Dominican Republic December 2019

It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Travel to the Carribean for the holidays, that is, to see the in-laws! Out of freezing Michigan weather and into roasting tropical weather, it's quite the change. We found it hotter than ever on this trip, I don't know if that has anything to do with global warming or not. A lot more mosquito bites, too.

We flew through New York this time, I don't think I've been through there before. The number of planes and the different countries that the planes were from was impressive. India, Israel, Mexico, and some with writing that we couldn't read that may have been from the middle east.

The legroom is getting smaller and smaller, I had only one inch between my knees and the seat in front of me. On the second leg (no pun intended), though, I had huge amounts of legroom, as there was no seat in front of me at all! The exit door couldn't have a seat beside it, I guess. The only downside was that I had to put my laptop under the seat two rows in front of me ... where I had to watch it carefully to make sure it didn't walk away!

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta, the famous fashion designer, was from the Dominican Republic. We attended a museum exhibit in Santiago that is dedicated to him, and it was pretty interesting. They had some of the dresses that he designed, along with perfumes that he created, and showed a documentary about his life. They showed that he had many interests other than fashion design, and that he was a very generous person that did a lot for his country. I didn't know much of that at all.

Monte Cristi

Sandra's brother Miky owns a boat that he keeps in a marina in Monte Cristi, about a two hour drive to the northeast from Santiago. We've never been there before, and found it to be quite pretty. Taking the boat let us go to places that tourists usually don't go to, including an island within a national park, and a maze of mangroves. Swimming in the mangroves, or actually, the channel that they line, was an amazing experience. Rather than sand, the bottom consists of crushed coral that feels like lumpy sand, which they call oatmeal!

Sosua Beach

We've been going to this beach east of Puerto Plata for many years, often traveling over the mountains, as we did this year, to get there from Santiago. Sometimes, the road is not passable, since it gets a lot of washouts when it rains hard.

The beach itself has had a kind of washout as well, created by the ocean, as the sand has been stripped to reveal a lot of rock. It isn't as good as it once was, but it's still good. Another beach apparently appeared out of nothing in the span of a single day, hundreds of yards, maybe a quarter of a mile, to the east, so I think we know what happened to the sand!

Changing real estate in Santiago

Sandra tells me that her parents' house in Santiago was on the outskirts of the city and surrounded by vacant fields when she was a kid. When I first saw the neighborhood in 1990, there were houses mostly everywhere, with a few vacant fields, but now, it's packed, with a few high-rise apartment towers going up across the street and nearby.

Notice the concertina wire on top of the walls around the house - one time, they found that somebody was climbing over the walls and sleeping on the patio furniture! Here are some pictures of the patio and yard. With this climate, it's year-round outdoor living. I'm not sure how they can stand the heat in the summer, though, because it's more than hot enough even in the winter!