It displeases me that the Conde has lost its allure. As with so many cities, business follows the money into suburban areas. Then it cycles back into the city core as young professionals want to live closer to work and be centrally located. I suppose we must wait on that to happen in Santo Domingo since there is an obvious lack of motivation on the politicians behalf to be proactive with a real plan to invest in that area for the sake of the city, its history and its culture.
I suppose I am simply venting due to uncertainty of one of my favorite things. I enjoy sitting at Paco's with a limonada or limon froze and having the chicharron de pollo with papas fritas. The Dumbo's Restaurant variation is adequate, but the view and the buzz at Paco's is much better.
The Presidente Beer-sponsored Festival Presidente this year goes global and multi-genre. This year there will be pop, electronic music, R&B, rap and other urban music beats together with the Latin beats of salsa, bachata, merengue. On the list of performing artists is US singer-songwriter Bruno Mars. Franklin Leon, president of the Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana, announced that coming for this year's event, set for 3,4 and 5 October 2014, are Daddy Yankee, Mana (Mexico), Gilberto Santa Rosa (Puerto Rico), DJ Tiesto (Holland), Calle 13 (Puerto Rico) DJ Duck Sauce (US/Canada), Victor Manuelle (US), Wisin y Yandel (US), Prince Royce (US) and Daddy Yankee (US). Participating from the DR are Yiyo Sarante, Alex Matos, Hector Acosta, among others.
The calendar is:
Friday, 3 October: DJ Tiesto, Calle 13, Duck Sauce, Don Miguelo, Vakero, Mozart La Para.
Saturday, 4 October: Bruno Mars, Daddy Yankee, Prince Royce, Chiquito Team Band, Sexappeal, Yiyo Sarante, Alex Matos, Hector Acosta, Miriam Cruz
Sunday, 5 October: Mana, Wisin y Yandel, Anthony Santos, El Mayimbe, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Victor Manuelle.
Oscar de la Renta: 50 Years at Bellas Artes. Do not miss the exhibition on Oscar de la Renta and his influence and impact on fashion and design over the past 50 years. Opening Thursday, 18 September 2014 through 15 November 2014 at the National Gallery of the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Santo Domingo.
The city's leading gastronomical event, Taste Santo Domingo 2014 will take place on 27-28 September 2014. French-Spanish chef Mikel Alonso will be doing cooking demonstrations this year. He is known as the Basque Food Ambassador in Mexico, where he has successfully blended his Basque culinary heritage with the influences of his adopted country. Colombian chef Jorge Rausch will also be attending. An economics graduate of Austrian descent, Rausch owns seven restaurants in Latin America and is a cookbook author and reality TV show producer in Colombia.
The annual event will also feature wine specialist, Pablo Banos, who is the editor and founder of the Mexican wine magazine, "Mi Vino Mexico."
This year's event also includes a culinary film festival at Palacio de Cine, with screenings at 3 and 5pm on
Change is coming rapidly to Bogota, with the spread of European style cuisine and lodgings-a matter of pride among Bogotanos. Yet the capitol of Colombia remains resolutely local, especially in the old Candelaria neighborhood. In the middle of La Candelaria but on a quiet street you'll find Italian-owned Abadia Colonial, cast from a traditional Colombian residence. Rooms, simply furnished in period style, look out on a courtyard. Also notable: a glass-roofed dining area, from $68 dollars US. Those staying outside La Candelaria should try the homey Hotel Casona del Patio, in Chapinero, a quarter known for its bars; from $67. The folksy, popular Casa de Citas Cafe Arte draws big weekend crowds with live music, salsa dancing and Peruvian dishes. You will taste country cooking the way it was prepared in Bolivar's day at La Puerta Falsa, founded in 1816. If it's full, check out two like-minded eateries nearby: the Antigua Santa Fe and La Puerta de la Tradicion, where you can sample Bogotano favorites such as ajiaco, a chicken-based stew. Temperate weather reigns in Bogota; the driest conditions occur from December into March. Many newcomers feel the effects of Bogota's altitude (8660 feet). Common symptoms include shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping and mild dizziness. Acclimation usually occurs within a few days; limiting alcohol consumption aids the transition. Colombia produces more emeralds than any other country. So, put that on your souvenir list. Colombia is also the world's second largest exporter of both coffee and flowers. There is magic to be found in Colombia's many towns and cities, especially the walled city Cartagena, where stories of pirates, love and war are as alive and real as its welcoming cafes and restaurants. Exploring Colombia may take you to the Caribbean Sea on the mini-paradise of San Andres island, where you can dive on dazzling coral reefs. Or head directly to Colombia's southern coast for a whale-watching jaunt. On Gorgona Island, just off the coast, nature lovers can hike nature trails or hang out on sparkling beaches. Delve into more magic amid the intense green of the Amazon rain forest. You may also consider a visit to the San Agustin Archaeological Park where more than 500 imposing stone statues stand as testaments to the mythology of an ancient people who lived here and then mysteriously vanished. Or head up north to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria, whose peaks soar to 19,000 feet, and discover a lost city. Whatever your interest, Colombia has something for you!