Things That Matter

An American Was Taken Off A Plane Leaving The DR And Died In A Hospital In Santo Domingo

Khalid Adkins is the ninth American to die in the Dominican Republic this year alone, and the fourth in June. The deaths in the Dominican Republic are causing concern in the U.S. as the reasons for the deaths are still unknown. While Dominican officials say the number of deaths is not abnormal, there is a lot of concern about why people are dying while vacationing on the Caribbean island.

Adkins was vacationing in the Dominican Republic from Denver, Colorado with his daughter, Mia, when he reportedly fell ill.

His daughter, Mia, said it started with a painful bump on his leg.

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Mia returned home a few days earlier than her father. Just before her flight, they stopped by their hotel’s medical clinic, but USA Today reports that he decided to delay treatment unless the pain became worse.

He had already boarded the plane to return home, but was removed.

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Adkins’s sister-in-law, Marla Strick, told Fox 31 that he vomited on the plane’s bathroom and was dripping in sweat when the airline removed him from the plane.

He was sent to a hospital in Santo Domingo where his kidneys started to fail.

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His breathing started to deteriorate and soon after, his kidneys started failing. Strick noted that he had a kidney transplant years earlier but left for Santo Domingo in perfect health.

Nobody notified the family that Adkins died.

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Apparently, it was only after his daughter, Mia, frantically called the hospital Wednesday morning when hospital staff relayed the devastating information. He had died.

There is still no official cause of death.

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The family is waiting for authorities to perform an autopsy–a legal requirement when a foreigner dies on Dominican Republic soil. Just last week, Dominican tourism minister, Francisco Javier Garcia, held a press conference assuring the world that, “The Dominican Republic is a safe country.”

Tourism minister Francisco Javier Garcia said the number of deaths this year is lower than years previous.

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So far, nine American tourists have died in the Dominican Republic this year. According to Garcia, in 2011 and 2015, there had already been 15 tourist deaths by this time of year. He didn’t confirm whether this is American or worldwide deaths.

With the string of deaths, Adkins’s family had already started raising money to medivac him back to the U.S. before his flight.

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Adkins’s family started a GoFundMe page asking for help to get him out of the country. At first, the description looked like this:

“We are trying anything to get him home! When we try to talk to him he is just screaming in pain and saying help him, please! It is the most devastating thing ever!! They said we can medivac him home but it is $20,000 we are lost!! It’s a terrible nightmare!! Anything helps thank you so much!! Please keep praying!!”

Folks are calling on Colorado Senator Cory Gardner to send his body home.

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So far, the GoFundMe has raised over $23,000 by 220 people in 2 days. Wednesday evening, the page was updated to include this:

“I am absolutely detested to make this update but we have lost Khalid!!! We found out this morning that he passed away last night!! I am at a loss for words we have no explanation of what happened all they will say is he get sick!! We need to get his body home anything helps, please!! We really want to know what happened!”

People on social media are sharing their own theories on the string of deaths in the Dominican Republic.

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The reality is that the circumstances around most of the deaths are concerning. One man immediately collapsed after drinking from the hotel mini bar. Another couple was found dead in their hotel rooms after drinking from the mini bar.

The FBI has opened an internal investigation to give American families some answers.

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Many families have opened up about not trusting Dominican authorities because their family members were in good health when they departed for their vacation. We hope the FBI can offer some closure soon.

The deaths are prompting American politicians to call for transparency and answers about the unexpected deaths on the island.

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New York Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agency to open an investigation into the deaths. Since multiple deaths have been linked back to the drinks guests are having at the mini bars in their hotel rooms.

Widespread coverage of the deaths has seen a severe impact on trips booked and canceled for the Dominican Republic.

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Total bookings for trips to the island fell by 74 percent in July and August when compared to the same time last year, according to a new study. There was also a 51 percent increase in bookings being canceled following the string of deaths. Other Caribbean islands have seen an increase in tourism at the same time.

READ: Dominicans Are Taking To Social Media To Make Sure That People Stop Trying To Cancel The Dominican Republic

Lisa Frank And Hotels.com Created An Apartment That Looks Like The Inside Of Your 3rd Grade Backpack

Culture

Lisa Frank And Hotels.com Created An Apartment That Looks Like The Inside Of Your 3rd Grade Backpack

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Calling all ’90s kids. Was there ever a better feeling in the world than getting a new shimmery, colorful Lisa Frank binder? We all know that one person who had the whole kit; pencils, erasers, notebooks, stickers. Maybe that person was you or maybe they were someone you were always just a little jealous of, whether you admit it or not. It was a rainbow-colored explosion in every elementary and middle school in the ’90s. Yet, Lisa Frank stationery wants to make the experience immersive. You now have a chance to stay in an apartment decorated in the signature rainbow-colored and slightly psychedelic style of the ’90s brand.

The Lisa Frank apartment, a collaboration between Lisa Frank and Hotels.com, screams nostalgia.

Credit: Hotels.com

Lisa Frank teamed up with Hotels.com to bring your ’90s backpack to life. Hospitality company Barsala, which specializes in delivering the best value for price to their customers. A lucky few fans will be transported to the wonderful world of fluffy rainbows, unicorns, golden retrievers, and technicolor dolphins. The Lisa Frank-themed penthouse is in the Los Angeles Fashion District in downtown. But if you want to stay there, you better hurry. The room is only available for a couple of weeks this month only.

“We wanted to design a room that celebrates all things ’90s, and nothing screams childhood nostalgia more than these iconic designs,” Adam Jay, president of Hotels.com told Curbed LA.

The bed has Lisa Frank sheets and duvet and there are pillows with the trademark colorful kitties and puppies of the brand.

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The bedroom features a hot-pink four-poster bed with a light-up canopy outfitted with Lisa Frank’s signature chromatic bedding and rainbow-hued curtains. There’s a wall-sized mural featuring some of Lisa Frank’s most iconic designs like the rainbows coming out of fluffy clouds, the bear dressed like an Elton John-styled magician, and all of the animals and characters we remember.

The bathroom is an underwater technicolor oasis with all of the Lisa Frank nautical designs we all recognize.

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The bathroom walls are decorated with Lisa Frank’s underwater scenes that graced out school folders for years. Heart-shaped bubbles, rainbow colored tropical fish, and the famous pink and blue dolphins cover the bathroom walls. It is everything you ever wanted your parents to do for your bedroom and bathroom growing up.

Of course, Lisa Frank’s chromatic animal print collection is on full display in the kitchen. 

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You’ll find a true rainbow color spectrum in this kitchen from bright pink to pale blue and all the colors in between. Lisa Frank’s iconic animal prints come to life on the cupboards. Yellow zebra print, a red leopard print that fades to orange. The best part? The kitchen comes fully stocked with the most iconic vibrant-colored candy from your childhood —like Gushers, Pop-Tarts, Pixy Stix, and Planters Cheez Balls.

Get in touch with your inner pop artist with all the stationery and Lisa Frank goodies you can take home.

Credit: Hotels.com

If all the rainbows and colors are making you inspired, next to the lounge area, there’s an office space complete with all the cutesy rainbow Lisa Frank stationery you could ever want. The desk comes supplied with pencils, post-its, notepads and stickers. If ever we wanted to smuggle something out of a hotel room, this is it. 

Guests even get limited edition robes, slippers, and sleep-masks.

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With your booking, you get to take all of the goodies you like. The candy, the stationery, the Lisa Frank-embroidered robes, and slippers, all yours for the rate of $199 a night.

Yes, Lisa Frank is a real person, but the art was a collaborative effort.

Credit: LisaFrank / Instagram

The Lisa Frank brand first rose to prominence in the 1980s and ’90s as purveyors of hyper-bright, animal-centric school supplies, including Trapper Keepers, pencil bags, backpacks, stickers, and stationery. Lisa Frank is a real person and started the company while she was still in college. However, many artists collaborated to design the illustrations. 

“The artwork was a collaborative effort, but it all began with me putting it on paper as a marker rendering,” Rondi Kutz, who was Lisa Frank Inc.’s Senior Designer and Product Development Leader told HelloGiggles. “The concepts came from Lisa, James (her husband), or me, so I can say that some of the characters were my idea and original design. But by the time it went on to an illustrator to redraw it, adding detail, then to a computer artist who rendered it on the computer (which entailed hundreds of hours of work), it had many artists’ stamps on it.” Kutz went on to work at the company until 2002.

Other notable themed properties available to rent (not on Hotels.com) include Bella Swan’s house from “Twilight,” a “Taco Bell inn” pop-up and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Stays at the Lisa Frank Apartment are available only from October 11 through 27. The cost per night is $199 and the room can only be booked through Hotels.com.

