I've just learned from the post over at Vivir Latino that D.R. is the second happiest place on earth!

Seriously?! I must agree that the blackouts do not make me happy when I'm in D.R. Nor do the mosquitoes that eat me alive no matter what. Or the humidity that makes my hair stand on end. Or the fact that my tub of water must be warmed by the sunlight before I can bathe myself.

On a more serious note, I think it's an interesting thing to think about. My family is really quite dysfunctional. Most Dominican families I know are. And not just in a "families have their quirks" kind of way. But in a "yo, that shit is fucked up" kind of way.

But I guess when I ponder it some more, they really do put on a happy face no matter what. Even when they are depressed and really should be miserable. Even when they are being controlled by somebody else. Even when they are completely and utterly powerless (literally and figuratively). For better or worse, the Dominicans I know in the U.S. over the age of 35, and the Dominicans I know of any age still living in D.R. have an uncanny ability to just keep on smiling and keep it moving.

I'm not quite sure if this is something to be proud of -- though most certainly are. I mean, then you don't deal with the real issues, right? Is that just my experience? I can't tell you the number of Dominicans I know who have some sort of undiagnosed psychological illness. Major depression, PTSD, compulsive behaviors, OCD, etc. None of that gets treated. None of that even gets acknowledged. Some people try to pray it away, I suppose.

So what's the point of all this outward happiness if so many of us are miserable?

Whatevs, I guess we should all just take this at face value and keep on vacationing down there. The customer service really is phenomenal (assuming that influences the "happiness" meter) because Dominicans have an unmatched desire to please people. And heaven knows the folks down there could use the money from the tourism. Oh, and, don't worry, you won't have to deal with the blackouts or lack of water heating if you go down there. You'll likely stay in a nice resort and your interaction with the locals will probably be limited to leaving the beach for a couple of hours to go to a club.

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