Still Learning!

The language is coming along. I’m understanding more and more. I still have a long way to go when it comes to speaking, but I’m happy with my progress. I’m not as completely mute as I was if people give me time to think and formulate an answer. This is a photo heavy blog post, with my comments below each photo. It’s long, but hopefully interesting.

Our plumbing adventures have continued into the new year. This pile of rubble is about knee-high.
I never appreciated how much simpler plumbing repairs were in the U.S. in buildings not made of concrete!

The plumbers are actually back again as I write this, because the leaks have been repaired and now they have to put the floor back together. It’s been a much noisier and dusty project to put it back together than I expected it to be. They’ve been here all day and as of 3:00pm, there’s no prospect of when they will finish. I really appreciate their hard work on what should be a holiday for them. I forgot what the government holiday is but many people have the day off, which is why I’m writing this blog post instead of working in the office.

I was pretty sick with the flu (la gripa) over Christmas, but was feeling better by New Year’s Day so we decided to go do a little exploring in the Colonial Zone. It’s a historic part of Santo Domingo where there are some churches and buildings dating back to the time of Christopher Columbus, or at least one of his sons. I’m a little hazy on my comprehension of the specifics, although I did learn quite a bit using the camera feature on the Google Translate app. We parked just outside the historic part of the area and then walked in.

I think the sign on this shop should have more accurately said Sweet Sensations. I love how the language sometimes gets a little twisted when translation happens.
Don’t you just love these street signs? I saw some like it in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was excited to see them here as well. I’ve learned that there is quite a bit of cultural flow-over from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, and the people in Puerto Rico are very proud if they have Dominican heritage.
That blue hat! It’s kind of a standing joke between us. I bought it years ago for myself, but then Mr Hot Stuff had a Boy Scout camp one day and didn’t buy a hat for it, so he borrowed mine. When he came back, I took one look at it and said, “Nevermind, I don’t want it back.” BLEH. He’s worn it everywhere since – Every campout, vacation, hike… I shouldn’t be surprised that he brought it on our mission. It’s been a very durable hat, lol.
Dominicanos are very proud of their heritage from Spain and their connection to Christopher Columbus. He is celebrated and loved here. They seem to acknowledge that there were problems, but also seem to be grateful for the many good things that his arrival brought to this island of Hispañola.
We came across this beautiful plaza. I don’t remember it’s significance.
This chapel was the first in the Americas to be attached to a private house.
I don’t really know the significance of this sculpture or the similar horse one, but don’t you think they are cool? Estas son genial!
Because my kids say they like to see us in the pictures sometimes. 🙂
I love the shadow this horse sculpture makes.
This is an old guard tower and gate over the old city.
What would a thing be, if people didn’t commemorate by writing their names all over them?
Frey Nicolás de Ovando (c. 1460 – 29 May 1511) was a Spanish soldier from a noble family and a Knight of the Order of Alcántara, a military order of Spain. He was Governor of the Indies (Hispaniola) from 1502 until 1509, sent by the Spanish crown to investigate the administration of Francisco de Bobadilla and re-establish order. His administration subdued rebellious Spaniards, and completed the brutal genocide of the native Taíno population of Hispaniola….” “In 1501, Ovando ordered the first importation of Spanish-speaking black slaves into the Americas. Many Spanish aristocrats ordered slaves to work as servants in their homes.” (Wikipedia

