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Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Trip to Santo Domingo 4

19 Apr


Sloop John B / Waylon Jennings

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Downtown Santo Domingo

Leaving the Presidential Palace we head Downtown.

Map of Downtown Santo Domingo

Sorry about the quality of this map … it was the best I could find.

We had to park about 3 blocks from the main plaza where we were headed and hoof it.
Large vehicles cannot navigate the narrow Santo Domingo streets.

Downtown Santo Domingo stairs

Head up some stairs …

Downtown Santo Domingo rally point

Rally at the top: … that’s our guide in the orange shirt.

Downtown Santo Domingo stone arch

Stone walls … stone arches – the former battlements.

Downtown Santo Domingo

Plaza just ahead …

Downtown Santo Domingo kids on day trips

Lots of school groups on day excursions.

Downtown Santo Domingo Colonial ChuChu

Entering the plaza we spot this thing: The Colonial ChuChu – a future ride.

Downtown Santo Domingo plaza

Gathering for a peptalk … Rose spots a dog …

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Columbus Park

As has been said: History is written by the victors.
We discover that this plaza is called Columbus Park and has a huge monument to Columbus right in the middle.

Downtown Santo Domingo Columbus Park

There he is.

I have to wonder if things will change due to the recent revelations about how he actually behaved over here. It won’t come easy. They’ve been celebrating him as a hero for 500 years and feasting on this past image for Tourism for quite a while. This country is run by the descendants of the conquerors – though it now has democratic elections. And there’s that other very big elephant in the room – the Catholic Church. These guys were all good Catholics weren’t they??? It’s going to be interesting.

Downtown Santo Domingo Columbus Monument 1

The pigeons know how to treat Chris.

Here’s a little Columbus anecdote for you: See that native gal on the statue?
(from St. John Beach Guide): “Bronze statue of Columbus, pointing northward, and a native Taino climbing up to reach him. According to an other description the native Taino is the Cacica, Anacaona, the first Indian to learn to read and write. Anacaona was captured in an act of trickery whereby her village was burned and all the inhabitants slaughtered by troops under the command of Nicolas de Ovando, then Governor of Santo Domingo. Ovando was under orders by Columbus to wipe out the remaining unsubjugated Tainos who were beginning to rebel against the Spanish. Anacaona was subsequently hung in a public square in Santo Domingo.”

Nice guys.

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“Is that gold?”

Plaque on the monument reads:
“In honor of the great Admiral Don Cristóbal Colón (Columbus)
discoverer of the new world – first viceroy and Governor of AMERICA.
made by artist Ernesto Gilbert / Inaugurated on 27 February 1887”

Downtown Santo Domingo Columbus Monument 3

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Onward …

Next: Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Trip to Santo Domingo 5

Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Trip to Santo Domingo 3

13 Apr


Kingston Trio

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Next stop:

The Presidential Palace

We knew that a Day Trip wouldn’t allow us to see very much of Santo Domingo. But as we chugged along in the bus we tried to snap some pics … click, click, click … Whirlwind Tour style.

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Santo Domingo streets

Santo Domingo street

In Santo Domingo you park wherever you can – even on the sidewalk

Santo Domingo house

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Lots of gates, walls, cannons, and soldiers. Santo Domingo was once a fortress city

Santo Domingo gateway

We saw a lot of things where we would have liked to have stopped and taken pictures. Like this tremendous monument below:

MONUMENTO A LA CAÑA, VILLA DUARTE SANTO DOMINGO ESTE.

Our picture from the bus …

MONUMENTO A LA CAÑA, VILLA DUARTE SANTO DOMINGO ESTE 2

Monumento a la Caña (Monument to Sugar Cane) (Picture from the Net)

Santo Domingo street vendor

Santo Domingo ship

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To the Palace Alice!!!

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We arrive at the Presidential Palace

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Everybody jumps out

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Time for a pic

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Security is high

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And can’t go in here either!

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Wait ! They’re opening the gates !!

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But it’s just some bigwig arriving …

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Can’t see who it is … Sean Penn? Hillary Clinton ?… the plumber ??

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There they go

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Back to normal

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Oh well …

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… snap a pic through the fence

Off to Downtown Santo Domingo …

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Next: Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Trip to Santo Domingo 4

Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Trip to Santo Domingo 2

10 Apr


 Rivers of Babylon / The Jamaicans

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We live in unique times.

Our day trip to Santo Domingo included 3 stops that celebrate the celebrity of Christopher Columbus.
Columbus is BIG in the Caribbean, South America, and Central America – as the “Discoverer of the Americas” – and in establishing the Spanish Main and Spanish colonization.
And particularly in Santo Domingo – where the Spanish established their Seat of Power in the Spanish Main.

BUT …

For hundreds of years, in many cultures, Columbus has been celebrated as a Hero – Explorer extraordinaire. You know the story.
But … about 20 years ago, somebody started to look deeper – and discovered a different story. A very different story. And a very dark one.

Research into the true story of Christopher Columbus reveals a man who was one of the most hideous and debauched mass murderers in world history. A slaver who plundered and butchered his way throughout the Caribbean (particularly in Hispaniola = Haiti and Dominican Republic).and precipitated the mass genocide of native cultures Caribbean, South America, Central America and the Southern US – and spearheaded a tradition of conduct here that lives in infamy. All this is now well documented with first hand accounts from (himself!) and others who were there. I’m not going to get into all the details here, but it’s very shocking. A complete reversal of his image. We all knew of the sadistic and brutal behavior to Spanish conquistadors: Ponce de Leon, Hernando Cortez, Francisco Pizzaro, Hernando de Soto. But we never knew this behavior was initiated and eclipsed by Columbus.

