I’ve walked the empty streets of la Zona during the night many times. Passing the tall Christmas tree and twinkling lights as I walk up and down Conde street; going into the baby blue doors of la Espiral and saying hi to my housemates or just passing by them on my way to el parque Duarte; wandering, looking for colmado Los Muchachos, that one bar that serves drinks in children’s brightly colored beach buckets, and if I’m with Elsi, a vendor selling chocolate bars out of a baby carriage.
I only wandered the streets during the day once before though. It was during my first week, the sun was scorching hot, and I was looking for a center that helps single mothers. I eventually found the center, although it turned out to be a church sponsored center that convinced women not to have abortions…
Anyway, last weekend I finally returned to la Zona during the day with Elsi. We walked from Gazcue all along the Malecon, passing unfortunate monuments of Columbus while enjoying an ice cream cone. Once at la Zona, we found ourselves at a festival! There were different stages set up, children dancing in patriotic outfits, female artists beautifying store-front gates along el Conde, and families and couples enjoying a lazy Sunday.
*Photography credits to my very talented roommate Elsi.
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I will be leaving Santo Domingo in less than a week, which means these pictures might preserve my last daylight outing to la Zona – this still doesn’t feel real to me. I’ve established such a life for myself here in the past weeks, that I’m experiencing the same feelings of disconnect that I felt right before I left Chicago.
In a way it’s very beautiful. I never imagined I would encounter this feeling of normalness… of home during my Watson year.