Possibly my most favorite hombre while visiting Santo Domingo has been named Domingo.
It has been said that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" and perhaps we tend to romanticize our experiences sometimes, but with Domingo the latter is not the case.
However, I have certainly missed him since that special vacation years ago when we met.
My friends and I were coming out of the airport. We were being escorted to our taxi by the Prieto Tours driver when I spotted this handsome guy staring. I smiled, then glanced back after a few paces and he was still looking so I motioned for him to come assist with my luggage.
We later found out that he actually lived in the mountains and just came to the airport that day to sightsee. Well, he was indeed our Godsend! Though he spoke no english and my spanish was limited at that time, I could make out that he was asking the driver where we were headed. He asked us if it was okay to tag along and we all agreed.
We had no idea this would turn out to be one of the best decisions we had made. One of my friends spoke the language fairly well, so we were able to converse on the drive to the hotel. Domingo proved to be very charming and had quite a sense of humor. Once at the hotel we had him to wait in the lobby, we were at the Hotel Melia, as we freshened up. We went for a walk and to eat, then asked him to meet us in the lobby the next day.
Can you believe he showed up BEFORE the scheduled time? This became the routine for the next several days as we all enjoyed Santo Domingo together. It was a time of discovery, as we were still relatively new to the scene and he had rarely come into the city from the mountains. He would never ask us for anything. He seemed to be having just as much of an adventure as we were and we were enjoying one anothers company.
Of course, we fed him and gave him pesos before sending him home every evening. He was extremely helpful while sightseeing, shopping, at the beach, etc. so he was definitely deserving.
At the end of our trip he wanted to join us for the ride to the airport. This proved to be a huge mistake. As we rode ever closer to the airport we all became quiet. Definitely not the lively bunch we had been all week. I had grown accustomed to that forlorn feeling at the end of a glorious vacation, but this was different. We had met a special guy that had endeared himself to all of us. Someone we had begun refering to as "our baby" or "our nino."
He insisted on carrying my bags into the building. Once inside I noticed that he was hanging his head. When I called his name for him to look up, he had tears falling down his face. Well, that did it! My tears immediately joined his on the tiled floor. We all came together for a group hug and expressed our gratitude. Before we left we gave him a very special token of our esteem that he could share with the family he hadn't seen much of for the past week.
He lit up in surprise, still teary-eyed, and watched as we made our way down the terminal to the gate. We haven't seen "our baby" since then, but needless to say we speak of him often and I continue to hope whenever I exit Los Americas Airport.
Donde esta Domingo?