Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hola

Today is a beautiful day. I got up at 7am today, which is very unusual for me.

Next week is the election for the congress here. I will be so glad when it is over. The rallies and traffic jams and the LOUD (!!!!) music goes along with it is starting to get on my nerves a bit. Though, I must admit, there has been very little violence. I have been asking everyone if they are going to vote, and it is interesting to hear people´s opinions.

There is a very strong rumor going around that an American is opening some kind of bar/club here. I have not been able to pin the rumors down, but I figure if I mention it here someone might know something and pass it on.

Byron, from Casa New Yorker, has entered the blog realm. He will be musing on his journey through what we affectionately call the Drama Republic. Please check out his blog here.

Another reason to be careful about what I write in the blog. Several local Dominicans have mentioned to me that they read the blog and it helps them with their English.

Those who know me know that Boca Chica is not a place I like to go to. But yesterday, I went with some friends and it was quiet and tranquil, though there are still too many people trying to sell you something. I had a great time.

The Parque Independenica has a photo exhibit about the Dominican Revolution of 1965. In April of that year, 42,000 American troops invaded the Dominican Republic to ¨restore order.¨This was following months of civil unrest and protests. The country seemed to be on the verge of a civil war. 1965 was not the first time that Americans occupied the DR. They were also here from 1926 - 1924, and trained a brutal national guard, from which the dictator Trujillo would rise and run the country with an iron-hand for more than 30 years. Anyway, the exhibit is truly great. It has many pictures of exactly what was going on during that time.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not just local dominicans read your blog, but dominicans all over the world.

Anonymous said...

Well it's great that Byron will be blogging too! Now all we need is to put you two on a schedule where someone BLOG's every day! Waiting a week or more for news of how everyone is doing and how the gay scene is in the DR is nerve wracking for those of us working stiffs who can only wish to have a large enough retirement account to enjoy our "golden years" in the golden warm sun of Santo Domingo!

Anonymous said...

Well I really do hope someone opens another bar...American or otherwise. What that city needs is a neighborhood bar with sofas, ambiance, good drinks, outdoor patio w/bar for fresh air and a fire pit. A conversation area as well as a dance area...hopefully decorated in a warm and inviting "island life" decor. Now wouldn't that be nice?

Anonymous said...

to anonymous 3 bar friends is exctly what your describing. no fire pit taht i remmeber but everthing else. or maybe it's the owner writing that post?

Anonymous said...

Of course it's him or that woman. Funny how they spend so much time on this blog. Have you seen their Enchanting Encounters website? Talk about a hot mess.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow I will second that. A new bar would be great, new place to go with an Island feel would be so nice. It would be nice for new atmosphere.

Anonymous said...

Why would you need an "island feel" WHEN YOU'RE ALREADY ON AN ISLAND. It's not like you're in Kansas.

"It would be nice for new atmosphere". ESL.

Monaga said...

There are bars in Santo Domingo that offer a lounge type feeling and are very elegant, but no fireplaces (too hot!). There are even a couple in the Colonial Zone. Bobo's comes to mind.

Now, if you are talking about a gay establishment, then that is a different question. There isn't a large gay population here to support that type of establishment, because it would be expensive to start and keep running. It can't be dependent on gay tourist, as gay tourist trade is cyclical.

My 2 cents.

I would also agree that Bar Friends is a very nice place, like you described.

(Please, let's just keep it on topic. No fireworks!)

Anonymous said...

If Bar Friends is so nice why did I not find any tourists or locals there when I passed by at 9pm when I was on vacation. There were 5 employees and no customers. It's cleaner than when it was Phoenix but it does not seem to draw a crowd. Also is is too expensive compared to other bars. Don't dare order a Bloody Mary there.

Monaga said...

That's my point about opening a new "upscale bar." If there are no clients to support it how will it survive.

Whatever my differences are with Leon he did try to offer something different. Jerry opened a great restaurant, David tries to do everything he can, Scotch & Byron have opened a great place. It would be great to have many other options here, but if the businesses that are open are struggling to make a living, why would someone want to put all their blood, sweat and tears (not to mention a whole lot of MONEY!) to open another business catering to the gay community.

ARENA has a very nice bar, Punto, which is struggling to find any kind of business, and they cater to a Dominican clientele. It is very, very difficult.

I hope everyone understands that I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from opening a business here. I just know the difficulties I faced, along with other business owners are going through.

Case in point. Last night the Sports Bar had a really nice crowd. Unfortunately, the electricity on the block was off since 2pm that day. David ran his generator for as long as he could, but it conked out and he had to close at 11pm.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Santo Domingo hasn't got enough attraction to generate enough mass of gay tourism that will provide excellent profits around the year for gay-only businesses. It takes time and a welcoming climate to provide incentive for anyone to start a business.

What Santo Domingo has are (1) the most gay-tolerant (barring San Juan, maybe) atmosphere; (2) relatively inexpensive costs; (3) relatively friendly people.

