Kidnapping the Bride of the Atlantic


This post was originally published by Natalie Ruiz Casado in El País de los Contrastes and El Día and is being reproduced here with the author’s permission.

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The Atlantic is staying single because I have plans to kidnap its beautiful bride, Puerto Plata.

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Four days were not enough to know the province. However, they were enough to reaffirm that this country, despite its contrasts, is wonderful. From the moment I left the bus to step on “puertoplateño” soil for the first time, I was inspired by the charisma and solidarity of its people.

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Visit the Cathedral; take surfing lessons at PauHana in Encuentro Beach; watch the July sunset” from Calle sin salida beach in Sosúa; ascend on the cable car and take a picture with the Christ; walk along Cabarete beach embraced by the light of pubs and restaurants; eat pizza from Pomodoro; hop in “motoconchos” and public buses; meet people like the great Héctor and old Nagib; Chepe and his surfboards; Jack and his speech about finding balance in life; “the hitman” and his driving; the welcome committee (composed entirely ofstray dogs) at Hotel Kaoba; meet Feliz, the 7-year-old surf girl who speaks three languages; Andrea, the Italian guy in the cable car; Omar and his great sense of humor. Talk to them, find out what they are thinking, know their beliefs and ways of doing things helped me store that experience in my long-term memory.

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However there was something that concerned me enough to write this, and that is that Dominicans, for the most part, do not know their country.

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To ask ourselves as individuals -and as a country- what is Dominican identity should be an urgent task to define our core values. One cannot love what is unknown. Current generations come with the “made in anywhere but the DR” stamp”. This is why the human development paradigm places respect for what people are within a cultural environment over what is owned or consumed.

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Many of our social problems are due to this lack of cultural identity. The complex Guacanagarix clouds our vision and gives easy way to pessimism, clientelism, warlordism and externality, and these are limiting factors in the effort to promote identity as a country.

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Many Dominicans believe that the outside is better than inside but, if you do not know the inside, how can you know if the outside is better?

Natalie Ruiz Casado

Natalie Ruiz Casado

Dominican, committed to -and madly in love with her country, the Dominican Republic, which she calls the country of contrasts. She studied Social Communication at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), and later on got a degree in Government and Public Management from the University of Piura (Peru). She currently works as a writer for public institutions. Natalie loves the following combination: beach, sun, sand and the Caribbean Sea, and says -with a lot of passion- that these are things she cannot live without.

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