-world setting. For the first few nights I'm staying in the Coco Boutique Hotel.
My panorama shots of the reception:
A stylish little hideaway
Checking into the room...
It is tastefully done up, and aptly named "Black Vanilla"
Lunchtime, hunger strikes. We head to a nearby recommendation for some Dominican food
It is a small rustic local spot...
Typical cuisine: Rice and beans.... Grouper fish with creole, a tomato-based sauce
.... And you definitely can't forget the fried plantains!
Work off those calories- explored the area a bit after.
El Conde. A main pedestrian street with shops, cafes and touristy stuff.
Vegas? Or umm... more like "Super think-twice-before-gambling-here"? ;)
Roaming other streets further....
I like the colonial buildings. Character.
Dawn the valet at your service. Not afraid of oncoming traffic.
Pace of life here feels slow and relaxed
Can I bring this charming alleyway back home?
After a proper siesta in the hotel, I wake at 9 for a late dinner. Apparently it's not uncommon
at all for Dominicans in S.D to have their dinner at really late hours - they go dancing after!
Coco's reception area looks a different kind of glowing lovely come dusk.
Taxi cab drives us around the Malecon, the long and breezy seaside boulevard with many
high-rise hotels and casinos.
It was hard to communicate because he didn't speak much English, in fact not many people
here do. He stops us at a few different restaurants, none of which quite catch our fancy. We
pass by a tall three-tiered structure with large open spaces and brightly lit up; more importantly
there were plentiful cars parked and many people still eating at 11pm - a sure sign this place is
Wow, turns out we hit bull's eye on the spot :) Adrian Tropical is popular chain renowned to
have the best Dominican food, and it is highly recommended by everyone (we checked with
our concierge and guidebooks)
I loved the setting overlooking the ocean. Nice experience. Wouldn't mind coming back here
during the daytime.
Our meal here made lunch utterly pale in comparison.
Fish in an egg-based soup (extremely generous portions of fish), Dominican style shrimp and
chicken fried rice, and if you're wondering what that round thing on the right is......
Mashed plantains stuffed with crackled pork, and more meat accompaniments on the side.
A crispy mouthful of delish.
Taking a walk along the Malecon, you will find cheap food carts dotting the sidewalks.
I was eager to try some authentic local ghetto-style food, but alas dinner at Adrian Tropical
still had me bursting at the seams.
Ended off the night with a quick pop into a crowded discoteque we happened to pass by at the
Melia Hotel Diamante Casino. Joined the local crowd with some very enthusiastic dancing to
club tracks and merengue music. Crazy lasers and lights all over the place to boot.
Merengue is heaps of fun! I love the tropical, lively and infectious rhythms that exude warmth,
passion and even melancholic romance for the slower songs. The genre originated right here in
Dominican Republic, and is of course loved all over Latin America. The Spanish word
merengue surprisingly means meringue, the dessert confection made by whipping egg white
and sugar together. Might seem a tad odd, but after watching the zesty movements of couples
doing the merengue on the dancefloor, one smiles and realizes that the name fits ;)
I just spent the wee hours of the morning going without sleep working on this entry despite this
supposedly being a carefree holiday - I'm intent on keeping my resolution to blog more
regularly, and I know many of you are glad to hear that. Stay tuned to more updates soon... I
did a walking tour of the Zona Colonial today and saw all these great historical sites I can't
wait to share!
Buenas noches. xoxo.
| ||Posted 1/8/2010 6:24 PM - 7375 Views - 26 eProps - 34 comments|
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