Santo Domingo: El Mercado

On our second day in Santo Domingo we set out into the wilds of the city to brave el mercado, the city’s largest market. Vendors met our van on the street and helped us out the door while shouting hellos and pushing their wares. The Politur, the Dominican Police especially assigned to protect tourists, immediately stepped forward to clear our path into the old open-air building. I wasn’t sure if I should feel like a celebrity or a criminal, but it did get my heart beating a little faster.

The first thing that struck me about the market: it was dark. Most of the merchants situated in the inner stalls did not have electricity, so we stuck our noses close to the wares in order to see while vendors followed closely behind. Here we found everything we could ever need – from clothing and jewelry to décor, food, and voodoo love potions.

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As we wandered through the stalls I watched Austin pull out his notebook. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Writing down new words,” he responded, while showing me the list he had scrawled on the paper:

Fucu – bad luck

Anduyo – compacted cigar

Vinga – erection

And that pretty much sums up my Dominican market experience.

Just another day in paradise.

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