Could Bar Friends be headed for closure? Last night, as the place was packed with tourists from the U.S. on their Memorial Day holiday. Could this be the last holiday they enjoy there? Rumors are swirling around about its future. It seems the real owner, Dr. Leon's old maid, has returned to claim her property. But, no so fast.
When Dr. Leon purchased the old Bar Phoenix from the late, legendary British raconteur, Lawrence Goldsby, it was purchased in the name of his maid. Or, at some point it was transferred to her. When the unfortunate occurrence of Dr. Leon's arrest and deportation happened. All the people who worked for him didn't know what to do.
But, one person did. George (or is it spelled Jorge?). It is rumored that he threatened the the former maid and her family. Causing her to disappear for years. No one had heard from her, and the rumor was that she may have been killed. In any case, George was able to take over the bar and building, without any resistance.
And it was all rumor and conjecture. That is, until George got extremely ill. After his death and he was buried and not yet cold in the ground, the the maid miraculously re-appeared with lawyers and served papers stating she had come to take her property back. There are SO MANY questions. Where has she been all these years? Why she never tried to reclaim her property while George was alive? Is she still in touch with the reclusive Dr. Leon? Inquiring minds want to know.
But, what is true is that she is back and wants what is rightly hers. And, more than likely, she will get it. But there are squatters rights in this country. But the right lawyer, and knowing the right people will know how to take care of that situtaion. In any case, there are rumors that there are already suitors lined up to purchase the entire building. Rumor has it, that the person most likely to get the building is NOT interested in running a gay hustler bar for tourists. But, instead wants to turn it into an apartment buidling, after some remodeling.
Remember, readers, this is all rumor. I'm sure some of you reading this will have some facts that you don't mind sharing. I will be watching to see how this all plays out.
Now, if someone could just have Dr. Leon contact me. I would love to hear his side. Could he be behind the maids return?
Just when you think the electricity situation in the country is getting better. The lights for the entire country went out last night, just as it started raining (for 15 minutes). And didn't return until this morning.
Today is a holiday (May Day). I went up to Las Terrenas for a couple of days. Only to return and find out that a hotel, Hotel Francés, has partially collapsed. They don't know what happened. It's located in the area of the colonial zone where they are digging up the streets and lots of construction taking place.
Seems just like yesterday, that I was talking about the Johnny Rockets opening in Santo Domingo. Well, they are no more. Well, they have a small space in the food court of Sambil mall. In its place is the first Nike Factory Store in Santo Domingo. I wonder if the prices are competitive with the states? Something tells me no.
A new movie theater has opened, or is opening, in the colonial zone. I haven't passed by as yet. I think it will be geared to tourism. The first movie to show is called the Battle of Santo Domingo. More information as I confirm it.
I was reading this story today. And it made me think about how this is desperately needed on this island. Someone I know of, who has been 'dating' a bugarron for five years, was here recently. He came down when the American Embassy approved the visa for his 'boyfriend.' But while here, the boyfriend's mother, implored him not to take away (for good) her son from his children. Children? Yes, he has six kids, said his mother. The foreigner had no idea. And if that wasn't enough, his mother started talking about another 'friend' of his from the states who has been helping her and sending him money. The foreigner thought it was woman. But it was another gay man who also lived in Tampa, which is where the foreigner is from. He started doing some digging, and checked the 'boyfriend's' phone. Only to discover conversations on whatsapp letting the other man know that he will be in the states soon, and they can be together forever. Needless to say he hightailed it to the American Embassy to have the visa cancelled. The whole thing had been a lie. This 23 year-old bugarron wasn't actually in love with this overweight, balding, 55 year-old man, who walks with a cane. I was shocked, I tell 'ya. SHOCKED!
U.S. Private Eye Helps Clients Figure Out If Cuban Love is Real
The Canadian man fell in love with a beautiful Cuban woman on one of his trips to the island.
He lavished her with gifts and plenty of cash – sending anywhere from $400 to $2,000 a month.
One day, she shared exciting news. There was a bundle of joy on the way.
