A friend called me from Dallas yesterday and we began reminiscing about our first trip to Santo Domingo. During the conversation there was one recurring thought. "My, how things have changed." When we first began going to SDQ there were only a few, a handful, of Americans that had set up camp and called SDQ home. And one certainly never expected to bump into a friend or acquaintance. It was unheard of. People were simply not travelling to SDQ in droves. Hell, most people never heard of it!! We got our first inkling that things were changing a few years ago when a good friend that was part of our group spotted a fellow Dallasite in one of the clubs. The guy had heard about SDQ from a friend: about how beautiful the country was, and the people, and about how inexpensive it was to be entertained. (Of course, that was when the exchange rate was RD$49 to US$1) Well, the cat was out of the bag. That's what happens when queens can't keep their mouths shut!!! Gotta go home and tell all the haters what a great time you had.
Well today, you see people you know ALL the time. Many Americans are now living in SDQ and several have thriving businesses. More and more flights are being added to accomodate the rising interest in the countries capitol city. Unfortunately, the influx of tourist dollars seem to have made some people in the city a bit greedy. (Dominicans and others likewise) Have you noticed how many drinks are priced similarly, if not higher, to drinks in the US? Why is that, when most liquors can be found cheaper in SDQ? A bottle of beer is sometimes twice as high in a nightclub than it is at a restaurant or in the market. And the buggies have lost their minds!! (that's short for buggarones, if you didn't know) They sweat you all night, even if you say you're not interested, then have the nerve to ask you for 2000 pesos. WHAT?!!! Vamos a su casa, ti hombre loco!! The value of the peso is improving, so why is it that goods and services are not reflecting it?
All in all, SDQ and other parts of the Dominican Republic are still a great place to vacation. After reminiscing over the phone my friends and I have tentatively planned a trip for February. Rather than complain about the changes on Temptation Island, we are going to vent our frustration on one of the airlines. We hear they will match the lower rate of a competitor as appears on their very own website.