Dominican Art and Shopping

Trip Start Apr 06, 2007
Trip End Apr 14, 2007

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Thursday, April 12, 2007

On my last full day in the D.R, my aunt took me downtown to show me her favorite Dominican artist's gallery, walk in the Zone and do some shopping. First stop was Candido Bido's art gallery in Santo Domingo. My first time seeing Bido's work was over my birthday last month at my aunt and uncle's condo in the states because my aunt Gail bought one of Bido's original paintings and it's now hanging about the fireplace there. Candido Bido is a famous Dominican artist from a small town called Bonao on the Duarte Highway, north of Santo Domingo. My aunt said that he has been inspired by the red colors of the earth in Bonao and it shows in his art. He also has focused a lot on painting mothers and their children. At the gallery, we were able to see some brand new paintings and some of Bido's earlier work, which Gail said is generally darker and the children in his paintings are facing toward their mother, instead of facing out. In contrast, the painting my aunt has in her condo in the states is of a baby's face, which signifies hope for the future. I bought a poster and some postcards. I was very impressed with all of Bido's paintings and I really enjoy his artwork. You can see some samples of his work on the Gallery's website at: .

After visiting Bido's gallery, we headed to the Zone to visit some of Gail's favorite shops. One of the highlights for me was going to the Eliza doll shop and factory, where beautiful Dominican dolls are created and sold. My aunt gave me one of the Eliza dolls for Christmas last year and it was so neat to see where they are made and meet Eliza and her mother who creates the dolls! They are both wonderful people and I feel honored to have met them and talked with them. We then walked to the Columbus Plaza, where the Hard Rock Cafe is and some nice shops are located. This is where we decided to eat lunch too--outside on the plaza in the shade with some passion fruit juice and Dominican chicken and tostones (fried plantains). After lunch, my aunt sat and read for a bit while I did some last minute shopping on the Conde, a beautiful walkway with many tourist shops close to the plaza. I was a little surprised by the prices but I also remembered that we were in a tourist zone and many cruise ship passengers walked these streets everyday. This is also why a lot of store employees assumed I didn't speak Spanish and tried to convince me to buy things in English, which is one of my pet peeves but I understand why they do it. We also decided to stop by the grocery store on the way back to my aunt and uncle's place to pick up some Dominican coffee and chicharitas (plantain chips--very similar to chifles in Ecuador).

Before leaving the Zone, we toured a small amber museum that showed some history of the famous "Ambar" and "Larimar" stones in the Dominican Republic. I had already decided that I wanted to get some earrings with both stones and I picked some out on our way to the car in one of Gail's favorite jewelry and Carnival mask stores. I also wanted to buy a Haitian painting, even though it's common knowledge that the ones sold on the Conde street and in the Zone are mass produced, because I really like the colors and need a painting to put above the fireplace. They're also a great price. I didn't find just the right thing though that day, but my aunt and uncle told us that they aren't going to keep all their paintings that they have in their condo in Santo Domingo and I like the Haitian painting that they have in the guest room, so I think I might put that one above the fireplace when my aunt and uncle come home.

We ended the Dominican art and shopping day by having dinner at a very nice restaurant called Peperoni's. Gail and Rick told me that the last time they ate here, a famous Dominican baseball player, Pedro Martinez, was eating at a table near them! We sat out on the patio, which was a very fun atmosphere as traffic drove by and almost constant honking occurred!
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