Monday, October 29, 2012

Dominican Republic: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Part 2

Time for part two of my three part series about the Dominican Republic.  Last time, I talked about the 'ugly' that pervades this country, whether it's racism, radical Christian judgment handed down by sinners and the holy alike or a general disreputable view of those less fortunate than others.  Today, however, I'm going to be talking about 'the bad'.

'The Bad' doesn't refer to generally awful things, but rather a general lack of common sense and pervasive ignorance that seems to envelop the majority of people here.  I don't mean to be rude, but the lack of common sense is everywhere.  Let's start with cleaning.

People here get paid on the 15th and the 30th of the month and on those days, since people don't make a whole lot of money here, they tend to go to the grocery stores to buy what they need.  So at 5 o'clock on the 15th, just after everyone has been paid and gotten off work and are at the grocery store, that seems to be the best time to take out the giant floor waxing machine and clean the floors.  It's packed in there, you can barely maneuver your shopping cart and there's some moron trying to clean the floor with a machine that's almost too large to fit down the aisles. So now I'm dodging not only people and shopping carts, but a giant machine that's unnecessary.  It's frustrating.

Along with that, we live near the public university where there's quite a few students.  EAch morning as I head to work, hundreds of students use the metro to get to school.  At that time, people working in the metro deem it necessary to close off one whole side of the stairwell to mop, as hundreds of people are going up and down.  Seriously? You can't mop BEFORE the metro opens officially or the night before?

There's a pervasive laziness about the country.  I don't want to, but I'll use where I work to illustrate.  There are two bathrooms for adults, one has two stalls, the other has a stall and a urinal.  That makes 3 toilets and a urinal.  For the past three and a half weeks, 2 of those toilets have been broken with no one even attempting to fix them.  In one case, the toilet had been used (and since it was broken, unable to be flushed) so instead of doing something about it, the crew responsible simply locked the door to the entire bathroom so the smell (which I imagine after 3 weeks would be pretty pungent) won't escape. Embarrassing.

Hmm, let's see.  Driving here has a me first attitude.  You can watch people stopped at a stoplight, and they'll be 30 cars deep (or more) and as soon as the light turns green, they start honking their horns expecting the people right in front of them to move and to be able to move.  It just looks like they don't understand how traffic works, that you can't move until the car in front of you moves and that car can't move until the car in front of them moves and so forth.

The cat calling.  That's fairly annoying, especially for someone like my wife who is Dominican and married a white guy (perhaps THE white guy) because she often gets called, not because of the shorts she's wearing or something similar (though that happens), but because they assume she's with me strictly for a US visa.  That's really infuriating and I can't stand it that just assume that a Dominican girl with a white guy is a) a hooker b) a mistress or c) a visa snatcher.

What else can I say? In truth, there's many other bad things, but that can honestly be said of any country.  Every place has its pros and cons, but often times when you live in a culture that's not your own, the cons tend to hit you harder than the pros and you can find yourself dwelling on all things you despise about a place.  That's why, in next week's post, I've saved 'The Good' part of living in the Dominican Republic because....it's the Caribbean! It sure beats northern Canada!

So, Dear Readers, tune in next week for our continuing story: "Dominican Republic: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly".


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