What Santo Domingo has against it are (1) not a clean city; (2) machismo that is relatively worse than other Latin places; (3) a certain "hard edge" brought along by poverty.

Yes, there are some contradictions in my viewpoint. Friendly vs Machismo. Sometimes, I enjoy that atmosphere, sometimes I just wish to be in Puerto Vallarta, instead.

Anonymous said...

DR is still 3 world by all standards. They try but due to the mentality of get that tourist by any means possible only the all inclusive resorts will make a profit

Anonymous said...

Yes a new business would be so hard and lots of money, new atmosphere would be nice, but again it’s what you make of your stay in DR. I only go down 2-3 times a year so; I would not be a very good support for the new bar. Lol lol but my hats off to the entire bar owners and thanks for keeping your establishment going I know it’s hard on the bar owners. I only have one drink or so, I do my part to support the establishments. Ok may be not a new bar but offer more atmosphere! I have to agree w/ bar friends looks really good. But I do have a problem with the manager. She comes across rude and the way she treats the staff and people. I also know that you can not let your guard down w/ the staff, locals or they will walk all over you. But there is a way to talk to people. Arial, what a waste of money! The old Arial was good! I spend only less then 30min in that hot box. It’s full of local younger guys, the music is so bad and loud, every one looks like there on drugs. It’s ok if you’re your out looking for that kind of bar that night. If there was an emergency they are going to be a lot of people hurt. I did not see a way out, but through that dark walk way! Not for me I guess. Waste of time and money!

Nena said...

recently can't access www.monaga.com?

Monaga said...

changing ip hosts. hopefully up by tonight.

Anonymous said...

This all sounds sensible but how did Phoenix do so well for at least two decades? It was nearly always packed and made money even though Lawrence was being robbed blind by his employees and paying off police and officials. I am sure a new bar can make it. It seems Jerry Gibbs isn't going hungry with Jay-Dee's?

Monaga said...

The Phoenix wasn't always packed. It was packed on holiday's when many tourists were here. During the summer months it was DEAD!

Lawrence survived because he also lived there and owned the building. His lifestyle was not extravagant by any means, but he lived comfortably. He didn't put a lot of money into the decor of the bar, it was just a simple hole-in-the-wall.

Jay-Dee's is successful because of the Dominican gay clientele. Jay-Dee's location has been some type of gay bar for years, from the Llego Bar, P2K, until now. Jay-Dee's has a loyal following.

Again, it is a very difficult running a business here, but it can definitely be done successfully.

Anonymous said...

I guess marketing has a lot to do with the success of a place, as does the feeling of the place. When you enter a bar or club is there a welcoming feel to it? Is the staff friendly? Are the people friendly? You know, like "Cheers" where everyone knows your name. I remember the old Bar Freddy's & Bar Phoenix, with the dingy green walls, eclectic pictures on the wall and Lawrence holding court under the picture of the Queen Of England. It was love at first sight and from the first time on, Bar Phoenix was the first stop for bar hopping, we'd pay our respects to Lawrence, the owner and from then on, it was party central. Those were the good old days before the life and spirit was ripped out of the place and sterilized into the pink palace it is today. Sorry, just ramblings of an old queen remembering days gone by. You are right, it is hard to run a business in any place where seasonal traffic is the norm, Santo Domingo is like P'Town and other places, with high and low seasons. All we can do is try to come down as often as possible and support all the gay businesses as much as possible. And THANK YOU Anthony for enlightening us to this issue.

Anonymous said...

For those who dont think that dominicans, the ones living in this island, do not read this blog here I am trying to prove you wrong. Here I enjoy checking up some american's point of view of many topics that you guys feel free to give oponions.

Now, this entry in regarding bar scene in DR, mainly owned and operated by foreigners willing to import a model of gay life that did work in other places but that seemes not to work here. Here I will give some sugestions that might be interesting applying in your businesses.

1. Gay dominicans, when are desparate for sex, "use" bugarrons but they dont want to hang out with them in a bar, as if there were "panas" or "friends" due to bugarron's life is normally surrounded by a criminal life. Underneath gay men in DR reject prostitution, and mostly, not all, of the americans living in DR want to make an living out of promoting and imposing male prostitution among poor -but certainly good looking- kids.

2. Even when gay businesses around the world are placed in "red zones" or zones where the city allow our sometimes sordid behavior, here in DR is different. Robbers and car breakers are openly working here and the population has a feeling on unsafeness and this feeling is accented in some neigbourhood where these bar are located, so be carefull where you guys think of opening a gay bar, cause no one will make gay men drive to Boca Chica or other zones through the dark roads where you dont know what might happen to you (except if you are cuban writer Reynaldo Arenas).

3. Santo Domingo is a city of men drinking. "Colmandones", this places that along day time sell food, and drinks at night time, with loudy music, and just walking distance from your house, are the places to be. This kind of places are the new cruising places, mainly for these reasons: drinks are half cheaper than bars; the population is much more men than women; men plus drinks minus women means free, quick, and good sex in your own bed. Conclusion, think in opening a gay "colmadon" rather than a gay bar, costs are lower, and benefits higher.

