Tag Archives: dominican society

Ghost Town

The one thing that I always wonder about is how do people persevere on The Island. As Islanders become frugal consumers (meaning that they order their stuff via internet) it is impossible to imagine that businesses on the Island do survive . However, since the constant chant is that esto ha cambiado muchíííísimo and at the risk of being mugged on the streets, I decided to document two of the many exclusive plazas comerciales so that you can be witness of all of the “action.”

Warped in the Wrapping

Something Islanders are known for is their inability to do something for themselves or the more popular term: cogerlo suave. Of course when Islanders come to NYC a dar una trabajaíta, they find themselves shocked at the notion that in The City you actually have to not only work hard, but be efficient, sharp, punctual or you get the The Donald. I have heard uno que otro Islander say that allá se trabaja demasiado when speaking of the work dynamic in The States. But the pinnacle of Island laziness is the merger of lethargy and the Olympic gold of the cogerlo suave jobs: Gift Wrapping.

Gift wrapping is a win-win trade. The Islander, too lazy to wrap his own gifts, will drop off a box full of bottles for los clientes, toys for los ahijados, and cariñitos for the angelitos. In turn, la muchacha que envuelve gets paid for a hobby that is hardly a job, although Islanders consider it a talent in it of itself.

Gift wrapping starts with the selection of gift paper. This requires a tremendous amount of time and consideration for you have to answer the pre-wrapping questionnaire about the gift receiver: ¿Para hembra o varón? ¿Adulto o niño? ¿Liso o estampado? ¿Con brillo o sin brillo? After a good fifteen minutes, the gift wrapper then proceeds to “measure” the exact amount of paper to be used. This is done by unfurling some paper off the roll, placing the box on the uncut piece, folding the paper over the box, and then assessing whether or not she will cut. Upon her approval (which involves retracting the extra paper or unfurling some more) the gift-wrapper will cut the piece of measured paper. She will then carefully and painstakingly begin wrapping origami style, cautiously folding and delicately placing small amounts of tape on the gift, stopping at intervals to contemplate if the process is going well. This will take about twenty minutes. Then comes the placing of the ribbon or la moña. Ribbons are not ready-made, so you should feel very special that you will get a custom-made ribbon based on yet another questionnaire. ¿De qué color quiere la cinta? ¿Cómo la quiere, un lazo o una moña?  ¿De uno o dos colores? ¿La quiere rizada? Once you have answered all of these questions, the gift-wrapper will once again ever so delicately make a moña of about twenty buclés, again stopping at crucial intervals to make sure that the process is going as expected. One false move, and the gift wrapper will quickly toss the half-made moña to make a new one. Of course, this does not happen to veteran gift-wrappers. Finally and ceremoniously the gift-wrapper ties the ribbon onto the gift, fixing each individual buclé, splitting and curling the extra ribbon which result in about ten to fifteen individual curled tendrils of ribbon. The wait has been worthwhile because what Islanders hope for is that the receiver mesmerizes on the wrapping so, that she will forget how cheap the gift inside is.

Another day of Island life observed. I hope the cold isn’t hitting you guys too hard, but just in case, I send you some Dom-York love laced with some Anís del Mono. Oh! and a very special shout-out to my Eurodoms, Phillydoms, Bostondoms, and D.C.doms! Thanks for following!


¿Cómo está la cosa?

I ask a SICHALA (Sindicato de Choferes Aeropuerto Las Américas) driver how are things in this época navideña.

La Llegada

Vini, Vidi, Vici

As the last stop on the A train says… “At Long Last.” I was hoping to do a daily travelogue, but at a whopping US$6.00 for snail Internet per/day, I think I’ll keep it sporadic. I will not do much writing about what I’ve seen so far. I’ll let the NualaCam speak for itself. Until the next entry, keep it warm Dom-Yorks in NY, and keep it patient Yorkies on the Island.

 

Thanks, But No Thanks

My mother has this philosophy of living life as the eternal agradecida. She wants to me to throw a parade to that uncle that gave me a ten-dollar bill when I was seven porque hay que agradecer. She wants me to schedule a yearly visit to my aunt whom I have no affinity to simply because she once visited me in the hospital while I was getting minor surgery done, porque hay que agradecer. If it were up to my mother, every day of my life would be Thanksgiving because I can always count on her finding someone who did something for me at one point in my life that would compel me to live in perpetual agradecimiento. 

Okay, I get it. One must be appreciative. However, I find myself pondering on some important questions when it comes to showing agradecimiento to Islanders. What is the limit of agradecimiento according to Island standards? Is there such a thing as too much agradecimiento? Will Islanders ever say ya ta’ bueno de agradecer? In The City, when you do a favor  you get a “thanks” maybe a thank you card. That’s it. Done deal. Don’t expect anything else, because in our culture, if you agree to do a favor for someone, you shouldn’t expect anything in return. However, it seems that Island statute of limitations for agradecimiento borderline on sense of entitlement, what I call the yo me lo merezco attitude

While in China, I learned that the mandarin translation for “you’re welcome” is “no thanks necessary.” My life as a York has taught me that Islanders are masters at taking this philosophy quite literally. Meaning that whatever the circumstances, you will find yourself complying with an obligatory request without the slightest hint of a por favor or si no es much molestia (See Tit for Tat). Because such behaviors are reason enough to strangle someone, I offer you the evidence.

Exhibit A: I know of someone who announced going to the Island this Christmas, only to find out that an Islander relative had ordered a computer online and shipped it to his house unbeknownst to him. A phone call was followed to ask if in addition to the computer, was it possible to also bring a thirty-pound inflatable mattress.

Exhibit B: When a friend of mine got married, her cousin was the one who helped her with all of the preparativos from driving her around the capital (called choferiando) to picking up the flowers. As a thank you, my friend bought her bridesmaid dress, filled her tank as necessary, gave her a bottle of champagne and sent flowers to her office after the wedding. My friend’s mother stipulated that she should take her cousin a gift every time she goes to the island porque hay que agradecer.

Exhibit C: I once put this “sense of entitlement” to a test. I took out an Islander out on the town to see if he would ever take out his wallet in a gesture of agradecimento to reciprocate all that I would cover on that evening. After paying for dinner, cocktails, cab fare etc. never did he offer to chip in. I gather that my expense for that evening was a fee paid for the pleasure of his company.

Here is some advice if you plan on going to the Island this holiday season.

(1) Treat your departure date as classified information to avoid getting that brown nosing phone call from your prima (who rarely calls you) for an encargo. If somehow your trip information is leaked, then say “yes” to all of the encargos and “accidently” leave them back in NY. Sell them on eBay in retribution for el pique que hiciste when Islanders had the cojones of asking you for such favors.

(2) When on the Island, lock all your belongings in a vault. Better yet, wrap them in electric barbwire. This will avoid the ever so common ¡Ay que bella tu cartera! Tú como que pudieras regalármela, or the more shameless and infuriating, Como tú tienes tantos pintalabios, te cogí uno.

The verdict is in. If you must entertain an Islander in The City, don’t go overboard treating Islanders to “the best night ever.” Remember that while on the Island it is YOU who have to pay, y de ñapa when in The City, it is also YOU who have to pay, for Islanders have become greatly desensitized to a point where the one-way agradecimiento (meaning the only person showing gratitude will always be YOU) ultimately becomes a sense of entitlement to them.

Happy Thanksgiving! Let’s raise our spiked cider to fellow Yorkies (myself included) who are thankful for learning the most important skill in the world: Saying NO.

Grand Slam!

I love how our passion for baseball transcends culture and language barriers! Is there a translator in the house? Dale Dale Dominicano…  Until next season. Go Yankees!