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Dominican Republic

In Dire Need of a Penpal/Friend in DR

In Dire Need of a Penpal/Friend in DR

Postby diyum » Sun 10 Feb 2008 15:10 GMT

I would first of all like to say hello to anyone reading this :-)

My wife and I have been researching countries that we would like to relocate to, and have narrowed it down to DR. We've never been but being a black and white couple with mixed kids, DR seems to tick most of the boxes.

I've spent the last six weeks reading through the forums, sometimes very late into the evenings. I've read so much I'm getting confused and tired. Whilst I've learnt a lot I still have many questions that need answering. I will attempt to explain our current circumstances below and I'm hoping a good samaritan will offer us guidance.

We've booked a two week trip next month to Punta Cana, staying at an IA. The general idea is to have a holiday and do a bit of research while we are there. We plan to visit Santo Domingo for 3 days to look around. The general idea is that if we like that we see, we will return in July (to Santo Domingo) and stay for a month. Following that we will visit a few more times and hopefully relocate in 18 months or less.

We have two daughters, the eldest will be staying in the UK, the youngest who is 5 will be relocating with us if it all goes well. We're are both IT Consultants who can work remotely, so we won't be looking for employment (we hope to spend some of our time volunteering as well). Also, we've decided to rent for a couple of years so if it all goes wrong we won't have a property to worry about.

My key concerns arise mainly from the fact that I'm disabled. I have limited walking ability and sometimes use a wheelchair for distances. Additionally, we speak very little Spanish (I'm frantically try to learn at the moment but it is a slow and arduous process).

I have quite a lot of questions I need help answering. For instance, have we chosen the right areas to visit (in terms of access and ease of getting around)? Would we be better off in the North Coast? Where are the best international schools?
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Postby diyum » Mon 11 Feb 2008 17:31 GMT

Hmm, it's very quiet in here. I've probably posted in the wrong forum :-)

Anyway just got my copy of Quisqueya in the post today, that may provide some answers!
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Postby DRAddict » Sun 24 Feb 2008 15:38 GMT

You are RIGHT diYum - I think the expression is 'as quiet as a church mouse'!!

I plead guilty as charged. :oops: Your post was made some two weeks ago & it was not until Thursday that I became aware of it. Mi Culpa - my e-mail notification system did not cut in & I wasn't checking in here every day BECAUSE it is so quiet. You may notice that as the moderator here, I have given many a response & many have then just backed off & not replied to the help offered.

I will offer the following mitigating circumstances though - you have been receiving help & advice from other forums that I am part of & now that you have read Quisqueya, you might have alternative questions you would like to raise here. PLEASE go ahead & I'll do my nest to be more punctual in replying!!

WHERE to live depends greatly upon your needs. There are excellent International (I presume you mean by that 'of good quality & English speaking?) schools on the South Coast as it is where most of the rich live - school fees can be expensive as a result. Punta Cana area is very 'NEW' & doesn't have the infrastructure of Santo Domingo, Santiago or even Puerto Plata yet, but that is something that will be coming within the next 5 years I suspect.

Santo Domingo has culture, history, schools, CHOICES.

Santiago has a little less in cultural options but still has some. Schools are good, traffic is less (but STILL heavy to my mind), it is close to the north coast AND 2 hours from Santo Domingo. It is also close to the mountainous areas of Jarabacoa.

The North Coast has Gringo's, virtually no cultural options (no theatres, few cinemas & few museums that are not 'TOURISTY') but traffic is generally more acceptable. There is also less stress &/or people chasing around to 'get things done' ....... I don't mean 'Today' get things done, I mean 'EVER' get things done!!! :wink: !! VERY laid back - almost horizontal in fact!

Your 'Disability' will be what YOU make of it here. People are extremely helpful & will help where it is requested & most times even if it is NOT requested. Dominicans see a need to help ....... & are 99% of the time first to get in there to help! Easy to get around on the pavements with a wheelchair?? Not many places fall into that bracket. Santo Domingo has better pavements but a LOT more people on them; Santiago & Puerto Plata have SOME nice pedestrian areas but many pavements (sidewalks) are pot holed from the rain storms & not yet repaired ..... from about two Governments ago!!. :roll:

Racism (not mentioned here I know but it DID become an issue for you on other forums) is NOT the issue you envisage it to be ONCE YOU BECOME INTEGRATED WITH THE LOCALS). Once they realise you are of Gringo extraction, once they realise you are just trying to 'get on with your life' & involve yourself in the community, they will see just another guy. One of my friends felt his colour was causing some negative feedback ....... it took me a long while to explain it was HIS attitude to his colour that was causing the negativity - how HE responded to the locals was what was causing their negativity. Strangely, this guy is STILL a friend!! :)

Okay, there's a bit of feedback for you to mull over. Come back if you want/need more. ~ Grahame.
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Postby DRAddict » Sun 24 Feb 2008 15:44 GMT

Sorry diyum, I forgot to ask ..............

I presume you have now read 'Quisqueys: Mad Dogs & English Couple'; What did you think of it? Is it the sort of book that people looking for 'Life in a Third World Country' would find helpful/instructional/useful?

A review would be very helpful for other readers & posters I am sure. ~ Grahame.
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Postby Dave » Sun 24 Feb 2008 17:49 GMT

There's a review on the main site - it's currently linked to from the home page, but you can also access it direct here:

Book review: Quisqueya
British Newspapers Online - your handy guide to the UK's national, regional and local press!
ErgoGuides - Great travel and business eBooks from British Expat!
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