Louis Emanuel and the Larimar Stones

For me, one of the best things with traveling are all the people I meet. Like yesterday, when I met Louis Manuel who sells jewelry on the corner outside my hotel. He sells the blue larimar stones, which can only be found in the Dominican Republic and since blue is my favorite color, I couldn’t resist browsing a bit when I passed by his stand the other day. I was low on cash and I hadn’t had a chance to withdraw money, and I told him so directly. But we started talking and he told me that he actually goes down in the caves underground to fetch the stones that he makes the jewelry with. I’m not staying long enough this time, but he told me that if I came back, I could go with him to Barahona and get the stones. I asked if it wasn’t dangerous, and he said that it was a little dangerous and that he had two friends who had died in the caves. But, he said, what is life if we don’t live a little dangerous sometimes? True! He told me he had worked with making these jewelers for more than 20 years and since he didn’t have any children himself, he gave some of the proceeds to an orphanage. We talked a bit more about the stones and how they are marked by other minerals, and he gave me a small stone. He asked me to write down my name on a paper and then he wrote it in metal thread with a cutter. I asked if I could pay a little since I did still have a couple of dollars in pesos, but he said it was a gift. Needless to say, I went back the day after and bought a set of larimar jewelry from him. Here is Louis Emanuel in the corner of Calle Conde and Calle Duarte in Santo Domingo:



Fifty Shades of Blue

Yesterday I took at boat tour to Saona Island, which is part of a national park a few hours away from Santo Domingo. To be honest, it wasn’t the best arranged tour I’ve been on, and it took three and half hours before we even got to the place where the boat picked us up (including a 20-minute stop at a low-quality but expensive souvenir shop with commission for our tour guide). But I forgot all of that as soon as I saw the water! The colors shifted from from turquoise to deep blue and green, and it was warm, calm, and soothing. I was completely hooked and am already planning for my next vacation in the Caribbean: a beach holiday with day tours to towns instead. Here is paradise overload: