Between the roller coaster of emotions of not having been home for a long time, meeting new cousins, catching up with family, and the heat and humidity that welcomed me back, it’s safe to say it has been an eventful week in the Dominican Republic.
I departed from Newark Liberty International Airport on a mostly full flight and arrived at Aeropuerto Internacional de Las Américas in Santo Domingo approximately 20 minutes early. I must say I am impressed with JetBlue Airways for its crew’s organization and service. The flight didn’t feel dreadful, and the applause upon landing was encouraged by the flight attendant, a plus in my book. If you don’t know, Dominicans clap when they land anywhere as a way to thank God, the captain and crew for the safe trip to our destination.
I wanted my first week here to be all about grounding and reconnecting with my loved ones, and that’s exactly what I did. I spent a few days getting lost in all the memorabilia in my grandmother’s home and my childhood photo albums; it felt like a time machine to flip through each page and remember most moments so vividly. I waited a decade to see my younger self through my mature eyes — truly a trip, ha!
Besides feeling all the feelings, some of the highlights of the past eight days have been soaking in all the beauty my country has to offer, attending a cross-fit class with one my cousins at BeatBox Tribe and a delicious solo lunch date at Café SBG after venturing out in Downtown Santo Domingo and its neighboring areas. I enjoyed a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc with my porcini mushroom risotto with arugula and toasted almonds — definitely a must-have!
Last week, Santo Domingo and other provinces experienced an increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations which resulted in a new curfew; although we saw a slight decrease over the weekend, the government toughened the curfew for seven days starting Wednesday, June 2–9. What does this mean? Well, this means that in 24 provinces and the National District, the restriction will last 6 p.m.–5 a.m., Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays and Sundays, 3 p.m.–5 a.m., but citizens have a three-hour grace period for circulations. The curfew indicates businesses must close before or by the assigned times, and only take-out services are available during the grace period.
Personally, I am not too concerned about this affecting my trip as my main wishes are to see my family and spend time on our beautiful beaches and rivers. It does create some stress as I worry for both of my grandmothers, but, luckily, 90 percent of both families have been partially or fully vaccinated, excluding our kiddos. With that being said, the adventures kick off this week with a safe trip to Bayahive, La Romana to celebrate the Corpus Christi holiday and an anticipated stay at the JW Marriott Hotel Santo Domingo in the heart of Downtown. Nathan also joins me this week, which makes it even more exciting!
I will update you on how that goes in two weeks. For now, send any travel-to-the-Dominican Republic questions you may have to [email protected]
— Yasser Ogando, production & advertising coordinator
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