Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Coral Costa Caribe Memories


Some of my best memories are of my first trip to the DR. Coral Costa Caribe Hotel in Juan Dolio is a reasonably priced all-inclusive with several dining options (all good), various bars, a disco and great nightly shows! Chocolate Friends is a catchy, energetic and fun theme song for the entertainers. The area is only about 30-40 minutes from Santo Domingo, so we took many day trips and club trips into the city.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cocks Are Big in DR

A favorite past time (other than baseball) is cock fighting. If you're curious and see a structure like this you can rest assured that cocks are on display.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Makeover in Martinique

With its first hotel in 15 years, new non-stop flights, and a surge in excellent restaurants, Martinique's capital, Fort-de-France, is about to become a thing.

From an approaching boat Fort-de-France is clearly framed between history and modernity. On one end is the 17th century Fort St-Louis, the oldest building in town and one of the Caribbean's best preserved forts. An active military base, it houses 200 members of the French navy. On the other is Pointe Simon, a gleaming business district. It's a visible sign of the changes that have come to the island, which also include a modernized sea-front, restaurants from young entrepreneurs, and electric cabs you can hail for exploring the city.

There's news on the hotel front, too: surrounded by multi-colored houses, the renovated Fort Savane is a minimalist boutique property with black and white touches. The first hotel to be built in the city in 15 years, the 94-room Simon Hotel recently opened.

Yann Chalono has re-created the Brazilian atmosphere and tastes of his youth at Favela (7 Rue de la Liberation; 596-596-79-41-72; entrees $14-$28) There's ambitious mixology going on as well and sorbets made with local fruits at Le Cloud (Rue Ernest Hemingway; 596-696-27-56-73) an industrial-looking rooftop bar. And the best gelato in the area is at Coco Bello (Village Creole).

There is no real gay nightlife to speak of, but there is a gay scene for those with insider info. If you get friendly with someone on grindr or if you happen to meet someone discreetly at any number of the mainstream bars, you may get invited to a private garden party or rave. If you don't, no worries. We are talking about Martinique, a French governed destination, which means homosexuality has been legal for generations, even though many attitudes can still be conservative. Gay marriage has been legal on the island since 2013, so if you're considering a fabulous destination wedding...

Martinique does have gay-owned and friendly accommodations. Check out Purpleroofs.com. There is a beach frequented by gay residents and travelers in Les Salines. You can also get information about gay culture on the island through their only LGBT agency JM Concept

Resources for this post are Travel & Leisure magazine as well as globalgayz.com. This Youtube clip is quite informative about Martinique, its culture and emergence as an upcoming Caribbean hotspot!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tragedy in Orlando

The media is reporting that three Dominicans are among the 49 dead so far at the shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando in the early hours of Sunday morning, 12 June 2016. The gay club was holding a Latin music night.

22-year old Juan Ramon Guerrero, originally from Nizao in the southwestern province of Peravia worked as a telemarketer and was a student at the Florida Central University. Guerrero is the grandson of the deputy mayor of Sabana Grande de Palenque in San Cristobal. He was at the disco with his partner Christopher (Drew) Leinonem, as reported in Listin Diario, quoting several online media sources. Leinonem was also killed in the massacre.

Another victim is 26-year old Oscar Aracena Montero, whose family lives in the Ozama area in Santo Domingo East is also on the list of the known victims, which includes another 16 people of Hispanic origin. Aracena's husband, 31-year old Venezuelan Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, was also reported dead. Aracena Montero had been living in Orlando for 11 years and was a manager at a McDonald's fast food store.

News reports also mention 25-year old dancer Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, who was born abroad to Dominican parents, reports Listin Diario.

It is feared that the death toll will rise, given that 53 people are still being treated for their injuries, some in critical condition.

Omar Saddiqui Mateen, an American-born US citizen of Afghan descent, entered the club and spent three hours shooting people and holding 30 of them hostage. The hostages were released after the gunman was shot dead by the police.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Happenings In Puerto Plata

from dr1:
Puerto Plata amphitheater to open in August
Tourism Area Infrastructure Executing Committee (Ceiztur) director, architect Kirsis de los Santos has announced that the park and the amphitheater being built at La Puntilla opposite the San Felipe Fort off the Malecon in Puerto Plata will be inaugurated in early August 2016. Construction of the amphitheater and the park started in 2014, but although they should have been completed in a year's time, there have been some delays.
De los Santos made the announcement last week at the opening of the Sunscape Resorts & Spa Playa Dorada. President Danilo Medina, Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia, mayor Walter Musa, governor Ivan Rivera and other executives were present.
Underwater Life in Puerto Plata at Centro Leon
Centro Leon in Santiago and the Casa de Arte Sosua are inviting the public to a new exhibition, Sosua Vive with photographs of underwater life in Puerto Plata by Bill Passmore. The exhibition is sponsored by the Fundacion Eduardo Leon, the Centro Leon and the Casa de Arte Sosua. It opens at 7pm on Thursday, 9 June 2016 at the Centro Leon in Santiago de los Caballeros.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

First Time

The first time I travelled to the DR, many years ago the Las Ameicas Airport was still somewhat "primitive." Oh, they had recently upgraded from the dirt landing strip I was told, but you still had to exit your plane under the nice warm sun as opposed to a nice cool terminal as you have now. There were many, many people crowded in at the exit from the baggage claim area, which I later found out were mostly there to sight-see and to hustle your money (offer to carry bags or provide a "taxi") I had not learned enough Spanish yet and the experience was quite harrowing, but after a good laugh inside our shuttle it became part of fond memories of the DR. This is an exert from a poem I wrote.

As I exited your portal I could not contain the emotion that had welled up inside me. There was an explosion that rocked my senses, a transcendent spiritual experience. My eyes beheld your beauty, I inhaled your tropical allure and I surrendered to you.

As I made my trek into the fray of the countless others, I was a Johnny come Columbus in this new world. The descendants of  centuries-old inhabitants are more hospitable now. And there in the frightening exchange of linguistics, in the maddening convergence at my welcome, it was then that I loved you.