Tag Archives: Dominican Republic

Beisbol in the DR

This was an interesting one! I loved your thoughts.  I’ve gotta give my congratulations to Geordie, who — even though his final guess was incorrect — noticed that perhaps the stick held by the boy in last week’s Mystery Snapshot was a makeshift baseball bat used by a child in the Dominican Republic…

Boy w/ Bat, the Dominican Republic, Lisa Andracke

Most people, including myself, believed the photograph was of somewhere in Africa. That is partially why I wanted to use it. It is actually from Lisa Andracke’s trip to the Dominican Republic, and shows a little boy who had just finished a game of baseball in the outskirts of Santo Domingo. After my previous images from a different region of the Dominican Republic, I thought I could trick you all by showing you another side of the country. One thing people don’t realize about the D.R. is that it’s not all sandy beaches and palm trees; there are actually several microclimates on the island — humid, dry, tropical jungle, savanna, and forest.

Here, Lisa, who was working on a documentary about baseball at the time, explains the photograph:

Childrenin the Dominican Republic, Lisa Andracke

“In the first week of February, 2008, we awoke before dawn with the excitement of a new day. The color and texture of the sunshine just after it rises and immediately after it dips above the horizon is beautiful — golden, streaking, dramatic and glamorous. Glamorous like Hollywood wants to be, yet peaceful.Baseball in the Dominican Republic, Lisa Andracke

“We filmed people sweeping packed dirt, which was also their porch. We filmed everything from landscapes to people riding a packed bus (with no side doors) to work. We drove along with our guide, not sure of what we’d find.

“We spotted an impromptu baseball game, boys against girls. One girl wore a plastic pink shower cap to keep her hair out of her face she stepped up to bat. The boys stood ready in the outfield — each one partially clothed and barefoot. You could hear the crack of the ‘bat’ and the accompanying cheers and shouts that got everyone excited.  I can’t be sure who won that day but the girls sure had a fire in their eyes.

“The photograph was taken after the game ended and the children dispersed. This boy walked away with his baseball bat — a stick. One of the reasons I chose to push the shutter was because the grass, the tree, and the color of the sky reminded me of Africa. But we were in the in outskirts of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.”

View of the Dominican Republic, Lisa Andracke

*NOTE: All the photographs in this posting were taken by Lisa Andracke.



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Mystery Stroll

Today, I present you with a beautiful mystery snapshot taken by the wonderful Lisa A. This will be the last mystery snapshot of 2009, so give it your best! Just so that we’re all clear, I’m looking for MANY MORE mystery snapshots, travel stories, travel discussion topics, and travel tips… from YOU.  Send ideas and photos to: travelswithtavel@gmail.com. Let’s make 2010 the most wanderlusty year yet, full of both wandering AND lust! Oh and see that little tab on the top right of the screen where you can sign up for an email subscription? Why don’t you go ahead and do that so I can stop harassing everyone on Facebook with my blog updates.

Now, back to the mystery snapshot.

Tell me where this is – the country, region, island, continent, exact spot… Whatever you’ve got! Then tell me why you think that, and any other comments/reflections you have about the image.


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Cabbin’ It In Cabarete

I had been to the Dominican Republic once before, but back then I was still learning how to really be in a new place. I was a senior in high school on spring break and went with five of my best girlfriends to a large all-inclusive resort called the Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort in Punta Cana. Unfortunately, as became a trend for me during tropical vacations, we were accompanied by a hurricane, which prevented us from touching the ocean and turned our five-day trip into one soggy blur of tropical drinks and thunder. But of course, we made the most of it and came back with plenty of stories too inappropriate to share in a blog almost ten years later.

Beach, Cabarete, Dominican RepublicThis time (a few weeks ago), I was traveling to the Dominican Republic under totally different circumstances. Within a few hours of being invited by my old roommate to Cabarete, where she would be spending the last week of a five-month ’round-the-world trip alone kite surfing, I had purchased flights. Six days later, I was cabbing it to the airport in the heavy grey light of East Coast winter. Less than four airborne hours later I was in the golden sunshine of Puerto Plata’s eternal summer, in search of a cab to complete the journey.

In just four hours, you can go from the dead of winter to the dead of summer. Four hours — that’s NOTHING! (Remind me why I don’t do this more often?!) I got in the cab sweating bullets from the quick transition, took off my inappropriately warm socks, stuffed my fleece into a bag, and savored the soft air on my exposed toes… Ahhhh, instant BLISS.

Cabarete, Dominican RepublicWe sped down what felt like the only highway in town — a rough highway-meets-dirt-road full of scattered rocks, patches of dirt, and potholes. A colonnade of palm trees shaded the journey as motorbikes buzzed around the cab like bees, taking uniformed children to school and husbands/wives/boyfriends/girlfriends to work. Some had three or four people stacked behind the driver, with not a helmet in sight. Little did I know, this would be how I headed to dinner later on. Motoconchos or guaguas, as they are called, line up along the streets waiting to give people a cheap lift into town. For my first night in Cabarete, Meghan and I decided to head into the main section of town for dinner. The second we exited the hotel, two or three Dominican guys were cutting across the road on worn-down motorbikes asking if we wanted a ride. I looked at Meghan, who seemed completely unfazed, and before I knew it, I had my arms and legs wrapped around a sweaty Dominican man, with Meghan holding on behind me. We zipped in the darkness around the rugged roads, along 10-ft drops, swerving between drunk drivers in what becomes a free-for-all of motorbikes and cars. I’m not gonna lie… I was NERVOUS! But, I guess, when in Rome…

I chatted with the cab driver, something I always do as a first step transitioning from English to Spanish-mode in a Spanish-speaking country. I always find that they are very excited to talk about how wonderful their country is, and I’ll talk about pretty much anything as long as it’s in Spanish. With the windows  rolled down and merengue swirling around me with the breeze, I let the Dominican Republic take over. That is the moment I look forward to every trip, the moment when an uncontrollable smile drips off my face like honey and my heart flutters in disbelief that so many beautiful things and places are just a few clicks (more than a few dollars) and a plane ride away…

Early morning. Cabarete, Dominican RepublicSeveral minutes into the ride, Spanish was  rolling off my tongue with less effort. I sat in the rickety cab, beaming as I savored the flashes of blue ocean that appeared between palm trees on this perfectly Dominican day.

I hadn’t even touched the sand yet, but from the front seat of that first cab ride, I was already long gone in the waves of Cabarete…


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