PARADISUS

Yes, it was paradise in Punta Cana.

Sunny days, smiles galore and water

And just a few suds on Foam Party

Really, Spanish history abounds here. It is claimed that Christopher Columbus found this island, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic) in 1492 claiming it for the Spanish Crown. It was originally inhabited by the Taino people, of 5 chiefdoms

Santa Domingo was built in 1496 and became the new capital. The people didn’t give up their paradise easily, shooting arrows. 100,000 Tainos died from 1494-96, through self starvation, poison and leaps from cliffs. The remaining Tainos were enslaved to work in gold mines or sugar plantations. By 1508 only 60k were still alive.

European colonization:

So, the colonists imported slaves from Portugal and Africa. 250 black ladinos, some were kidnapped or taken from villages. It wasn’t great living for the unfortunate Indigenous peoples of the Island. In fact, almost complete decimation.

The first rebellion of enslaved Africans occurred in 1521. Did you know that Dominicans perceive themselves as different from Haitians? Lots of warring, republics, coups, dictatorships, revolutions and Presidents. In 1905 the US took over financial affairs, replacing the peso by the US $. The US occupation:1916-1924, eventually they withdrew, kind of…..

It’s a very long story. And a very diverse country in terms of geography and weather with four mountain ranges, Savannah’s, mangroves, lakes and coastal lagoons. One could feel the tropical rainforest climate.

Today the Dominican Republic is a democratic republic. I did spot a Dominican soldier with gun on the bus drive to the airport. I thought about that, but my guess is that a delivery of cash was being made to La Banco.

The average real GDP per capita is 392us per month, or nearly 18k DOP.

The country has a noted problem of child labour still in its coffee, rice, sugarcane and tomato industries

I find it so difficult to grasp that in 2016 according to the Global Slavery Index still an estimated 104k people are enslaved in the modern day Republic or 1% of the population

We were sheltered from this knowledge as the most visited destination in the Caribbean with Eco tourism on the rise.

We vacationed in the 9th largest economy in Latin America. Millions of tourists visit there every year! Still the country is the site of the second largest gold mine in the world. The average temperature is 78.8f

Music and sports are of great importance to this culture. You know, the Merengue and of course, Baseball. The Toronto Blue Jays Jose Batista comes from there!

Staff kept calling us Puntacanada.

A Dichotomy indeed.

But you know when you are there to Holiday, you Holiday, and that’s exactly what we did!

And over so quickly. Goodbye Sweet and good natured people. Again, I learned about your lives. ❤️❤️❤️

Do you remember Miss Scissorhands?

This gorgeous friend of mine, who is talented in so many ways, and who has a heart of gold is celebrating an auspicious birthday, her 50th!

Yes, I trekked up North to see my gal, again months have passed.

We couldn’t help but talk about our families, exchange pictures, and look forward to summer antics!

Miryana lives on a horse farm, and is a 100% dog whisperer. It seems that she also did a stint with chickens, who kept pecking at her as she fed them. A new Love has entered her love, see below. Now, that makes two sweeties aside from all the dogs she whispers to on a weekly basis at the Doggie DayCare.

By the way the smaller dog rules.

This tall slim blonde is wondering if she should laugh or cry at turning 50. From my viewpoint, laughter seemed to be the best choice as I’m turning 70. What’s a girl to do? She knows I made an effort to go up there and get my haircut today. She URGED me to call in future if I needed an emergency repair. She said she’d pack her bag, her equipment and head right down. She also wondered if Marilyn came down this past summer. She really wants the three of us to get together. So Marilyn, if you are planning a trip in summer 2018, include Miss Scissorhands in the game plan.

It’s so interesting that Miryana with her European background, can be a whisperer, live the life in the King rolling country surroundings, yet be the gal all dolled up who loves shopping for clothes. I wish we lived closer.

Miryana, a 50th Birthday is one to cherish! You have so many who love you, enjoy the warmth!

May you have the very best year EVER!

Love,

Judy xxxx

January

I’m actually enjoying winter in the condo. The sky changes colour every day and instead of two swans, last week there were 75 and counting.

We get up every morning, put the coffee pot on and I rush to the windows to see what’s up. If we are lucky to have a sunny day we open the windows for fresh air and bask in the sunshine

The orchids are going nuts!

Now I understand what it feels like to be raised in a greenhouse.

Now contrast that with evening and looking out my bedroom window. A different feeling altogether, but very pretty.

I’m not saying winter is easy going but I don’t mind wearing my tuque or cuddling under blankets

So keep yourself warm. Brew up something warm and enjoy every detailed moment of your life,

Love

Judy

Christmas 2017

Jeff and Lisa in Banff. They said no one was there. Did they at least see Elk I wonder?

The tourist groupies from Calgary were probably still depressed after the Toronto Argonauts won the Grey Cup and hadn’t gotten into the mood of Christmas. But not these two!

Here, back in Toronto the bells are being rung throughout the City. Encouraged, I hurriedly put together our Hot Chocolate stand

Now to find some customers…

You never know who or what you will come across in this season of good cheer!

How about that guy and his pet chicken?

Weird, but I haven’t seen too many references to Santa yet. Oh well, we only have 3 more weeks to go!

Saw this in Harbs doctor’s office. I like it!

Well, I must think about getting our tree up.

And the Kids are speaking to their teachers.

Tomorrow is another day.

No snow yet at this end.

Will Christmas come?

Love you guys,

Jude xxx