Over the last several weeks, we have gotten a LOT of rain. And when it isn't raining, the sky is just overcast and foreboding. I feel bad for those coming looking for the heat and sun. Right now it is raining buckets. And this past weekend it was rainy, cloudy and dark the entire weekend. God knows we need the water.
The Don Juan Resort in Boca Chica, has been given a two million dollar facelift. For years, it was essentially a dump. But now it looks very nice. Thanks to F.W. who sent me an email after recently staying there.
While in the U.S., most people are ordering their Black Friday purchases online. The opposit is in effect in the Dominican Republic. Black Friday has been heavily promoted, and there are some deals. But the prices are STILL more than they should be.
There is much to do in the colonial zone. But there is no one place to find out what's going on. Here are some things I found. Years ago, the restaurant at the Mercure had the best steaks in Santo Domingo. They have revamped their kitchen, I'm told. We can only hope.
Ballet in the colonial zone.
Antica Pizza has 50% off pizza on Monday's, starting at 6 p.m.
A nice pool hall on El Conde. That used to have strippers.
A new seafood restaurant has opened on the malecon, Nautilus.
SegaZona has specials every night of the week. Monday: Happy Hour 2x1 5 pm to midnight Tuesday: Martini Night 9 pm to midnight Wednesday: Mojito Specials 5 to 8 pm & food specials from 5 pm Thursday: Happy Hour 5 to 8 pm & Half-price pizza from 8 pm Friday: 2x1 Sangria Specials 3 pm to 1 am
Movie made in the Dominican Republic, with Geraldine Chaplin. It has been called the best movie to come out of the Dominican Republic. It has been submitted to the Academy Awards for best foreign-language film for next year. And has won several awards at internation film festivals. The N.Y. Times (below) has a glowing review, posted just a few days ago. I have seen a couple of snippets and now I desperately want to see it. The characters could be interchanged with a gay man, and his love interest..
I know this has nothing to do with the Dominican Republic. But, I am soooooo proud of President Obama. He is the first sitting president to be photographed for the cover of a gay publication. And to think, just ten years ago, George W. Bush won the presidency by scaring folks abut gay marriage. And here we are today, and everyone can get married in any state of the union. Now, President Obama isn't perfect. No human being is. But he has definitely been an ally, hero and icon to the gay community of not just the United States, but to the world. Again, I am very proud.
Today is the grand-opening of the new supermarket on El Conde. I can't tell you how happy I am. And, on top of that, it is one of the best supermarket chains. This area desperately needed one. And now we have a really nice one. Can't wait to walk over and see it in person.
Ya se siente el movimiento en nuestra sucursal del Conde.#NacionalConde
Well, it's here. Uber is now officially working in the Dominican Republic. And, the prices seem to be cheaper, to about the same, for the same ride. The difference is you can call a taxi, and sometimes a run-down hoopty arrives. All Uber cars are modern and air-conditioned. It is said that some of the Uber drivers also have wifi for clients. I have been talking with some of the taxi drivers that I have knows for years. And they all ask me the same thing. What do I think? Do they have something to worry about? And my answer is YES. To those that sign up to Uber they are offering two free trips, totaling RD$300 pesos. The sign-up code is: UberRepDom. Now, let's see what the cost is to come from the airport, and MANY taxis are going to feel the pinch.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy sent out this email alert today: The U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo alerts U.S. citizens in the Dominican Republic that on or about November 2, 2015, Uber (an app-based, peer-to-peer ride sharing service) began operations in Santo Domingo.
The Embassy is aware of recent reports in the Dominican press indicating that existing transportation unions “will not permit” Uber to operate. Uber has experienced opposition to its expansion in other cities around the world; in some cases, this opposition has been violent.
While the Embassy has not prohibited its personnel from using this service, we recommend that all U.S. citizens pay attention to news coverage for up to date information related to Uber’s service as it begins its operations.
Seems like Santo Domingo may finally start working on the cable cars they have been talking about for years. It is based on the system that is in place in Medellin, Colombia. But now, works seems to be getting started.
Uber is here in the Dominican Republic. It has been talked about for the last several months. But now, all the talk has been increasing, because they are now interviewing drivers. And to say that the taxi unions are not happy would be putting it mildly. A taxi driver I know, who has a nice car -- and deals more with business people than tourists -- was turned down. Doesn't know why. But the rumor is that they are not looking for taxi drivers. They want people who want to earn extra money and have nice cars. I can't wait to see how this plays out. Will be interesting. And like in many cities, powerful forces are promising a huge fight.
(Reuters) - A French pilot who fled the Dominican Republic in what appeared to be a well-planned escape by speedboat after being convicted of drug trafficking said on Tuesday that he did so to get his story heard.
Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos were sentenced to 20 years in prison for possession of cocaine with intent to traffic. They were arrested on the tarmac at Dominican Republic's Punta Cana airport in 2013.
They deny the charges and had been free to move around under judicial supervision while awaiting an appeal in what has been dubbed the "Air Cocaine" case by French media.
The Attorney General of the Dominican Republic, Francisco Dominguez, said on Tuesday the Justice Ministry would review international protocols and work through diplomatic channels to seek the pilot's extradition from France.
In a press conference Dominguez said he had already requested an international arrest warrant for the pilots.
"Right now we´re in contact with French authorities, not only to determine how they fled the country and their accomplices, but also in order for them to assume their responsibility in the country," he said.
BFM TV carried photos of the two men in a speedboat and said they went from that boat to a larger vessel, which sailed to the nearby French-governed part of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, about 730 km (450 miles) from Santo Domingo, the capital of Dominican Republic.
They arrived back in France on Saturday. Le Figaro newspaper said they were "extracted" from the country by a team of people.
The Foreign Ministry said the French government was not involved in helping the men flee.