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Columbus came here for GOLD. And took it any cost.

YET this is the guy who still seems to be celebrated as a Hero in many of these countries.
The victors truly do write the History.

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Stop One:
The Columbus Lighthouse
A real mind boggler.

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Queen Isabel … our buses … the Lighthouse in back

Columbus Lighthouse is a massive Mausoleum complex that was built in 1992 for 70 million dollars (about $120 US million today) to celebrate the “500th anniversary of the Columbus Discovery of America” (which is a lie – Columbus never made it to North America and never knew of the North American continent.) It’s called Lighthouse because it features projecting beams of light, forming a cross shape, which are so powerful they can be seen from neighboring Puerto Rico.

We (sadly) never even got to go inside this place! Our stop was a mere 10 minutes – only enough time for some snapshots and jump back on the bus. ???

So I’ve included some shots from the Net so you’ll get some idea of this place:

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Constructed in the shape of the Cross. (Image from the Net)

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The “LIghts”. (Image from the Net)

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Columbus Tomb … but Chris ain’t in there. (Image from the Net)

It’s pretty hard to justify such a use of public money in a 3rd world country.
Not only that, but the remains in the Mausoleum/Tomb do not belong to Columbus at all!!
They grabbed the wrong box.
The real remains (proven my DNA tests) are in Seville, Spain.

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Inside: A row of crypts ?? (Image from the Net)

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Isabel La Catolica – Isabel 1 – Queen of Spain (1474–1504) Sponsor of Christopher Columbus

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If you see these guys coming … run like hell.

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Next Stop: Downtown Santo Domingo: Day Trip to Santo Domingo 3

Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Trip to Santo Domingo 1

5 Apr


 Merci Bon Dieu / Belafonte

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Day Trip to Santo Domingo

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    The whole time I was at Punta Cana I was conscious – or felt – that I was in an artificial world – a ‘make believe’ place. I was enjoying myself yes … it was a dream. But it was hard for me to shake that feeling. That it was not real. And maybe I didn’t really deserve to be here.

    I recognized that I am privileged. The average person in the Dominican Republic (or the world) will never have access to anything like this. The 3rd World was just outside our gilded gates … and they will never get in.

    So I wanted to see some of that Real World … if I could.

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Up before sunrise … get on the bus

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Exit Punta Cana

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Half way there … Pit stop

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Grab a coffee … or some rum

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Onward … to:

“Monumento Natural Cueva los Tres Ojos”
which means:
Natural Monument: the Cave of Three Eyes 

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“Cave of the Three Eyes” is crowded

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Down you go …

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Down we go …

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The first of the “Eyes”

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Pool two

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Looking up

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I told you it was crowded

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The third “Eye”

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Heading back up …

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From up top

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Curiously …

Our guide told us that before the government took over the caves,
several people had died here – mainly from falling or drowning.
Later Rose and I noticed several orbs in our shots.

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This is the only orb shot I’ve included here. Hard to miss though. 

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Upcoming … Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Trip to Santo Domingo 2

Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Two / Part 3

31 Mar


cu cu ru cu cu paloma / Harry Belafonte

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Stroll back …

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Sunset on the beach.

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A table is prepared before us …

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… shall we dine?

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Life is tuff.

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Upcoming … Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Three

Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Two / Part 2

30 Mar


The Dolphins / A Beautiful Day

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Due to our sunburn, we tried to stay out of the sun.
There was shade at the nearby pool.

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Uncrowded and serene.

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As beautiful and refreshing as it looks.

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Even as burnt as we were.

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Time for a bite.

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With another dinner guest.

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Back to the beach …

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Some blessed cloud cover was welcome.

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Relax.

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Ahhhh …

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But the sea is calling …

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 … and I must answer.

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Renewed.

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Refreshed.

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Quintus Flatulence III … the Awakening

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Upcoming … Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Two / Part 3

Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Two / Part 1

26 Mar

Punta Cana Day 2 1

It rained over night.

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But we didn’t mind because, despite our precautions,
we both got sun burn the day before.

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So a little cloud and cooling off was welcome.

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We just couldn’t take enough pics of this bird though. He was a Star.
Punta Cana day 2 1d

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Time for some shopping.

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The Resort has a few shops.
This guy claimed his name was Charlie Brown. Gave me a free cigar.
NO, not that big one. But I bought some panatellas (small cigars)
anyway, to give out when I get back.

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Then we headed off resort to some nearby shops.
They were situated in this once grand hotel.
My awful photo doesn’t do it justice.

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I’m guessing it was put out of business by the modern
seaside Resorts. But you could easily imagine that in it’s heyday the likes of
Clark Gable or Greta Garbo once walked it’s hallways.

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The entrance way. While taking pics here I ripped my shirt
on a nail … then tripped over a sprinkler head and nearly killed myself.
Punta Cana Day 2 2cOut back they’re building a new golf course. This old hotel would make
a great club house. I foresee it returning to grander times.

Downstairs they had a little cigar factory and shop.

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Alonzo the Cigar Master and Julio the Apprentice crank out the cigs.

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Lots of cigars. Expensive or cheap. But all of ’em are probably pretty good.

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Lottsa cigars.

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Rum and cigars are big in the Dominican Republic.

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Below: Famous cigarists. Can you ID them?

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Churchill, Groucho Marx, Che Guevara
JFK, Sig Freud, Peter Falk,
Charles Aznavour, Nicholson, Demi Moore, Michael Jordan,
Robert De Niro, Schwarzeneggar

I got ’em all except Asnavour and Demi Moore.

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Back to the Resort

Coming up: Punta Cana Cowboys / Day Two / Part 2

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