Today is April 30th, 2018. I am currently traveling through the Dominican Republic as part of my goal to travel the world
My second day in the Dominican Republic got off to a better start than my first as I woke up at 10 instead of 11. Although my purpose here isn’t entirely due to tourism, I wanted to be sure to take advantage of the few days that I was in Santo Domingo by seeing the appropriate sites. My first stop was to the Parque Independencia which I had seen from the outside during my earlier walks around Zona Colonial. As I was preparing to leave the hotel, I was informed that today was Labor Day in the Dominican Republic. Although I was sure that the park was still going to be open, I hoped that it wouldn’t be too crowded with local tourists taking advantage of their day off. My first impression of the park was that it reminded me of a combination of the Lincoln Memorial and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington DC. While two formally dressed soldiers stood guard at the gate, there was no entrance fee to enter the park. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that there were only a few people milling about. Upon entering the park, you see a walkway surrounded by two rows of bronze busts of various important figures in Dominican history. Given that I did the unguided tour, I’m not entirely sure if they were all related to a singular event in the countries history. The walkway led up to a white mausoleum that housed statutes of the countries three founders (Duarte, Sanchez, and Mella). Although there wasn’t much else to see in the park, I did take plenty of nice photos.
I left the park and walked towards the ocean. Even during this holiday, there were plenty of empty benches where I could sit and ponder my next move. I decided that I would check out Parque Mirador Del Sur. From what I read during my internet research, I was told that it was an expansive park which I could rent a bike and get great view of the city. The only challenge was that it was about twenty minutes away from my current location. After waiting about ten minutes for a camioneta, I decided to bite the bullet and call Uber. However, feeling adventurous and cheap, I opted for an Uber Motorbike as opposed to the traditional car. The Uber driver was a nice guy, but he seemed more concerned with carrying on a conversation with me than finding the park. This became apparent when he asked me to pull a map up on my phone. After asking for directions, we eventually found the park entrance. As expected, the park was lively and busy. There was plenty of outdoor exercise equipment and the road was blocked off to allow for cycling. There were family reunions, groups of teenage boys, and people enjoying an afternoon picnic. The most interesting group I saw was a Dominican family playing a baseball with a coconut and a wooden tree branch. I was quite impressed as even the old and heavyset Dominican women were getting pretty good hits on the coconut. No wonder the Dominican Republic accounts for most of the foreign-born players in Major League Baseball. It took about a mile walking before I reached the bike shop. While bikes were a plenty, unfortunately I needed a Dominican identification card to reserve one. Despite not getting a bike, the walk throughout the park was soothing and relaxing. Parque Mirador Del Sur is a good place to go if you want to get some good exercise while in Santo Domingo. Speaking of exercise, I got plenty of it as I made the 2.4 mile walk back to the entrance of the newly installed metro station. It was an interesting walk, as I passed the Congressional building and various ministerial headquarters. While I wanted to experience the metro, there wasn’t a stop within walking distance to my hotel, so I opted for the colectivo instead. For $25 DPO (.60 cents), I was dropped off on the exact street of where I was staying.
On my way back from the park, I spotted a comedor that was two blocks away from my hotel. I decided that I would walk there for dinner. It turned out to be exactly what I was looking for as it had a variety of Dominican Cuisine to try. I ended up going with the Plato Del Día, which came with 1/4 chicken, rice, beans, and potato salad. Even with having to buy a drink, the meal only cost me $200 DPO (or $4 USD). The best part is they close at 9PM which means I finally have place to have dinner during my remaining time in Santo Domingo.