Carnvial 2009 – Another Camera Stolen

>I headed to the street about 1:00 so I could get a good spot to take pictures and videos. I stuffed my camera in my pants like always (many people think it’s a gun so that’s a good thing). I headed toward the oblisk because there were police stationed every few yards so I figured I’d be safe there. When the carnival started I made sure I was in front of a policeman and started taking pictures and videos. I had some great shots and was really excited to share them all.

It started getting really crowded after a while. I hate being in big crowds where everyone is squishing in and it gets all hot and sweaty. I decided to leave my good spot and go a little closer to home before it got dark. I headed back to my neighborhood to the park where I thought it was going to be safe with my neighbors. Well, I was wrong.

I was holding tight to my camera a little above my head taking a video. Some of the neighbors were around and all was good. But out of nowhere a man jumped up and grabbed my camera! I couldn’t believe it! He tore the strap from my wrist (thank goodness it broke) and left me with a little brush burn. I didn’t think and went after the man down the middle of the street. The street was full of Carnival paraders. I ran down the middle of the street after the guy between all the people in costume. I’m getting old and I don’t run anymore but I ran. I was pretty impressed with myself and the running. But, of course, the guy was faster and crazier. I kept bumping into people and yelling sorry as I passed.

The guy stopped and I was getting really close but he turned and saw me gaining so he started off again. My neighbor girl was behind me running. She didn’t know why I was running but she came after me.

Finally I stopped. I ran from 27 de Marzo, past the statue of Monticino, almost to the next street before I stopped. Another camera gone. Four cameras in eight years! Wonder if that’s a record?

Brenda took me to talk to the police who were all standing in the park. There were about 15 of them all standing together. One would think that they would have been in the street watching for crime instead of being all huddled together. But then this is Dominican Republic and one can never quite understand things here. But I was talking to the police explaining what happened (one of the police did speak english) when a man came up from the street with a towel wrapped around his head. His wife and small child were with him. He had blood pouring from his head. It seems that someone hit him with a bottle while robbing him. So the police went off with him as his situation was a bit more of an emergency.

I went back to the original scene of the crime. By this time all the neighbors heard what happened and were all coming around to see if I was OK. I just went into the Colmado Arca and they gave me a beer. I was upset about the camera but more upset about losing all the great pictures I was going to share with all my web site visitors.

About this time, maybe about 6 or 7 PM a bunch of people were running an yelling coming up from the Malecon. There was a gunshot and people all about. The police came running. The owner of the Colmado shut the door and locked it with many of us neighbors inside. We all watched the happenings from inside. The people that wanted to buy stuff form the Colmado had to hand their money through the gate and we handed them their purchases.

About 10 minutes later another group of people were screaming and running again from the Malecon along the parade route. Again the police came running. I just stayed in the Colmado hiding. The thieves and tigres were out in full force by this time so I stayed inside.

Finally after a few hours the streets cleared out. It was the normal neighborhood people in the park again. All was quiet. I don’t know what happened to the man that was shot. Noone knows who shot him, the police or a person from the street. Noone knows if he lived or died after he was taken to the hospital.

One thing I know is that I will never go to the Carnival on the Malecon in Santo Domingo again, with or without a camera. It is getting way too dangerous to go to any crowed event here in the city. It’s a shame. I try to help this country by showing events and happenings here but it seems that this is impossible. I can’t afford to keep buying new cameras. Maybe next time I’ll have to hire a group of bodyguards to go with.

So again, there won’t be any new pictures for a while. Until I can save up enough money to buy a new camera. Sorry, but this is the life in the big city.

So here are the non-existent pictures:
Me wearing a Carnival mask. The guys covered in black oil. The kids watching carnival. The Indios. Some whip crackers. Drumming palos. Roba la Gallina. The paper people. And many more…. Too bad you can’t enjoy these pictures. Sorry again.

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