You and a woman from the Dominican Republic are from different worlds. You may think you understand her world. You don't.
Before you contact one of the ladies from our agency, it is a good idea to learn a little about the Dominican Republic. You do not have to take a class but there is no excuse with the internet not to find out something. It is also a good idea to learn some basic Spanish. If you write and send her an email remember to translate it to Spanish first.
Going into any type of relationship with someone can be a stressful thing. When that person is from another country, especially one where the language is different, the stress level can rise due to cultural and communication factors. There will be challenges to cope with. When it comes to a relationship of the personal kind where the two people may become life long partners, deal with those challenges in a fun way and look at it as a long term hands on educational experience. Learn as much about that person's culture before you meet them and it will make the transition to adjusting to someone and somewhere different than you much easier.
Researching the Dominican Republic before you go will help you:
1. Save money
You may learn that paying with American dollars can get you a discount with certain merchants. You may want to learn a few frequently used terms like 'How much for a room if I rent for five days?' Being able to say a few terms can make you seem knowledgable about the area and you will get a better price. There are hundreds of things you may learn that can save you much money. An example is the tax rates for bringing in goods. The normal rate is 40% of the value of the item. If you do not have a receipt for the item then they will go to their books which usually show the item being valued higher than you paid for it. One of the reasons this happens is they have a price list of electronics for when they first appear on the market. When a new product first comes out it is always more expensive than it is the next year but their price list will have the older, higher prices.
2. Avoid insulting people
You do not want to call a woman that is considered young but not very young a 'Senora' which is the title for a middle aged or older woman. This can seem like you consider her 'not young'. If she is obviously middle aged or older then use Senora. To be safe call her Senorita which is a title for a young woman.
3. Get respect
People love when a foreigner knows about their country. You will probably even find out about things they don't even know. These will get you major Brownie Points. This will also get you better prices as it will give you the look of not being totally unaware of how things go in the country.
4. Have many topics in which to talk about
Breaking the ice when you meet someone new is what its all about and what better way than to talk about your and her countries. The subjects are endless and will make the introduction to each other happen fast and easy. Knowing specific facts about her country will impress her immensely and give you an authoritative persona from the start.
5. Avoid looking foolish
Knowing your way around an area and not seeming like you are lost all the time will save you from getting unwanted attention and stares. You will know not to expect certain things to be available on a Sunday and not every area has 24 hour convenience stores.
6. Use the local resources
You will find that when you go to different areas that there are motorcycle taxis or 'motoconchos' everywhere. There are places they congregate at which are near where people will need their services like busy business districts, hotel, bus transfer stops, etc. Whatever town or barrio you are in they know more about what is going on in the area than anyone. They are the eyes of the street and they see everything. With all the down time they have they talk about all they know to each other and like normal human beings their favorite subject is people and what they are doing, where they are going and who they are with. I once rode one after living in the area for only 4 months and I did not even have to tell him where to go. He knew where I lived and took me there and even asked me what was wrong with my Jeep which was being repaired. I did not know this guy but he knew who I was, what car I drove and where I lived.
Motorcycle Taxi (Motoconcho) Stop
These guys can be a real help. They can get you what you need fast. Most are reliable as they are from the neighborhood but be careful anyway. Approach one that seems like he knows all the other guys well and don't do anything that would require you to trust him with more that five dollars until you know him better. You can literally go to any town and find a good connection fast and easy. Almost all of them are not greedy too. They are happy to get a simple tip for helping although you should take care of them if you use them often or take up a decent amount of their time.
As far as riding with them it is safe. If you see guys on motorcycles riding like a maniac this is not how they drive when they have a client. My experience is that when they have a passenger they are more careful but its up to you. If you ever take one and do not like the way he is driving then tell him to pull over and get off, its that simple. On another note if you ever ride one at night make sure his front and back lights are in working order. Many of them do not fix their lights right away (or ever it seems) and they are almost invisible at night to other drivers on the road. On top of that there are many areas where there are no streetlights to brighten the streets at night making the unlit motorcycle even more dangerous to ride at night. Tell him why you do not want to ride with him and flag down one with working lights.
If you are driving and ask one of these guys directions then it may be better to just tell him to go there and follow him. Asking directions can get you answers with street names that are not labeled. On top of that if your Spanish is just OK or non existent you will not be able to understand him. Unless your destination is very far then its worth paying him something to get there. Settle on a price before you start out.