READ: This Mexican Hotel Will Give You Unlimited Tequila And Let You Sleep Inside A Tequila Barrel

There Is A 9-Day Tour You Can Take Of Mexico To Celebrate Día De Los Muertos

Culture

There Is A 9-Day Tour You Can Take Of Mexico To Celebrate Día De Los Muertos

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We’re beyond thrilled that our favorite holiday is right around the corner, and we’re not talking about Halloween, but Día de los Muertos. We’re starting to plan our altars and decorate the house with papel picado. Aside from decorating and watching “Coco” for the billionth time, we wish there was more we could do to commemorate this Mexican tradition. Now there is, but before you get excited about the possibility of honoring the dead in a very new way, check out the details first and you may be too scared (or too broke) to participate.

A travel company is offering a 9-day trip to celebrate Día de los Muertos in Mexico.

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Flashback, a “Boutique group adventures for solo travelers in their 30s and 40s,” just launched a vacation package that has various stops throughout Mexico and is specially themed to honor Día de los Muertos.

The package offers, “a unique take on ancient traditions, the Día de los Muertos (as it’s called in Spanish) sees Mexicans gather to pay respects to the deceased. But there’s nothing somber about this occasion. What follows is a vibrant chaos of color, calaveras, and marigolds; beautifully-decorated altars and intricately-painted faces; music, dancing and a celebration of life. With only one departure running a year, this is your chance to experience Mexico on a truly special occasion, alongside all the classic cultural experiences.”

The trip entails a stop in Mexico City and partaking in La Catrina parade.

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Thousands of people gather in Mexico City dressed in the best Día de los Muertos costumes including many who go as La Catrina. On Day 2, the group (you and your new travel buddies) will go to the Zocalo Square in Mexico City to view the many ofrendas (altars). 

“Your guide will talk you through the traditions surrounding this sacred practice, with the chance to taste pan de muerto – a sweet bread recipe made especially for this occasion – and traditional Mexican chocolate,” Flashback states. “You’ll have the option to channel La Catrina and have your face painted in the traditional calavera style.”

On Day 3, the tour will include a boat ride to la Isla de las Muñecas, the Island of the Dolls. 

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Hold up. Now, we do love Día de los Muertos, but la Isla de las Muñecas is scary AF. “Shrouded in local folklore, the island is widely believed to be haunted by the ghost of a drowned girl. True to its name, you’ll find a plethora of creepy dolls hanging from the trees of this deserted island, some without heads or limbs. Your guide will talk you through the sad backstory of the island, before taking you back to the city center for an afternoon at leisure.” We’re not sure how much leisure we’ll be feeling after this spooky boat ride. 

The rest of the trip includes stops in Puebla, Oaxaca, hiking the Sierra Norte mountains and swimming in la Hierve el Agua. 

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The tour includes visiting la  Calle de los Dulces (the Street of Sweets) in Oaxaca, “where you’ll find rows of stores selling traditional Mexican treats. Dinner tonight will be enjoyed at a traditional restaurant, with dishes served in Poblano pottery,” and also experience how Oaxacans celebrate this historic holiday. One of the coolest parts of the Oxacacan stop is that the tour includes a visit to San Miguel Pantheon cemetery. 

This whole trip will cost you $3309, and that does not include airfare.

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That hefty price tag includes accommodation, equipment gear, a local guide, transportation, food that is on the tour, and airport pickup. There’s also limited space for 14 travelers, which does give way to an intimate experience. 

Is this something that sounds interesting to you? If so, you should probably book ASAP because we’re sure people (with money to burn) will want to explore an authentic experience to Día de los Muertos in Mexico. The trip begins on Oct. 26 and ends on Nov. 3. 

If you can’t afford this trip, we have a better suggestion. Book a cheap flight to Mexico City, and stay an inexpensive AirBnB. You can also take very reasonable bus rides to Oaxaca and Puebla because honestly, it shouldn’t be that pricey to visit Mexico. But, as we said, if you have money to burn and want to take in Day of the Dead in an Instagramable way with other likeminded travels, then this trip is definitely for you. Either way, enjoy Día de los Muertos!

Read: Mattel Is Releasing A Day Of The Dead Barbie Doll And You Better Believe Latinas Are Divided About It As Heck