Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Not Jumping Ship
From the time I first travelled to the DR I loved it. Granted it was not the capitol city as the travel agent had said, but looking back she probably didn't know it herself. Not many people had even heard of the Dominican Republic then, and much like today, people are still guided to the north coast or to the resorts, though word has spread about the benefits of staying in Santo Domingo proper, especially if you are LGBT.
That said, my first trip was glorious! My group had the best of both worlds. We stayed at a nice resort in Juan Dolio and enjoyed its accommodations, then ventured into Santo Domingo to party and to explore the city. We made the best of it. During that initial trip we met some long-time acquaintances and picked up on the unspoken and spoken codes. One thing was for sure, we were definitely returning to SDQ and would be staying in the city when we did.
Yes, so many things have changed since those days of Paradise, Penthouse and the others. Even the short-lived Atlantis was a great dance and mingle spot on the Malecon. There have been others to make their mark, such as Monaga, JD's Disco and the Sports Bar SDQ and I agree that Bar Phoenix, aka Bar Freddys aka Bar Friends, is a bit cheesy, but that's what makes it the gathering place that it is. It has never tried to be something other than what it is, even under the auspices of "Dr" Leon.
There has always been a need to have a place to let your hair down, somewhere unpretentious, where one can be uninhibited. Even if it seems a bit seedy, that is its calling card. That's why places like The Lido stay in business. And don't pretend you don't know about The Lido theater.
Yes, there have been changes in our little piece of paradise. Fact is, there will continue to be. This is life, honey. Change is inevitable. I have learned that things cycle back around. I have also learned that we, LGBT, can be a fickle bunch.
No, I'm not ready to give up on my beloved DR yet. Cuba is forthcoming on the travel list, but I have history with the DR and I just believe that there is much more to discover. I believe that beautiful tropical flower will continue to blossom and reveal even more.