I might think in other factors that make gay bars (and gay hotel) in DR not profitable for a long term but, but for now just think that there was a gay business that stayed open for more than 10 years, where about bugarrons, and in a unsafe neigbourhood: "El Penthouse". Focus your market studies in that business and find out what made it a success bar. -FCB

Anonymous said...

To the Dominican gay with suggestions, that was a dose of truth that hit home like a 10 ton truck. You are right, everywhere I go when visiting DR I see these corner stores "Colmados" with all these men and you are right, few women. I've heard that across the river in San Vincente Ave. area the colmados are hot hot hot. On my next trip, I'll have to check it out. And you are right, Dominican gays tend to stay away from where bugarrons gather, I heard they fear being outted by the bugarrons or being extorted for money by the bugarrons with a threat of outting if they don't pay up. Now that I can believe, cause those bugarrons will do whatever necessary to get that buck.

Anonymous said...

Hola to the gay Dominicano! That post was a breath of air. As a frequent visiter I am ALWAYS interested in what the natives feel about the American invasion, as well as how they feel about the boogie situation among others. But as an adventerous soul who always strays off the beaten path, I have found myself in the barrios drinking at the colmandones with some hot Dominicanos.You buy that round of cervezas and it is ON!! But you can not be overt in your approach, trust me one or more in the group will "throw it at you". And it is advised to do this with a native, or if you havs some spanish skills.....

Anonymous said...

The observations and advice offered above are informative and thoughful.

1. Where do the gay dominicans hang? How safe is it to hang out at a colmado, as a foreigner, looking for a hookup?

2. What about socializing with gay dominicans in general?

3. What about JD's? I see plenty of gay dominicans there who don't appear to be buggarones.

Also curious as to what gay domincans make of this influx of black gay americans.

1. Do they think we're all down there for sex only?

2.Are they interested in friendships?

3. There doesn't seem to be a Dominican gay movement; are gay dominicans fine with the way gay life is in DR?

I know I'm posting questions that may have many answers or may require a lengthy response, but If there's more insight out there, please post a reply.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

The information in this website may be a couple of years old, but it is still valid: http://www.globalgayz.com/g-dominicanrepublic.html. You'll find an interview with our own David Lee.

Obviously, you'll find different opinions depending on your own experience and whom you meet. But I believe the DR scene is not really that different than other scenes in third world countries, specially those influenced by the Catholic religion.

Anonymous said...

I read that article previously and never realized it was David from Sport Bar. Go David! I was also amazed to see a very young Gerardo pictured! Didn't realize he has been on the scene for a while.

Anonymous said...

Alright to the gay dominican and the following posts.But it is not impossible to hook up with a gay dominican, but you cannot treat them like a buggaron, and you have to speak their language. Once I tried to hook up with one at JD's and he said in perfect english "I don't want your money!" OK!! As if I was offering. I speak not only for myself but also many blog readers when I say that I am not attracted to flamboyantly gay men.The reason that we go down there and we give our hard earned pesos is because WE WANT MEN HONEY!! And those native gays at JD's......HONEY! But if you can get with that beautiful, take a chance and go for it.

John K said...

I just wanted to thank the Dominicano who posted and mentioned the word "pana," which helped me understand a phrase in a completely unrelated text, Puerto Rican writer Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá's great book Peloteros. He uses the word with the same connotation you do in reference to Peruchín Cepeda when he compares him to the heroic Roberto Clemente, and I kept trying to figure out what he meant with "vaya mi pana," but now it's clear. Muchas gracias!

Anonymous said...

there are flamboyant gay bugarones. there arent all HARD. nothin wrong with GAY men HONEY!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, this thread has certainly bounced from one topic to another! I am writing in favor of the poster that wrote, "WE WANT MEN HONEY!" My sexual tastes have changed much over the years (and there are a lot of them, years, that is) and now I enjoy the company of masculine-looking and acting men. This is independently of what they may or may not do in bed. I can not see myself with an effeminate man as a bed partner and I believe that most of you who travel to SD, Rio, and other latin places can not either. When I was in my mid-thirties, I had a relationship with a gay Dominican. It was great, but that was then and my tastes have varied somewhat. I like my Puerto Rican and Domincan MEN. If you like effeminate men, drag queens, or whatever, that is fine. But right now, I too say, "WE WANT MEN HONEY!" Tomorrow? Well, who knows what tomorrow will bring...
From Puerto Rico,
Rafael

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout-out on the article from globalgayz. Yes, that article is some 5 years old, or older, back in the day. While my fundemental views expressed in the article remain in place, I don't want to create any "Current Day" false impressions, some of my views and feelings have changed since that article was written.

I'd like to thank Anthony for creating this blog as a forum for others to express their thoughts and views on the DR. I enjoy the topics and I appreciate the support shown to me and my poolhall.
Regards, David Lee

Anonymous said...