He sent more money, enough for her to buy a home.
Something, though, didn’t feel quite right.
A California-based private investigation agency with sleuths in Cuba confirmed the man’s suspicions. The Cuban woman lived with her real boyfriend – a Cuban man – in the home her Canadian paramour had financed, and the baby she was expecting was actually the Cuban man’s, not his.
“There are many people – men but also some women – who travel to Cuba, fall in love, but then they get suspicious,” said Fernando Alvarez, a licensed private investigator whose firm, Drakonx Investigations, gets plenty of requests from mainly Canadians, Americans and Spaniards to dig up information about the love interests they met while visiting Cuba who remained on the island.
“When I receive an infidelity case, 90 percent of the time the person [in Cuba] turns out to be cheating,” said Alvarez, who is 34 and came from Cuba about 10 years ago. “The reason they have a relationship with the foreigner is [either] immigration – they want to get out of Cuba – or money. They plan to stay in Cuba, but want to have a better life.”
Alvarez has sleuths working for him on the island, at their own peril, since private eye work is not legal in Cuba.
The investigators conduct surveillance of suspected cheaters and liars, following them and recording conversations when possible.
Canadians, whose nation has relations with Cuba and who long have accounted for a large chunk of tourists to the island – a million annually – are particularly vulnerable to the love trap.
The problem has reached such a critical point that Canada even launched a campaign in 2013 to warn its citizens about it, according to the Washington Post, which noted that a government study concluded that about 25 percent of the 700 fianceé visas issued each year to Cubans in Havana were based on scams.
The marriage fraud campaign featured a seven-minute video posted on the website of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada agency that shared the real-life stories of three Canadians who were dumped by foreign spouses – including a Cuban – after they obtained residence in Canada.
Privately run U.S. websites on travel to Cuba often also include warnings about untrue lovers.
Canada tightened immigration laws concerning marriages to foreigners “in part because of the high proportion of sham marriages emanating from Cuba, as well as the Dominican Republic,” noted the immigration guidelines website Immigroup.com.
The changes include requiring sponsored spouses to remain in a marriage for two years before they can acquire permanent resident status. If the couple breaks up before that, the migrant faces deportation. Canadians who have sponsored one spouse are prohibited from sponsoring a new one for five years.
Alvarez told Fox News Latino that other clients who seek a Cuba-related investigation include Cuban-Americans who send relatives money to start a business, and turn to Alvarez to make sure the funds are really being used for that purpose. There are also married people in Canada, the United States or Spain who want to know if a spouse traveling to Cuba for business or tourism is also partaking in extramarital activity.
“There was a Canadian male who went to Cuba, sometimes without his wife,” said Alvarez, whose firm was hired by the man’s wife. “We watched him and saw that he spent a week in a hotel with two Cuban females. He had a very good week.”
Alvarez stresses that desperation among Cubans is at the core of many of the scams.
“It doesn’t mean the people who do this are bad,” he said. “They’re hungry, they might make $20 a month, and they do what they can to survive.”
Alvarez cautions people traveling to the Caribbean nation to use common sense.
“There are many people who have met people in Cuba, fallen in love, gotten married and are very happy,” he said. “But you have to be very careful – not just in Cuba, but anywhere. Be very careful about requests to send money. If you want to help someone, that’s fine, but sending $100 a month is more than enough for a decent life [in Cuba]. Sending $500 means that person lives like a queen or king.”
“Use due diligence,” he told FNL. “Always check people out.”
Fifty years ago, on the 28th of April, the United States invaded the Dominican Republic. Coming ashore in Santo Domingo. Unfortunately, the U.S. has a habit of using its might for all the wrong reasons. In my opinion, this was again one of those times when they should have stayed home and minded their own business. They supposedly came to help restore democracy, but the real reason they came is because they were scared to death of having another Cuba off its shores.
Today, the the Dominican state has been commemorating those events.
I have a friend visiting who is known to like a nice bar and have a drink or two, when on vacation. I keep telling him that during the week it is dead. With most places closing by 1 a.m. He then goes on the nightlife page and sees that I put up a listing for Pure Disco Club, which is located in the Sheraton Hotel on the malecon. Well, last night there was a nice crowd there, and they had a great bartender who makes a nice drink. It is NOT a gay club, but if you're looking for something to do and there are no other options, check them out.
Congressman David Collado Morales submitted today to Congress a bill that has the return of the Tax on the Transfer of Industrialized Goods and Services (ITBIS) on purchases and consumption of processed products in the Dominican Republic.
The legislator said that more than a dozen countries in the world have a drawback of this type of tax to tourists, allowing to increase the purchasing power and increasing the consumption of visitors in stores and products made locally.
Purchases made must have a value greater than seventy and five US dollars.
Click here to read the full article (translated by Google).
This has to be one of the best ideas I have ever heard coming out of the Dominican congress. Now, if someone could see how lowering the taxes on airline tickets would significantly increase tourism to the country. That maybe asking for too much.
We survived another Semana Santa week. Everyone is back to work, or on their way from vacation to go back to work. Not much traffic today. Should be back to normal tomorrow. The weather in the city wasn't great, either cloudy or rainy. Not too bad in Juan Dolio. Just cloudy. Hope everyone had a great Easter.
And here's a video of why you shouldn't go to Boca Chica during Semana Santa. Just toooooo many people.
George, who ran Bar Friends, has died. There are many rumors swirling, but nothing definitive as yet. I'm trying to get in touch with Joe Green to get some confirmed information. Will the bar continue? Who will run it? When is the funeral? Etc. That's all I know right now. As I get more information I will pass it on.
Is this a video of a thwarted robbery in progress? The driver of this S.U.V. was "being arrested" by these gentleman, who supposedly had a warrant for his arrest. Fortunately, it was caught on tape and police officers called. Then it was reveleaed that the men trying to "arrest" the driver are actually members of the national police. A full investigation has been promised. Uh huh. Very scary.
Recently, I have been hearing about people who visit that are getting great deals by purchasing the hotel and airfare together. Many of the hotels I had not visited in years. One such place is the Palacio. Someone I know wanted to come down for a quick jaunt, and purchased the package, which included the Palacio. I thought he had made a mistake, until I went to visit. The hotel has been freshened up nicely. They allow guests, as long as they have valid i.d., with no problem. And the room was very nice and comfortable. My friend was very happy. Below, is a video of the luxury hotel in the colonial zone, Billini Hotel.
Went this morning to La Casa Rosada, the AIDS orphanage. There is a rep. from an organization visiting from the U.S. who wanted to find out what type of donations they needed. This is a great organization and they encourage visitors to come and see their facilities. I have seen how they have greatly expanded over the years. They now have 29 kids, and have the capacity for 50. They don't need any medicines. Their greatest needs are food, pampers and clothes. I am enclosing their information. You can contact them directly, if you like. They also graciously accept donations of food and money. If you ever visit Santo Domingo, and have the time, stop by and see what these amazing people are doing for vulnerable children.
La Casa Rosada Av. Prol. Venezuela, C/ Isabel Aguero "Loly" #1 Los Tres Brazos, Domingo Este, República Dominicana 809-388-2250
If you like to make a monetary donation: Banco Popular en Dominican pesos: #700-502842-5 (name: Sister Maria Carmen Veiga) Banco Popular in U.S. dollars: #455-17461-5 Código: SWIFT BPDODOSXXX (name: Sister Maria Carmen Veiga) Banco Popular in euros: #712382696 Código: SWIFT BPDODOSXXX (name: Sister Maria Carmen Veiga) And they also accept donations by PayPal. Click here and scroll to the bottom and click on the PayPal link.
Lulu's Tasting Bar, located in the colonial zone that has specials on Tuesday. Actuall, they have specials everyday (pay with American Express and get 50% off from 6 - 8 p.m.). On Tuesday's, they have a all-you-can-eat special for RD$800 pesos (about $18 dollars). Very good food and service. And great cocktails, along with a wine store next door.
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.