kelley raye


atlanta lifestyle photographer | travel diary | santo domingo, dominican republic

Our visit to Santo Domingo was fabulous. Days on holiday are so much longer, we fit so much into each day, and somehow managed to watch the entire netflix series Making a Murderer. I dont know how. Anyway, we had fun, took photos of every stray dog (there are several), found ALL the walls, stood on a 500 year old fortress wall like it was just built yesterday (lo siento), and had lots of arroz con pollo (of course) and alfredo pasta (apparently its a heavy vacation spot for Italians). We rode the city bus which we were probably advised not to do but did anyway. We did take uber to the airport though. Santo Domingo is the first european settlement in the western hemisphere so Christopher Columbus is much celebrated here. There's a statue and everything.

Oh, the aesthetics. If you know me (as a photographer) you would understand why I almost fainted when we hit the streets. I am in love with old, historic looking anything and it was everywhere. In every color. A new beautiful wall or street every two steps. In Zona Colonial, everything is original architecture from 500 years ago. Even the cobblestone streets. Santo Domingo is literally my photography spirit animal.

Most folks believed us to be Dominican but just enough people decided to try to sell us something anyway. Many people asked me where I got my hair done. We spent days running around the city like we were on Amazing Race. Oh, and we met a friendly German man named Klaus which made me laugh because I literally watch American Dad every night before I go to sleep. I shot an engagement session with new friends Virginia and Emil while I was there. And we went to a huge concert. I was pulled on stage. I told Fallon before we left that that would happen. We found ourselves in China Town one day. We were invited to a wedding. Our Airbnb was the cutest apartment with the best terrace. We spent every sunset out there.  One included smoking a cigar because when in Santo Domingo its all cigars and Presidente beer (Corona in the states). We couldn't find a pig roast for Nochebuena. Merengue and Justin Bieber's "Sorry" could be heard a majority of the day.

I said 'no gracias' in DR so many times that I accidentally said it to my server at Sweet Auburn BBQ yesterday when she asked if I needed anything else. Guess I wasn't ready to turn it off.

Traveling and experiencing new ways of life, people, cultures, customs, food, walls even.. is my most favorite thing ever in life.

Kelley Raye