My Stay in the Dominican Republic was quite UNEXPECTED, as like I stated in a couple of my previous posts and blog series about this Beautiful Latin-Carribean Tropical Island, most of my Dominican acquaintances and friends (aside from two), had been warning me time and time and time again about the racism I was going to face as a Black person and moreover as a Black person speaking Spanish with an audible French sounding accent (as my first language is French and not English) and as I learned to mainly write in Spanish more than to speak it in high-school, starting in the eight grade until the twelfth grade. I continued to take advanced classes and write dissertations in Spanish as I enrolled at my Undergraduate University…. And was required to converse in Spanish throughout my Spanish Conversation classes as I minored in Spanish… And even though my Spanish grammar and vocabulary were great, I knew that I had to go spend about an entire year in a predominantly Spanish speaking country. I however did not wish to do my exchange program like most American Undergraduate students in my Sophomore (third) year. I therefore stayed in college for two Summer sessions, loaded-up on my classes and credits, to graduate in three years instead of the four usual years…! At least, in The United States of America… Right upon graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree in English, American, Pan-African, International Literature, and Women’s Literature, I spent the Summer Season of my graduation with my family in France; where all of my sisters (aside from one who was in The United States at that time like me) and many of my extended family and friends resided (and still do to this day). From France, I applied as an “Au-Pair/Live-In Nanny” in Spain for a year… I actually lived in the largest of the three Balearic islands: Majorca, squeezed-in between the smallest Island of the three: Minorca and the internationally renowned popular “Party Island” of Ibiza. I returned to France after my year was over in Spain. (I was very fortunate to visit much of Majorca as well as Barcelona for my very first time) throughout my stay as in “Au-Pair” with my host family. I most unfortunately have not had the opportunity to return to The Balearic Islands since my early youth! …After my stay in Spain, I went back to France to once again spend great Quality Time with my immediate family with my oldest niece recently being born and then actually went to Costa Rica for another full entire year as an Exchange Volunteer Youth and also explored most of Costa Rica’s regions throughout that entire year…! …As a result, whereas I have been speaking English since Nursery (Kindergarten) School and henceforth, have an American accent in English as I have been living in the United States on-and-off since my earliest childhood, I truly had to work on becoming fluent in Spanish by spending two consecutive years living with two respective families in the two above mentioned countries, who neither spoke English or French for that matter…!
The REASON why I was warned by my aforementioned close friends and others about the racism in The Dominican Republic was that in their perception, some Dominicans might have thought that I was Haitian… And might just therefore demonstrate some adversity and animosity to my being like any racist individual in our world, just by mere association of my French intonation and light “Frenchie” accent, to me being Haitian… I truly would not AT ALL have been bothered by this as I actually spent about ten days in Haiti (including Haiti’s National Independence Day, which happens to fall on The world’s global New Year’s Holiday: January 1st) and ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ABSOLUTELY LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED Haiti, where I traveled to Haiti a few years back, with my niece/daughter (as I played a major role in raising her, alongside my sisters…). I will MOST CERTAINLY write about my Independence Day New Year’s Eve Celebration in Port-Au-Prince as well as about my VERY FIRST TIME Travel Experience in “HAITI LA BELLE/HAITI THE BEAUTIFUL”, similar to my very first experiences to the respective countries I have already blogged about: Canada and the one which I am currently blogging about: The Dominican Republic…🤗!
SPECIAL NOTE: My next couple of blogs will be about my two consecutive Summer trips (this just past 2018 and the 2019 upcoming one) in Latin Mediterranean Europe and the ones after that, will most definitely be about all three: my USA Thanksgiving Panama Holiday Trip and then: my Winter Season: five day Barcelona, Spain Trip and my week long Haiti Trip… So, please do stay tuned 😊 😊 😊…!!!
…As a result, back to the country at hand 🤗…!
The Dominican Republic MOST ASSUREDLY surpassed my expectations as I did not personally feel a single hint of racism and/or prejudice…! Now, I was about five hours away by car from The Dominican Republic’s capital city: Santo-Domingo and furthermore also about five hours away from a region where once again, some of my Dominican friends (including some of whose parents and relatives are from that specific region) have warned me that there is most definitely MORE racism and prejudice than in any other regions within The Dominican Republic… ! …As I nonetheless have not traveled there and can therefore not vouch about this, I am leaving this region unamed. I can SOLELY write about my beautiful week long experience in the region of: Puerto Plata… As this is the only region that I visited and where I stayed (henceforth, my series of articles about it/please refer to all of my Dominican Republic article series if you wish to find out more about my personal experiences at Beautiful Puerto Plata)! It also goes without saying that staying at a private high-end resort and spa like the one I stayed at: “Blue Bay Resort and Spa”, most assuredly implicates that the entire management and staff, will conduct themselves in the outmost Respectful and Cordial way… ! …No matter what race or tone complexion one is…! This, unless one is unruly, and disrespectful…! …And even so, the hotel’s management will most likely instruct the employees to demonstrate the outmost DISCRETION in handling such clientele…! My first point nonetheless is that 1. There were several black employees (just like myself) at Playa Dorada’s Blue Bay’s Resort Spa throughout my stay and there was absolutely NO DIFFERENCE in the way they were treated as compared to their lighter skin counterparts and colleagues and neither to my regards or to the regards of any other black clientele. 2. I must emphasize the first bullet point as sometimes most unfortunately, it is NOT because one shares the same skin tone colour and/or race, that ALL individuals of the same skin tone colour and/or race identifies with one… This, more particularly when one is not from the same country and/or ethnic background… ! Please, do believe me as I have both: personally lived as well as seen others live such experiences… But ABSOLUTELY NOT in Puerto Plata…! 3. Though I can presently afford the luxuries of staying at high-end resorts with my very own finances from time to time and with EXCELLENT Planning and Budgeting (as there was a time not so far back when I absolutely could NOT), I still very much am a ‘People’s” Cultural Traveler! This meaning that: whenever and wherever my travels lead me to (whether this be for my Professional engagements or for my Personal Leisure ones), there MOST CERTAINLY still is a NEED for me, to explore the different “facets” of the place in which I find myself and to therefore intermix with the locals from various social classes…🤗…! …As this is exactly how my Dear Beloved Mother raised my five sisters and I, as she was an International Independent Diplomat for the United Nations…! …What she indeed taught us, was to be open-minded and welcoming to people from ALL Race, Cultural and Religious Backgrounds, Socio-Economical classes and from ALL walks of life…! …This, as she stated to us what my grandfather had stated to her and to my aunts and uncles (her siblings) while they were all growing-up; that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE in our world, is SUPERIOR and/or INFERIOR to another one…! It is certain Human Beings, who superficially raise themselves above others…. And these Human Beings tend to be narcissistic and ego-centric. The second group would be: certain government officials and people of great wealth and/or stature…! …This, as our WORLD’s GLOBAL SOCIETY, has an unhealthy sickly obsession relative to celebrities…! …Especially on social mediatic platforms, which I myself use as well… But in a very different manner…
…As my private shuttle bus driver and travel agent coordinator were coming to pick me up in the early afternoon, I had the chance to go sit at my hotel’s Blue Bay Resort and Spa’s main lobby for a very last time and just reminisce about my week long stay (like I often do on my way to the airport when traveling alone). It is moreover ALWAYS a bitter-sweet feeling for me, on my very last day and/or on the morning of my departure as unlike many travelers, MOST of my travels (and I have been traveling for a very longtime now), have rendered POSITIVE AMAZING LIFETIME experiences for me to share with my family, relatives and friends as well as on ALL of my social media platforms, to people from the different corners of the world as a woman of colour…! Indeed, perhaps is my mind presently blanking out but I am being truthful and honest in asserting that even in places where I have been ONE out of three or five black/black-chocolate-brown-coffee people (mainly in Western Europe), I have MOSTLY enjoyed my respective trips and the countries I have visited so far…! This, whether with others and/or on my Solo Trips…🙂🙂🙂…!
…As I was packing the day before at my hotel with a patio and balcony at Blue Bay’s Resort and looking out from the patio at the beautiful pink tropical flowers (I apologize as I am not at all a Botanical Garden “Connaisseuse” and am therefore unable to name the exact tropical flowers that were staring at me just like I was staring at them), I felt a tinge of sadness sadness as I had no idea of when I would be returning to Puerto Plata, to The Dominican Republic and to any of its other regions for that matter, including Santo Domingo: its capital city…! …But then again, (this is the case for most of my travels as I loooooooooooove to explore new countries I have NEVER traveled to, even though I sometimes MUST return to the same country such as France as most of my direct siblings live there and/or states in which I have either lived and/or visited for my Professional Engagements). …And I have still not returned to this Beautiful Tropical Latin Spanish speaking Caribbean country as of yet (but might plan to next year as my partner has strong ties in The Dominican Republic 🤗 )! …Just as I have not returned to its ONLY Sister Neighbor equally Beautiful French Caribbean country: Haiti…! …Alas, As such is Life…😊! I however have thought about all the genuinely welcoming Dominicans I met within and outside of “Blue Bay’s Resort & Spa” as well as the various sites and places I was fortunate to visit in just one week and the several interesting conversations I had with some of the locals, with regards to: politics and more importantly, the relations between Haitians and Dominicans in general…! I at first apprehended such conversations as I readily and incorrectly assumed that most Dominicans would just refute the harsh treatment the Dominican government generally impounds on poor Haitian immigrants… But this was absolutely not so…! …Just like in any country, the local Dominicans I encountered stated that they have Haitian friends and/or neighbors and that the Haitians they know, are very hard-workers… And that many Haitians and Dominicans furthermore inter-marry…! What they (just like anyone else) do NOT wish to see, are the minority of Haitians who are “bad news as “ya tenemos bastante de lo nuestros, que son vagosos/we already have enough of our own people, who are good for nothing…!” Most of the locals I conversed with, furthermore added that one’s skin colour “no importa/does not matter!!!” as many recognized (at least to me during our conversation) that they are a mixture of African-descent, Native Indigenous American and European and that some Dominicans are even darker skinned than some Haitians and/or than any other black person from the diaspora…! …For anyone traveling to The Dominican Republic and more importantly any of the black travelers who like I admit, me-myself did, due to my pre-trip conversations with some of my Dominican friends prior to traveling to The Dominican Republic; have a pre-conceived biased notion that Dominicans in general do not relate to their black part of history and moreover despise and actually have a “built-in” adversity against MOST Haitians., I am presently corroborating that the is TERRIBLY FALSE! This, most significantly, since The Dominican government distributed Temporary Permits to the thousands of Haitians who immigrated to DR due to the horrendous earthquake several years ago now…! I rightfully CLEARLY moreover state here, that one CANNOT go by “hear say” but on the very contrary: one MUST construct one’s OWN mind through one’s very OWN personal experiences by obtaining the information first hand, through talking and interacting with NOT ONE SINGLE but with SEVERAL locals: both females and males…! This, to make one’s OWN mind instead of a generalized pre-conceived notion of the people of a specific region and/or country!
I would therefore like to re-iterate here that I CLEARLY KNOW that I will MOST CERTAINLY return to The Dominican Republic just as I presently EQUALLY KNOW that I will return to Haiti…🤗! …I just do not know exactly WHEN and which one will be FIRST…😋! …Perhaps, will my return trips to these respective countries be back-to-back as they are “Sister Neighboring” countries after all and the ONLY ones sharing “one and the same” island, which used to be: “La Isla Hispaniola/The Hispaniola Island….!” …And even though some Human Beings wish they could simply ERASE the past, HISTORY on the other hand, neither ERASES nor FORGETS ANY PAST 😶 😶 😶 …!!!
PS: MMMMM, I PROMISE THAT IT IS A SHEER COINCIDENCE THAT I FINISHED to WRITE and PUBLISH THIS ABOVE ARTICLE on NEW YEAR’S DAY, as I AM COMFORTABLY RESTING at a QUIET, TRANQUIL SPACE after THE CELEBRATION with FAMILY RELATIVES and FRIENDS, to RING IN THE NEW YEAR 2019 HAVE SIMMERED DOWN, as EVERYONE HAS THEIR BELLIES FULL and HAS JUST FOUND SOMEWHERE to SIT DOWN and just “CHELAX” – RELAX and CHIILL… 😃 😃 😃 …!!! MAY “WE”, as an INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, THEREFORE REACH FOR the STARS NOT JUST FOR THIS YEAR but for the REST OF THE YEARS OF OUR LIVES TO COME… 💕 💕 💕 …!!!
Simply “chelaxing: chilling and relaxing” outside at Playa Dorada’s Blue Bay Resort & Spa in The Late Morning After Breakfast, While Awaiting My Shuttle Bus En Route to Puerto Plata’s International Airport…
Last Selfie Picture, From Playa Dorada’s Blue Bay’s Resort And Spa’s Open Front Lobby, After I fixed my disheveled hair (LOL…)!
Beautiful Last Scenic View Photo Picture Snap, en route to Puerto Plata’s International Airport…
Puerto Plata’s international Airport…!
…Last Selfie Pictures at Puerto Plata’s International Airport on my way back to New York City… 🤗!🤗! 🤗!
PUERTO PLATA’S INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT’S DUTY FREE BOUTIQUE SHOPS
Puerto Plata’s International Airport’s Interior…!
As a child, When I traveled with my mother and my sisters, we truly loved being in airports because they seemed so vast with people from the four different corners of the world, traveling and/or seeing family members depart and/or yet again, coming to greet them upon arrival… Since then, things are very different, since one MUST BE ALERT at all times due to the nature of what has/of what can tragically occur in our world and at airports… Today, I am usually the FIRST, SECOND or THIRD to arrive to check-in my luggage (when I do not check it online) and just go “hang-out” at my gate and observe all all other passengers, whenever I travel alone as well as each airports’ art and architectural works… And snap some pictures like the above as well…!
Waiting for my plane to arrive, get on board the newcomers, have the airport local staff cleaning crew, clean the plane, to then being able to board on… This is my last earth view of Puerto Plata…!
All Settled In On The Plane, On my Way Back to My Home Residence:
The Big Apple…!
New York City John F. Kennedy’s Yellow Taxi Cab Line…