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Monday, January 17, 2011

A Summary, and my thoughts on this article

Latin lessons for beginners; The heady Hispanic ‘flavour’ of three Caribbean destinations will set the feet tapping and the heart beating. by James Webb

James Webb, the writer of an article called, “Latin lessons for beginners; The heady Hispanic ‘flavour’ of three Caribbean destinations will set the feet tapping and the heart beating.” He was inspired by his vacations to the three top Hispanic Caribbean destinations: Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cancun Mexico. He takes us back 10 years go and describes his experiences to these three exotic destinations.

Webb begins with Puerto Rico 10 years ago as he lies on the beach of Vieques, and meditates over the beauty and tranquility of the beach. He describes Puerto Rico as “Cuba with good plumbing, decent food, equally great music (each island lays claim to the birth of salsa) and Bacardi instead of Havana rum.” I must disagree with his comment on food. Each of the three Spanish-speaking islands has amazing foods, and most dishes are quite similar, with their own island twist. As he lands in the capital of San Juan, his adventure begins. He ventures into Old San Juan, a colonial town with many restaurants and bars. Hiking and exploring the rural and more natural areas of Ponce is his preference, suggesting a drive through “La Ruta Panoramica” (the panoramic trail). The “Ruta” takes you through the mountains, plantations, and dense forest of Puerto Rico. This is definitely something I will do in the future.

Now for my country, Dominican Republic, Webb is at a bar in Punta Cana likely ‘sippin’ on ron (rum), while reading an article on how all Dominican Republic stands our compared to Cuba, and Puerto Rico, but they can’t figure out why. Is the 35 miles of beach? Is it the “unlimited indulgence” world-class hotels? Or is just the heart of the island, the people? As a Dominican my answer will be very biased, so I will keep it to myself. Webb, speaks about how Dominicans are very welcoming, virtually everyone he would meet would invite him to their home for drinks, food, and music. Yes, that definitely sounds like my people! He ventures through Dominican Republics, and describe on how music is everywhere. You can hear played from the cars, the plantations, boat, and peoples home. Even the classiest hotels will play music for you on request, and let you dance till you drop. Webb says, “the jury is out on whether the Barcelo or the Brugal (rum) is the best -- and a love of dance that makes the Cubans look Presbyterian. You might not be able to escape the music but you can escape the crowds.” James speaks highly of the “Dreams Punta Cana” resort and other highly acclaimed luxurious resorts. I must say; I want to go to every resort he mentioned!

This is where it gets very interesting, he know gets into Cancun, Mexico. I was expecting for James to write about Cuba; but I almost forgot that Cuba isn’t open for tourist. Although Cancun is not an island, and really isn’t part of the Caribbean culture, being that its is not so far from Cuban, and it is a peninsula, it’ll do. We now go from ‘sippin’ on rum to ‘downing’ tequila. “Yet the Yucatan peninsula makes an exotic alternative to the likes of Barbados or Antigua for those who want to do something more than lie on a beach with a rum punch in hand.” There is nothing wrong with lying on the beach with rum and punch! Cancun is known for partying, and those wild spring break vacations. Webb describes Cancun to be more modern, yet it still holds some of its natural culture, and agriculture value. Not much is mentioned about the locals, there is more mention of the lavish, and luxurious experiences Cancun offers.

Each destination has lavish, and unique experiences. For those that are wondering what Cuban has to offer. My mother has been there, she describes it as “going back in time” everything is old, and all of the food is home grown. The people are happy, and the beaches are rural, and exotic. I do plan to visit someday. Puerto Rico for most of us Hispanics is very “Americanized” but it still holds it’s culture and the heart of Puerto Rican’s beats strong, and still value’s the islands culture. Dominican Republic is independent, and has both modern and old world values. I have not been to my country since I was born, but beside the poverty, I hear the most amazing thing about my island. Cancun, Mexico is a whole other experience, different food and very different culture. I as intrigued, but at the same time disappointed in the article, it could have been a little livelier. I would have like to read more about the different types of dishes that each of these places are known for. Hispanic food is much more than just rice and beans.

P.S. I was very inspired by this article, I hope to someday write and document my travels and experiences. ^___^ It is something I have been dreaming about for a very long time!


Webb, J. (2011) Latin lessons for beginners; The heady Hispanic ‘flavour’ of three Caribbean destinations will set the feet tapping and the heart beating, Article retrieved from Ashford Univeristy Library, ProQuest


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