Santo Domingo is the largest city in the Dominican with over 2 million people. We were going to be here for 4-5 days and intended to just hang out and get to know the city without any special agenda.
This was only our second morning in the Dominican and we had not adjusted to the 4 hour time difference yet and we woke up at noon. Mimi headed out to get some coffees on Calle El Conde (the pedestrian plaza) at La Cafetera where she had got a coffee the night before. By the time we were ready to leave Santo Domingo, she had gone there so many times that they pretty well knew her by name. Must of been her generous tips and nice smile.
Anyone who has ever travelled with a Filipino will know that as soon as they get into any new town, they head straight for Chinatown.
Soon after coming back to the hotel with the coffee Mimi already had her game plan in action and she had actually spotted the local Chinatown on the bus ride into town and had a good idea of how we were going to find it again.
After getting in stuck in our hotel almost 2 hours waiting for a rainstorm to clear up, we headed out the door and we were off for lunch. We zig-zagged our way to where we felt the right location was and it was quite an interesting walk through some very lively neighborhoods.
Santo Domingo's Chinatown was quite large and we checked out about 15 different restaurants before choosing Centro Restaurante Popular where we had sauteed squid and vegetables and deep-fried fish with a tomato sauce. Neither dish was like any Chinese food we had tried before, but they were both really good. Delicious....and with 2 large Presidente beer our lunch bill was $500 pesos.
We have been here already 48 hours, though, and have still not eaten any Dominican food yet.
When you are in a new city, I highly recommend strolling through the supermarkets. Mimi and I can't pass by one without going in. You really get a good feeling for a place by their supermarket. Of course only the middle class shop here, but it does give you one interesting way to examine their habits and their lifestyle up close. Generally it is just a fun place to wander around and see something similar but very different then back home. If you don't crusie the supermarkets when you travel, you may want to try it out.
Saturday night we went to a concert held in a medium size open air venue.
We started our evening with some beers in the park and were told about a concert that was going on a few blocks away so we went to check it out. Cover charge for us both was $1300 pesos (more then the cost of our hotel) but it looked interesting and we checked it out. A popular lively Haitian band was playing and we had a great time with a very friendly and good looking crowd of ex-pat Haitians. The music was good, a couple of the musicians outstanding, but my ears were buzzing for 2 days afterwards. Very loud.
We also ended up having quite a few (expensive) drinks and the evening out cost us much more then 1/2 our daily budget. But live music is always worth it.