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22.12.05

Dominican Christmas

Nat parkEver expanding, Ionarts has opened an outpost in the Dominican Republic, to search for signs of music and art and a few good ball players, for the Ionarts semi-pro team. We needed to diversify our portfolio.

We began our journey to the the Dominican Republic with a fight from Baltimore to Miami. Landing in Miami, we noticed a lot of commotion on the runway, which turned out to be the tragic crash of a commuter plane from the Bahamas. After a short stop, we changed planes and continued on to Santiago, DR., arriving at 9:30 pm.

The next morning we rented a car and headed North to Monte Cristi, to visit new friends and volunteer at an orphanage. The orphanage is presently home to nine children, ages 5 to 18. Most come as small children and stay through their teens, hopefully going on to college. It’s an oasis from a rough beginning.

A short 20-minute drive west, through craters and cows, is the town of Dajabon, which borders Haiti. Every Friday and Monday the bridge from Haiti into the Dominican is opened to allow Haitians to shop in the open-air market here for 4 hours only. Thousands cross the bridge or wade through the river to shop, barter, beg, and steal. After the 4-hour time limit they must return, by force if necessary. This was not a market day, so just imagine the sight. It’s a very sad sight that people so close to the U.S. live in such despair.

On the outskirts of Monte Christi is a National Park, with a deserted beach below a beautiful rocky cliff. Here I got some painting in. I really enjoy the contrast of the sea and land, especially a rocky coast. This reminded me of Monet.

5 comments:

Ariadne said...

Wow! What an awesome experience, Mark. Thanks for sharing it, and bringing a sense of reality, both beautiful and painful to us often spoiled & snarky ionartsmaniacs.

[Perfect timing and much needed counterbalance to the selfishness & consumeristic "glitter" of the holiday season here in the US, actually.]

You rock as usual! Did you take the photo?

Mark said...

First, obnxious? Nada seniorita! I did take the picture and have many more, but with fickle wifi it takes time to load. I would like to link more also but...the history of this island is very interesting to me. Columbus first landed here, a history of slavery, sugar, rice, cotton. Also a large Jewish population in Pueto Plata, that fled Europe. The Haitian situation is discusting. There is no reason for it to continue!!! I too am grateful for the time I have to contemplate art, let alone be worry for my basic needs. Very humbling. More to come. Adios.

Gawain said...

for future get aways in tropical destinations, i recommend Bali during the June-July dance festival. they actually DO have arts and culture there. the chennai music festival and the kathakali festival in trivandrum (both in december) are also very good, and tropical, but neither destination is a paradise.

jfl said...

"The Haitian situation is discusting. There is no reason for it to continue!!!"

True, indeed, and well said. A shame what 200 years of the worst imaginable governance have done to a country that could have, should have been rich. But unfortunately political correctness forbids the West to adequately address this shameful example of indigenous incompetence and criminality. The height of hypocrisy is of course when anyone from the outside world tries to rid Haiti of the worst of the worst in terms of autocrats (Papa and Baby Doc and Aristide, when he tourned sour) is taken as a sign that foreigners should be to blame for the human catastrophe that is the western half of that island.

After Napoleon lost more Polish troops to the black army of Haiti than in all his other military ventures combined and Toussaint's capture, it all went downhill in the most tragic case of civic self-destruction since the creation of the Lemming. Being on the ground there, do you see even an inkling of hope?

Mark said...

No hope is visible from my little spot on the bridge. There is definately a rif between Haiti and the DR, since the last over throw was staged from here, with US support of course.