I’m glad that this statue has not been desecrated or torn down because without it, I would never have looked up this history and learned so much. Strangely, I find it somewhat reassuring to realize that there has always been great wickedness and cruelty. The times I live in are not particularly unique, which also gives me hope that the world will continue to push back against oppressors and those who perpetuate evil upon others. If one person can be an influence of so much pain, then perhaps there are other “ones” who will influence and perpetuate good.
This is a commercial area of the Colonial Zone. There are hotels, restaurants, ice cream shops, and gift stores. I think also some apartments above the shops.
This is a statue of Christopher Columbus. Behind it is a large cathedral that was never fully finished (the bell tower).
This is the cathedral from another angle. Because it was the New Year’s Day holiday, most of the museums and Cathedrals were closed so we didn’t go in. I look forward to going back.
Se vende. Wouln’t you just love to buy this place? #repairs, LOL.
A quiet residential area of the Colonial Zone.
I forgot to take a picture of the name of this place. I think it’s a monastery, or maybe a school, or it’s connected to one, but I can’t say for sure. By this time of the day, I was tired and ready to be done. I love the way the artist made this nativity scene. With the wet pavement, I think it all looks beautiful.
This depiction of Jesus Christ as a homeless person makes you stop and think. “When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?” Matthew 25:38
One of the things I loved about Puerto Rico was all the mural art. It was often credited as an art that originated in the Dominican Republic, but it’s been difficult for me to find evidence of it here. I’m starting to learn where to look to find it, but honestly, I think that there is currently such a level of poverty and struggle here in the DR, that it’s impacted the capacity to create some of that kind of beauty. Which is a shame because I think art and color bring an atmosphere of hope and joy that can be so valuable to people fighting to improve their circumstances. I know, at least for me, it’s been one of the hard things about living here in Santo Domingo – the lack of cleanly painted buildings and signs or beautiful murals. I love how friendly the people have been to me. I love the flowers and the trees. I love the beauty of the temple I live near. It breaks my heart to see buildings fallen into disrepair with peeling or severely faded paint, or trash piled in the street waiting for the garbage collectors with their shovels to come scoop it up or for the next heavy rainfall to wash down the gutters. It hurts to see the homeless who abound in the streets.
This is the only open-air market that I’ve seen since we came here. Maybe there are others, I don’t know. We came here looking for a butcher who could provide me with some high fat beef cuts and fat trimmings, because I’m still trying to stick to a carnivore diet. I’ve found that the horrid rash I’ve been fighting is directly connected to some of the non-carnivore foods I’ve been eating and also, sadly, to eggs. Since I stopped eating those things and switched to mostly beef, things have gotten better. I plan to reintroduce non-processed pork again soon in hopes that it will also work well for me. Surprisingly, those small changes have also improved my sleep quality as well, and my energy levels during the day. It’s such a relief to not want to scratch my legs all day! Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful at finding a butcher who could sell me what I wanted, because most of the beef here is imported and the fat gets trimmed off before it ships.
Fortunately, I can find short ribs and I have recently discovered osso buco. So good!
This is where we attend church. It’s a small branch about 30-40 minutes drive from where we live.
The first Saturday after the holidays, the Santo Domingo Temple was packed! There were buses and buses full of people and lines waiting everywhere!
Lines to get in.
Even more buses!
Near the beginning of the month, we said good-bye to our dear friends, the Binghams. Sister Bingham made adjusting to life here so much easier for me. I hope I can do the same for others. I hope our paths cross again one day.
Mr Hot Stuff goes to a pretty swanky place to get his hair cut here – and I’m really glad. This barber does a great job, even if some aspects are a little over-the-top showy. At this place, the barber has a status similar to a doctor or dentist. An assistant preps the client, offering them a drink of nearly any selection (lol), putting on the barber cape, making sure the barber has whatever tools at hand he needs, etc. If you’ve ever seen The Princess Diaries and remember the hair stylist and crew from that movie, switch all the genders and that’s this place.
I’m 100% certain that the blue lights on this mister bottle make an important difference. LOL
Santo Domingo has an extensive mass transit system, including busses of every size, both private and public, a metro (subway) system, and a cable car system that rides you above the city where the metro doesn’t go. We took it as far as it would go the other day. For $1.60 you can get on and go all the way to the end of the line and back to where you started. What a view of the city! It gives you a new perspective on what life is like here and why the streets are so noisy and crowded.
Saturday is laundry day for a lot of people.
The view from the teleferico (cable car).
If you listen you can hear the roosters. I have a hunch that cock fighting is a thing here.
A mural at the teleferico station.
Yes, those are people’s houses. We visited someone who lived in a similar place just last week. It really makes you reevaluate some things.


  1. Thanks for sharing all of these photos and for adding the commentary. The one that is a depiction of Jesus as a homeless person sleeping on the park bench really speaks to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know someone who says that she looks for opportunities throughout her day to see Jesus. She sees him in the person who is at the register at the grocery store, and in the kid playing baseball who encourages a kid on the other team, and I thought of her and how she would see Jesus if she saw a homeless person sleeping on the street. The other day, someone in our apartment complex got a new refrigerator and the security/concierge man put the big box on the side of the street with the rest of the trash. He seemed worried that it would blow away, but an hour or so later I saw a homeless man walking happily down the road with the large box perched on his head and a spring in his step. Maybe sometimes we help even without realizing it. But really, I think that we will see Jesus more easily when we are grateful in our heart, and we will be better equipped to help where we can.


  2. Such a fun post! So many things to see and appreciate.
    You look amazing! I’m so glad you’re feeling better, I hope you find the beef fat that you’re looking for. I’ll be looking up osso buco momentarily. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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