Great blog. Interesting views (usually). Noteworthy information. What more can you ask for? Thanks Anthony!

Anonymous said...

More questions-

1. Is it that difficult in the states to find a partner/hookup?

2. If it's just the sex that brings folk down to DR, how come I hear so many heart wrenching, broken-heart stories?

Anonymous said...

First I want ro give a shoutout to Rafael who always delivers insiteful and humorous posts. And in response to the post above, you obviously have NEVER been to DR. Because if you had some of the sex that is readily availble there, you would fall in LOVE!! Love then leads to heartache. But if you fall off the horse, you gotta get your ass back on. More like if a boy breaks your heart, you get another one!!Those boyz(some of them) make love to you baby!And like Rafael and that other chile... I live to be with a MAN HONEY!!!

Anonymous said...

But are you falling in love with the d*ck or the prostitute or both?

Anonymous said...

the d*ck on the bugaron aint it? maybe you never felt love like that or experiend it but some of us have HONEY!! el bugaron la pinga el amor then ther kick you to the curb you gotta start all over :(

Anonymous said...

Here is the dominican reader again thanking those who agreed with me and respecting those who did not. This time answering, from my point of view, some questions from a previous comment.

1. This is a poor country, so gay men look for places where they can expand their budges, here I am mentioning some places: Romodromo (in ciudad nueva), Grandes Ligas (sabana larga), Teleoferta (ave. maximo gomez), "Hangar" y "La Terminal" (Ave Espana), "La Base" (ave. Independencia) among other hundreds of similar colmadones. They all sell beer "grande" betwen 50 and 60 pesos, and certainly are cruising places.

2. About JDs. My opinion about this place is divided since it seems to promote or at least allow male prostitution, but at the same time try to end segregation between buggies and middle class dominican gays. Sometimes, after seing the bugarrons transaction in the darkroom upstairs, it looks more a whore house than a gay club. Some of the "bugarrons" are well known criminals and drug dealers, and dominicans just keep appart of them, but foreigners are often victims of these low life men despite the owner do nothing about it. On saturday, are packed of no-option domincan gays who feel scammed with high prices (for dominicans) of drinks and tropical cocktails. In JDs ocasionally, you can meet good people, make good friends, and if u go with your own group of people you may have a good time, while ignoring the undercovered sex business and begger-for-drinks bugarrons. Market will make JDs to better their service.

3. Do dominicans think that all with americans is about sex? That is not for me to respond but for you to read previous comments and answer honestely. I have heard many who joke saying that for a price of one escort in NY or Paris you can get 10 domincan bugarrons. JDs has a darkroom with porno constanly playing, Arena has a Sauna, former A's club use to organize a sex crusade and late night sex festivals. Not that one or two americans are more into culture than into sex hunting, but its mostly here than anywhere else.

4. Gay dominican movement: some did try to march once or twice, mainly the flamboyan domincan gays, but most dominican gay still fear social represion and have stayed home, maybe because there were not politically organized marchs. ASA, and Leonardo Sanchez, are doing a lot to organize gay mostly for education on prevention of HIV/AIDS related topics. Other are working to. Recently it is being a discusion on the topic of gay marriage. I, personaly, have the feeling that they can't do more due to lack of funds, large amount of funds. An Idea is to, from gay bars, let organize fundraising activities to promote a gay agenda and laws in favor of gay in DR and to support a Public Relation campaign to chage the view domincans have about homosexuality (perversion, sin, rapers, AIDS, mental illness, second category citizen, "loca", etc). I think that our festivals should be more based on a political agenda (coming from your experiences in your USA communities) than in dancing, drinking, and hunting for big-dicked dominicans for sex.

Finally, lets hope for more "investers" in gay industry in Domincan Republic. More type of bars and dance clubs, more lounges for quiet afternoon, more cultural events, more gay artcrafting, more theme parties that create traditions, more gay tours or affordable cruises, more gay appartments for rent, more affordable gay guesthouses in beaches around the island, more gay employee agencies, more gay shelters for youth, more not-profitable gay agencies working here, more food festivals, more gay gyms or sport practicing that finally lead domincan gay to at least first dominican gay games.

John K said...

The Dominican poster's comments about the necessity of creating a sustainable infrastructure that is not only geared towards entertainment but that's also politically engaged is excellent. As he points out, the main impetus for the American LGBT movement has always been political: the pre-Stonewall organizations and the post-Stonewall mobilizations both sought to repeal repressive, criminal laws, guarantee civil rights for LGBTs, and end social oppression. The changes that have occurred up to today didn't occur because of the heterosexual majority's beneficence, but because of sustained political activism, involvement and militance, which have sometimes been ignored or mocked by the very homosexuals (and bis and heteros) who've benefited from the changes.