Odos and Fauret were convicted of smuggling 1,500 pounds (700 kilos) of cocaine seized on board an executive jet at the Punta Cana International Airport in March 2013.
Fauret and his lawyers would not be drawn on the nature of the escape, but the pilot told reporters he was in no way a fugitive from justice.
"From the moment when justice does not conduct an inquiry, does not listen to us ... I am sorry but my instinct is to return to my country where I can tell my story to the courts," he said.
Two other Frenchmen who were also convicted in connection with the same case are still in the Dominican Republic.
The 10th Annual Dominicana Moda is in full bloom. It has grown by leaps and bounds. And it is the premier showcase of Dominican talent. In both fashion design, and modeling. It has grown to the be the largest Fashion "Week" in the Caribbean. There are many upstarts, who have fashion shows, with authentic-sounding names. But this is the real deal. Consistently attracting an internation design house. This year, the closing show will be by Jean Paul Gaulthier. As always, the gays are running shit. I mean, I don't believe there is one male makeup artist there who isn't gay. Not too mention the male designers, AND some of the models. But kudos are in order for this year's presentation. Here are some photos:
Next week, will be the one year anniversary of the murder of Van Teasley. I have been searching around to see if I could find out any information on the case. And unfortunately, no information (that I cound find) is available. I do know that the alleged killer is still in jail. He posts often on Facebook & Instagram. And according to rumours that I have heard. He has some "foreigner" helping him with money, and I am assuming his legal defense. Again, this is just rumour and conjecture. But, if the photos are to be believed, I woudn't doubt it. I know that when the local television broadcaster, Claudio Nasco, was murdered. It was almost two years before the trial started. And the killers were found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prision. I do know that Claudio's family were involved in making sure that his death was forgotten. I don't know if any of Van's friends or family are in contact with the local authorities. Hopefully, justice will be served and Van can truly rest in peace.
Nina's is a place that has been open for a while. While most businesses that cater to tourism in the colonial zone are going through some desperate times. There are still places that are thriving. But, they cater to a local clientele. And I got a chance to go and check them out when I was on my hiatus from blogging. It is a gallery, that also features live music, and has great food. It is patrionized by an extremely loyal fan-base. Very bohemian with writers, artists and performers. If you are interested in art and music, give them a try.
Isn't he beautiful. He is a transgender man of Dominican origin, and his name is Laith. I just saw it on one of the Instagram sites I follow, FamososRD. As you can imagine, not everyone is supportive. He is a model. They just opened a new trans modeling agency in NYC. And you can see more photos on his Instagram page. And you have to hear that voice. As Bob Dylan once said, the times they are a changing.
There's a big controversy going on now. A Dominican policeman uploaded a video to YouTube complaining about the conditions that policeman have to deal with everyday in doing their jobs. His main gripe is the salary. He is paid RD$5,800 pesos per month (about $128 U.S.). He breaks it down to RD$16 pesos per hour (35 cents). Everyone here hates the police. But, this young man has, I think, very eloquently said what all the problems are. Even with the leadership. Well, as you can imagine, that didn't go over very well. And he was snatched up and arrested. But, because of the loud outcry from social media, and others, he has been freed a couple of hours ago. The best thing about this video is, many Dominicans are now questioning how you can have a police force where they make so little. While some pensions for the higher-ups in government an be up to $10,000 (U.S.) PER MONTH. The corruption is staggering. Will be interesting to see what happens to him now.
For a while, I had noticed that a lot of houses and buildings were being painted. This is in the section of the colonial zone called Santa Barbara, which is in the far northeast section. A lot more commercial spaces, but many families live there also. Then I found out, that some artists got together and were sponosred by some major Dominican companies to do this. As a way of bringing tourists to these areas that they would never otherwise go see. If you didn't see the same bullshit paintings over AND over again. You wouldn't understand that there are some really talented artists here. And this project proves it.
Many years ago I put up these photo on my old blog. They were taken by Paul Culver. Who always gives me some exclusive photos when he shoots in the Dominican Republic (or anywhere, for that matter). He then gets a call from the model who is upset that his photos are on a gay blog. I take them down. Fast-forward eight or nine years. A friend of mine is in a gay bar in Jackson Heights (Queens), New York. And sends me some blurry photos of the hot Dominican stripper (he knows of my stripper addiction). I kept looking at the photos because the guy looked familiar, but I just couldn't place him. Weeks later, while watching a re-run of the Golden Girls, it hit me. I remembered where I know him from. And he is still looking good. Made it to NYC and does some stripping, or so it seems. Paul is coming next week. Can't wait to see who he shoots this time.
A new place opened in the colonial zone a couple of months ago. It is called the SAWU Cigar Club & Disco. It is owned by the former (current?) owners of Fogoo Discotec. All are welcome, but I have been told in no uncertain terms, it is NOT a gay club. Got it? Watch the video of their opening, and see for yourself.
Another space that has opened is the Trio Bar & Lounge. I originally wrote about this space a few months back when it known by a different name (link here). It is now decidedly more upscale. They are open everday from 10 PM - 6 AM. It used to be the Trio Cafe -- and was known for its rich and famous clientele -- and located in the smart section of town. It has now moved to the Sheraton Hotel.
And the Euro Club is another club that will have it's grand-opening next week. It will be located in the Hispaniola Hotel & Casino. Many clubs are opening in hotels now, because there is no curfew, and the clubs can stay open for as long as they want. More info after it opens.
Former New Yorker (Harlem!) living in Santo Domingo since January 2004. The person I was when I arrived is a totally different person today. I still love living in the D.R. Even with all its obvious contradictions. This blog is where I write about things I find interesting with the gay community, news, gossip, culture, and of course, men. Strictly from my point-of-view.