Domingo the English Teacher

I got to San Pedro de Macoris the following day just before dusk. I made my way to the traffic circle where I previously picked up the hitch-hiker who stole my laptop and parked the car at the opposite side of the road so I have good visibility of the spot where she was standing to hitch a ride but so I am not visible from that spot. San Pedro is the city of more than 200,000 people and this traffic circle marks the beginning of the highway leading to the Dominican capital Santo Domingo so traffic was quite busy and many people passed around. I noticed a great number of young males on motorcycles swishing up and down the streets. Dominicans seem to come out of their houses this time of day, perhaps as it’s after work and there isn’t anything better to do so they meet up to kill time after dark.

I was sitting inside of my rental car while keeping my eyes locked on the spot where hitch-hikers stand to see if I can spot the one who stole my laptop. At the time there were two people standing there, but the thief was not one of them. As time went by, my presence was noticed by one of those young men who swish around on old motorcycles and curiosity got the best of him, so he pulled over by my door and stared inside. I rolled window down and asked him if he spoke any English. He didn’t but said he had a friend who did. Few minutes later he was back with a girl on her own motorcycle. She spoke a little bit of English so I started talking to her but her understanding was very basic so she wasn’t able to follow. Seeing that I had something important to say, she said she knew an English teacher and told me he was gonna be here in about 10 minutes. So I waited.

Sure enough, a little while later a group comes back on motorcycles with a new young man among them. He opens the door and I ask him whether he speaks English. He said in quite clean and unaffected English: “More or less!” This was my man. I asked him if he would like to take a sit on the passenger’s seat, claiming that I had something important to say and needed his help, but had a reward for a person who could help me. Young man took a seat and introduced himself as Domingo.

Domingo teaches English at a college in San Pedro. He has a very sincere voice and eyes and his English was better than just “more or less”. He was the best English speaking Dominican I have ever met and that meant there were no obstacles in how I needed to express myself which made everything easier. Domingo listened carefully and with interest and when I told him everything about what happened and how my laptop got stolen, including the plea that I would pay $1,000 to anyone who can get me my laptop back, he said we were going to go across the street right on the spot where I picked up the hitch-hiker who stole my laptop to talk to the guys who are there. Domingo said that these guys are there every day as this is their bread. They organize buses and gua-guas (cheap but not very comfortable form of transportation in the Dominican Republic) and help travelers with bags for which they get a few pesos to help them get by.

This was it. My intentions to trace my stolen laptop with my own devices was off to a good start. Finding someone who speaks good English in the Dominican Republic is a tough task. Doing it in a town like San Pedro de Macoris which is not a tourist trap because it doesn’t have anything interesting for foreigners is even more difficult yet thanks to Domingo the English Teacher who learned to speak English on his own out of his own interest this became a no issue. I had a person to help me communicate with others despite my non ability to speak Spanish. The first, very important step on my way to trace the whereabouts of my stolen laptops and/or the person who did it went down smoothly and made everything that went down from this point on so much easier. Domingo the English teacher was the best thing in whole of the Dominican Republic.

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