The various forms of gay culture that have flowered since, including the American "pride" celebrations that are mostly beauty pageants and sexual carousels (not that there's anything with looking good and having sex), would not have been possible without the early political focus that pushed to end police raids, felony penalties for gay sex, firings for even the perception of being homosexual or bisexual, and so on. It's easy to dismiss or forget the political aspects of things, but they're crucial; even the market presence of HIV/AIDS drugs in the US and across the world, which many younger gay Americans take for granted, resulted in no small part from more than a decade of persistent political LGBT activism.

I understand the Dominican poster's feelings about the bugarrones, but at the same time, as he says, for some of these men, this represents one of the best possibilities for earning money for themselves and their families, and if they and the Americans they connect with are taking precautions to prevent HIV transmission, I don't see it as a problem if it's legal under Dominican laws. I mean, there are male hustlers and prostitutes in every city and suburb in the wealthy United States! Open any gay publication here and you see pages of escorts, etc. There are people in the US who want to pay for sex or must pay for sex. What the LGBT movement made possible is venues for people to have sex together without paying each other and without criminal penalties, though HIV/AIDS and the subsequent backlash ended the wild period of the 1970s.

When I was down there a few weeks ago, I mentioned to both Anthony and David that I believed they and other LGBT Americans who were living down and running businesses were participating in the development of an important social ecology. As the Dominican poster says, spaces in which gay middle-class and working class Dominicans and foreigners can connect strikes me as a positive thing, just as the interaction of hetero Dominicans with openly gay Dominicans and foreigners also strikes me as a positive thing. Ultimately Dominican LGBTs will decide what your idea LGBT culture and society is going to look like, just as people in every society have, and the mainstream American influence will play a role, but it is also noteworthy to me that LGBTs from neighboring Puerto Rico, another Latin American country, and LGBTs of color (Black, Latino, Blatino) are also part of this conversation, as opposed to the usual dynamic, which has been the case in other countries, when the mainstream Euro-American gay culture's ideas and constructions play a central--sometimes the dominant--role.

(Sorry for the long response!)

Monaga said...

I was going to respond. But John K. did it so eloquently for me.

I, too thank the Dominican poster for his thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Bravo!! Bravo!! John, Anthony, Gay Dominican blogger, all the responses and comments and David and Jerry and Byron and Scotch and the frontier called DR!

Love it, love it, love it!

Anonymous said...

Dear friends, americans friends living in santo domingo, owining and promoting bugarrons-based gay systems: I can not connect any good result related to using a bugarron as a sexual partner beyond 30 minutes of submisive pleasure, and if any that is not observed by me, then I can mention hundreds of bad things related to them.

First I must clarify that I am not opposed to a grown up male with options in life that decides to use his body as a commercial boy, that is a free transaction and both ends get what they want; one get money the other get a fullfilled fantasy. Escort business is a good business. But its different when one end is a very smart college educated, intellectually mature, frequently a professional, traveled american, and in the other end we have a naive, almost a teen, wannabe dominican, not even high school graduated, who never traveled far from malecon, and who is being bombed his whole life with the myth of american supremacy and that money get it all. That is not a free trade, is manipulation.

No one will make me believe that that is the only way to provide money to their families; and refuse to believe that that money will reach and help their families and not the drug market; and much less will not believe that motivation for USA gay americans using and promotig bugarrons is to help these families. I have never seen an ex-bugarron that went to college with money coming from the clientelle. Never saw a bugarron moving his family to his new appartment. Never saw a ex-bugarron writing a book, gaining an olimpic medal, or afecting society trought politic conviction. But saw them sick in Padre Billini Hospital, or in Jail after killing someone, or mutilated from fighting to other buggies.

Bottom line is that, as for bugarrons that is an easy way to make money despite their own dignity and health also is an easy way to make money for foreigners out of manipulating these kids and dignifying this lifestyle.

The result is delinquency all around gay life in DR; increase of infections in HIV/AIDS related diseasses; abuse of prohibited substances; increment in drug dealing; lack of tolerance of society that will continue to indentify gay men with low life; police corruption that will get closer to get a share in the system; poverty to bugarron's family, just to mention some.

Maybe a deep study may be necessary to help me express this based on social studies and not in my own observancy.

Monaga said...

Very interesting post. I think you have stated the obvious. What about some solutions?

It is very hard to answer someone when you don't know what background they come from. Have you visited the DR before? Do you partake of buggarons?

Anyway, interesting comment.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you do not know of any bugarron "success" stories, I will give you a few...one guy I know saved up and bought a car to use for public transportation which he does today, another took a compuerter course and now works at a local bank, a third used his money (some of mine included) to study barbering and opened up a barber shop in his home town. Anthony can vouch to this. Maybe none has graduated from college, but they put their money to use at what was avaiable. If the majority of the bugarrones decides to spend money on drugs, "gold" chains, or oversized jerseys and end up without a cent, tough luck. It is a tough world for them, but they can choose otherwise. I would go on, but I have to get back to the office. To be continued...
From Puerto Rico,
Rafael

Anonymous said...

