A Week in Santo Domingo
This past year I spent a week in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I've been several times before throughout my youth, but this time I observed it with a matured set of eyes and a calloused heart.
The architecture of Santo Domingo rivals a pastel masterpiece; each neighborhood a mosaic of secondary shades of off-whites, salmon, peach, etc. Santo Domingo’s color palette parallels the vibrant charismatic nature of its people.
The culture of the Dominican Republic runs to the tempo of a latin rhythm section, driven by a *güira and *tambora and played with the same passion of its people. During my time in the city, on the streets, and in most public places; strangers always greeted me like kin and talked to me with genuine interest.
Güira: A metal scraper percussion instrument most common in the Dominican Republic.
Tambora: A two-headed drum common in merengue music.
On one occasion during my trip, I was walking around a *pueblo in the city with my trusty Canon A-1 and saw a young woman about my age stroll over to the fruit stand across the street and stand on the sidewalk to wait for the bus.
Pueblo: A Spanish word that loosely translates to neighborhood in english.
I wondered how different her routine could be from mine and felt as if I would find it more compelling and fruitful than my own back home in the states. I found that this idea was something I could capture with my lens. So I walked up to her and asked,
“Perdona me señora podria coger tu foto?” [Pardon me m’am, could I take your photo?]
She smiled back and humbly corrected my faulty use of the formality señora. (Towards a younger woman, it is better fit to use the term señorita.) I felt embarrassed so I apologized. But she responded to me so kindly that I didn’t feel belittled or discouraged. She spoke as if we had met each other before. As if we shared a rapport, speaking with ease and familiarity in her tone.
She asked how I wanted her to be in the photo and I just told her to do nothing. So she went back to standing there, eating her watermelon and waiting for the bus. I thanked her for letting me take her photo and being so kind.