This is why I love to read this blog. You get a cross section of oppinons, they go from the frivolous to the idiotic to the comical to the DEEPLY intellectual. To the post that is maybe 2 above this one, would it have hurt to proof read? You made some amazing points, but I had to re-read them several times before they made any sense. Also you sound like an outsider that has not had an experience, but you you have an intense negitive viewpoint. Although quite a powerful one

Anonymous said...

Hey, here is your dominican folk bugging again. Apparently some of you guys dont think I live in Santo Domingo, I love living here, am born and raised in this country, and know this country from cover to cover. Thank you for giving a "visa" to another country, but I live here, love USA but also Santo Domingo.

From reading some responses to my post, it looks like I have some streams of ideas. This one giving happy ending in bugarrons lifestories, and this one collecting ideas about "solutions". This posting is to answer only these two streams.

I am totally sure we can mention great hollywood-like endings to bugarrons lifestories, and after telling them you may have a quiet bedtime, but at the same time I can mention "next day" stories after these endings. The one who got a taxi from commercing with his dick and ass is STILL bugarroning at night at JDs, now he brags he is a part time bugarron. The one working as a teller in the bank has a "call list" using now high profile customers and polititians. There is this one that now have a "business" hiring other boys to sell them throu Internet. As you see, bugarroning cause the sensation of easy money that is hard to quit, this is especially true in this country of low salaries. Bugarroning tent to cause a vice, and the ones that can quit tent to evolve to other stages in the same business.

I got to rectify, maybe there is one or two successful stories, but they are not common and for me are lifes that are getting sacrified for egocentric and sordic customers in need of sex no matter what just because life is about how much pleasure you can get of it.

Solutions? Not quiet so simple cause foreigners using and promoting bugarroning are only tiny part of the problem, but the true problem is a dominican problem that is underneath in our social organization that deny access to education and opportunity to work.

Maybe people who "love" these kids can help them by stablishing actual gay relationships with them where they involved themselves in all the good and bad things they have, like a real monogamous couple, and not just using them for the nite and sending them home next day with few bucks and a sandwich before calling the next "meat" on line. Maybe people who use these kids can start by teaching from their own field of expertise any skill that help them face life with something in their hands.

Maybe bars can help doing some actitivies during afternoon: giving them speeches, counseling, legal advise, social help, health care, sicology advise. The point is to give these poor kids opportunity to decide if they want to follow escort career, or want to do other things in life. To have a door open in case they want to live without giving their asses or sucking old fart's dicks.

I dont know, maybe, some of you guys can give better ideas on how to help and stop these bugarroning system and create a better environment for the gay community in Santo Domingo that exclude sex with minors, unwanted sex prostitution, and make others gay dominicans feel pride of our of our gay community.

John K said...

The final poster makes some very good points. Again I apologize for going on at length, but:

1) Until the fundamental economic structure of Dominican society changes, hustling will continue to be a viable option, and male and female hustlers/prostitutes will continue to ply their trade, because doing so provides a very lucrative opportunity with fringe benefits, so why wouldn't people turn to this option? Not everyone wants to or can join the military or police, or get office jobs, or be a baseball player, singer, entrepreneur or politician, and even educated Dominicans may struggle to find financially remunerative jobs. From what I've seen--and I could be wrong--a relatively small, socially-connected elite, with ties to global capital (in the US, Europe, Latin America, etc.) controls the economy and only grudgingly admits those who do not come from its ranks or make their fortunes elsewhere.

In an ideal world, many of these beautiful young men would have other opportunities, but in the real world, they don't. And really, they have things to offer that some Americans (and other foreigners, as well as wealthier Dominicans) rightly think or feel they cannot get elsewhere. The young men know this; they aren't all ingenues or naifs. Just ask the Americans who get played like a deck of cards REPEATEDLY. So it's a two-way street. But one could say the same thing of folks even in the US; there are so many talented, beautiful young people who struggle just to get by even in the erroneously named "land of opportunity," while some people with less brains, looks or charm are handed the world on a platter. There are more opportunities--vastly more--in the US, but there are parallels in both societies.

I hear you about gay, middle and upper-middle-class Dominicans not wanting to socialize with the hustlers/bugarrones. I think this is true even in the US. I particularly understand this when you're talking about criminally involved hustlers. But some of the bugarrones are in school, do have jobs, and are trying to improve their personal and familial financial situations. Not all are on drugs and involved in criminal activities. I'd also say that seeing this situation in DR has helped me to understand the romanticization straight male filmmakers and writers have had of the prostitute-john situation, in movies like "Pretty Woman" and "Mighty Aphrodite." The fantasy scenario of encountering a hooker with a heart of gold, who offers the potential for romance and a relationship, is something that many guys probably do wish weren't just a fantasy.

Truthfully, and I'm going to generalize here, there are not many places on earth where the people are as uniformly attractive as the Dominican Republic. That's my opinion and others may disagree. Since same-sexual acts and male-female prostitution are not criminalized, the political situation is stable, and the country is an affordable travel option, people are going to choose it over some of the other options for sex tourism, in addition to other kinds of tourism. But then people go to the Netherlands, one of the wealthiest countries on earth, not to see its historic cities, eat its cuisine and take in its museums and culture, but for sex tourism (and drugs), so DR isn't alone in this either. I remember a friend telling me that he went to Paris and regretted the fact that he didn't see even ONE of the many cultural treasures there beyond the Eiffel Tower in the distance, because he spent his entire trip on his back! I'm sure people could say the same thing of Rio, London, New York, San Francisco, Bangkok, etc.

2) Since many of the bugarrones identify themselves as heterosexual or say they are primarily attracted to women, and have wives, girlfriends or children, it would be difficult for an American or even a gay Dominican to establish a relationship with them. Right? In order for a stable, long-term, even quasi-monogamous same-sexual gay relationship to be possible, mustn't both of the people at least share the same sexual identities? Even saying this, I can think of one American who was down in DR when I was there a few weeks ago who REALLY liked the guy he'd hooked up with. Liked to the point of perhaps falling in love. And he was starting to experience painful feelings as the person was playing with his emotions. So again, it goes both ways.

3) I agree about education, especially around HIV/AIDS, and I don't doubt that some of the Americans and others who come down try to offer life advice to the younger Dominican guys they encounter. But really, don't you think this has to come from Dominicans themselves, from gay Dominicans and LGBT organizations like ASA, and from older LGBT Dominicans, both in DR and from abroad? Would Dominicans really want or stand for the bar owners or any Americans or Europeans offering counseling and so on about being gay, gay identity, and so on, except on an informal basis?

I did say in an earlier post that American and foreign support, if requested by Dominicans in DR, for building up Dominican gay culture, could be a very good thing. But I think we all realize how much American culture (and European cultural importants) already bombards the entire world, including DR. The circulation of culture has positive ramifications, certainly, but resentment and anger also are the results at times, especially given the history between the US and many other countries in the world. So perhaps in addition to the kinds of informal connections that have occurred, some Dominican organizations may want to partner with American LGBT organizations. There are Latino, Black and other LGBT organizations in the US that might be able to create partnerships, as have occurred with other groups in other countries, but I guess I see the impetus having to come from Dominicans in DR and abroad.

4) The issue of minors seems clear cut to me. No adult should be having sex with minors. I thought DR was pretty clear on this, and I would think that most Americans realize that if they're caught having sex with minors, they'd be in very serious trouble, especially with the current administration.

Again, thanks for listening and Anthony, thanks for providing this forum.

Gringo said...

Ok, guys.. new poster here. Call me Gringo.

You want to find someone for a relationship here? Talk to our Dominican friend who is posting. Obviously intelligent and seems to have his mind in the right place on business & social realities.

He sounds like boyfriend material to me. Except, you know what? I suspect he's smart enough not to think for a moment that he can have a relationship with someone who visits the island two or three times a year. He won't get what he wants & neither will you. How likely are you to move to here?

It's no different here than in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere. You want a relationship? Move here. Get a job. Maybe in a month, maybe 2 years you'll meet someone by accident at the grocery store, library, restaurant, wherever... and start a relationship (not a hookup). Fly in for a week, visit the discos... you'll get the same thing if you fly cross-continent in your own country and visit the bars for a week. You'll likely get sex... paid or unpaid... but that's it. No relationship & you wouldn't really expect it. Do you really think you or he is not going to date others until you return in 6 months for a weekend?

The guy you message in a chatroom who gives you his phone # & photos in the first chat is not looking for a relationship. The 19 year old stud who wouldn't give you the time of day in the U.S. but says age doesn't matter and he likes fat bellies - no relationship, trust me. The guy that has a girlfriend, but can occasionally meet you at your hotel, forget him too. He's cheating on her. Think he won't cheat on you? Oh, the guy you meet on the street and take to your hotel in an hour is not looking for a relationship. Don't kid yourself.

But, the guy who talks to you online, won't send his photo for months, but wants to know what your day was like, what books you're reading, etc... he's the one with a good job and decent community standing that is worth pursuing. You might take him home to meet your mom. And... over time, you will get to meet him. Also, the guy in another department at your place of work, the one that smiles at you... take the time to get to know him, he's probably worth it.

Can you have a relationship here in DR? I lived & worked in Santiago for several years a while back. I have several people that I consider good friends - a few of whom I dated early on. Problem is, dating here with a 'decent' guy is tough. He's most likely (though not always) in the closet. He likely doesn't have a visa and has little chance of getting one. Also, perception is reality here. You or he being seen together all the time (Dominican & foreigner) creates gossip amongst co-workers, family, neighbors. There's an assumption that its an unhealthy relationship... beyond the gay issue, there's usually an assumption that the local is a 'kept' man whether true or not.

The guys I dated all worked and/or were in school. All under 30 years of age. All spoke English well. I don't speak Spanish very well & to have a relationship you must be able to communicate your thoughts to each other (so learn Spanish or find an English speaking boyfriend). All but one had visas and could travel freely to the U.S. One was a dual citizen. One was worth a few pesos, one worth US$millions. All had the money to visit me in the U.S. and have. We're still friends to this day & speak and see each other regularly here & in the U.S. One other thing... these guys don't frequent the clubs very often if at all.

So... can you have a relationship? Yes, but it's not easy. An ongoing friendship? Yes. But you have to be realistic about what circumstances will allow it. Choose wisely over time. Otherwise accept yourself for what you are... a sex tourist.

Reading back, this looks harsh. Really wasn't meant to be that way, but it's how I see the reality of it after 18 years visiting and several years living here.

Also, a suggestion... everyone choose 'other' when posting & assign yourself a name so we can tell who's writing what! Ciao

Gringo said...

Oh... if you know the words Boca Chica, sanky, motoconcho & buggarone but have to google Trujillo, Balaguer, Fernandez, quipes, mofongo, chivo, un chin, the Alvarez sisters, sancocho, semana santa, Juan Luis Guerra, huelgas, etc... well, you're not really ready for a relationship yet. You need to know a little about the culture here as well. :)

Anonymous said...

Gringo,
Mofongo, no...mangú. Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish. Mangú is the Dominican version.
Ciao...

Gringo said...

I won't argue with the origin but you can get mofongo here... mashed plantains, garlic, fried pork skins. Mangu is breakfast & mostly plantains, onions & usually fried salami. If you're lucky with fried cheese on the side. An acquired taste perhaps... but, yum.

http://www.dominicancooking.com/recipes/specialoccasions/mofongo.htm

Anonymous said...

I have been visiting the DR since 1968, probably before most of you could find it on a map and before some of you were even born. There were houses/brothels with bugarrones then, in addition to the bars/discos. The going rate was 5 to 10 pesos. And so it went in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and now it's 2006 and it's still going strong...the buggaron/tourist relationship, I mean. Only now, it's a bit more expensive. Should things change for the better? I think so. But, organizations, governments, etc. can only do so much. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
If the people, (in this case, the bugarrones) do not want to change their lifestyles, no one can force them to do so. I have seen enough to write a book on the topic: I had a friend enroll a particular bugarron in a school, pay his tuition, meals, etc, etc. only to have him drop out in a couple of months because school was "too hard." And so it goes. I firmly believe that how you end up in life is a matter of choice. And even in the most difficult of situations, there is almost always another, better, option.
From Puerto Rico,
Rafael
P.S. Gringo, it's mangú, not mofongo like the other poster wrote! You can get mofongo here too, but it is not a DR food. LOL

An Old Fart said...

Rafael put it best, you can lead a horse to water, but you can not make it drink. And with all the good intentions in the world, we "first worlders" out of the learned culture of, wanting to help the less fortunate, sit out to save our bit of the world in our own little way. Thinking that what we do to try to save "our bit of the world" is what "our bit of the world" wants....WHICH IS NOT AT ALL TRUE. Every person is a free thinking agent and these people like everyone, have pre-conceived notions of what it is out of life that they want. Their method of achieving that goal is not and should not be up to us to decide. Our ugly American attitude of "do it my way or the highway" continues to pleague us, even as we attempt to "help" the less fortunate. Granted, education allows us to see a clearer picture of situations, but life experience, I've found, is an excellent teacher as well. You touch a hot stove, I'm sure you will remember that "hot stove" the next time around. So what we see as "going in a mis-guided direction" or self-distruction or just doing things, not the way we would, could actually be a sort of "method to a madness" that has worked for generations and passed down as a means of survival amongst the poor classes who are the bugarrones. Now, I will say that while there are a few who make it out of the "hands on" end of the business, they, as one commentator said earlier, somehow remain in the business, moving on to different and higher levels of the business. Taxi con leche, those who have been lucky enough to get a car and do business as a taxi, but still hook on the side. Or become the papa pimp daddy and solicite and distribute the newcomers. Or, yes, and those who are able to move into an office job, but supplement that job with an "A" list of clients that one continues to maintain. The flaw is, those who advance to the higher levels, fail to educate the newcomers to how to best ply their trade. Today's bugarron is one who spits, urinates and throws trash on the floor, has no respect for property of others and looks at the profession, not as a job, but the fastest and easiest way to scam money out of their clients. So everyone is at fault and no one is at fault. It is the life of the business. Learn it, live with it or leave it.

Anonymous said...

Here is the un-educated dominican's oppinion (as Jerry from JDs said in a restaurant we all are). Same words but different subjects: 'you can lead a horse to water, but you can not make it drinka'. If after all these words (more than 50 postings) on the topic you consider than bugarroning and promoting bugarroning (and delinquency) from bars and hotels leaves a positive balance for gays life in Dominican Republic then keep up your standards, and be the horse at the edge of the water but not drinking. After all, it's all about you living "la vida loca" and making some bucks.

Thanks Anthony for allowing us to have this discussion on your house.

Peace.