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.

@infowe / Twitter

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.

@eurweb / Twitter

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.

@caribbeannewsuk / Twitter

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.

@bdnews24 / Twitter

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.

@_Raleigh_NC / Twitter

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.

@nachotweetz / Twitter

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.

@brookdub / Twitter

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.

@baileyTremayne / Twitter

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.

Credit: @SenSchumer / Twitter

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

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You Can Visit Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Right Now With This Incredible 360º Tour

Culture

You Can Visit Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Right Now With This Incredible 360º Tour

omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Thanks to Coronavirus, you’re likely not hopping on a plane any time soon to go and visit one of the world’s top destinations – Mexico City. Most of us are still following stay-at-home orders and the rest of the world is pretty much off limits to us all right now. But thankfully, we do have access to the World Wide Web, right?

Sure, we could pass the time binge watching our favorite TV shows, but why not take a little time to go on a little museum tour of one of the most famous Mexicans of all time?

Thanks to some super cool tech – and the magic of Google – Frida Kahlo’s famed Casa Azul Museum is at your finger tips. You can pay a visit from your living room, bedroom, patio – where ever you wanna be.

Frida’s Casa Azul is one of the most popular attractions in Mexico.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Before the pandemic, la Ciudad de México had become one of the world’s top destinations. With it’s rich mix of foods and cultures and tons of attractions and museums (the city reportedly has the highest count of museums in the world!), it was at the top of tourist’s lists.

And at the top of the recommended sights to take in – the famous Casa Azul. Located a bit south of the central city in the beautiful colonia of Coyoacán, is the house where Frida Kahlo was born and spent much of her life.

People would often wait in line for several hours to pay a visit to this venerated museum and garden complex. In fact, it was rated by Salma Hayek as one of her favorite things to do in the city, in an interview with Vanity Fair. But now, Google is bringing the museum to you and it’s incredible. You can follow along with the following tour using this link.

With this virtual tour, you get the chance to pop into the artist’s famed studio.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Inside Frida’s studio, you can truly visualize her experience as an artist. The space is filled with giant windows letting in all sorts of natural light. There’s also a large collection of books and prints that likely provided her with inspiration for her pieces.

Visitors also get a glimpse of her workstation, filled with paints, brushes, canvases and other supplies.

You can visit her kitchen…

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Easily one of my favorite parts of the house, is the cocina – which is beautifully decorated in traditional Mexican style. It’s home to a large collection of pottery and woodworking which lends it a very cozy feeling.

Take a look at the thousands of art pieces that are located inside the museum.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Several rooms of the house and its hallways, are now dedicated to displaying thousands of Frida Kahlo’s works. In fact, Casa Azul is home to the largest collection of Kahlo pieces in the world – which makes sense since this was her actual home.

From photographs and writings, to famed paintings and sketches, a Frida Kahlo fan could easily spend hours walking through these galleries.

Along with many of her iconic fashion looks.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Perhaps one of the most popular exhibits at the museum, is the dress vault. This gallery is home to some of the artist’s most famous looks. And let’s face it: Frida Kahlo is a fashion icon in so many ways.

The museum often rotates the clothing that is on display so visitors are often treated to new looks.

And the museum is well-known for its gardens, which you also get the chance to visit.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Casa Azul is also well-known for it’s beautiful gardens. Often home to roaming peacocks, it’s a tranquil setting in the midst of the bustling city and likely one of the top draws for visitors.

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Anti-Mask Tourists Are Traveling To Puerto Rico And The Island’s Residents Have Had Enough

Things That Matter

Anti-Mask Tourists Are Traveling To Puerto Rico And The Island’s Residents Have Had Enough

Ricardo Arduengo / Getty Images

Despite the pandemic that began impacting travel as far back as February, tourists never stopped coming to Puerto Rico. The island’s government has never restricted travel to/from the island and that has come at the cost of local health care systems and the safety and health of local residents.

This means that delusional anti-maskers from the mainland have been able to visit the island, disregard local rules regarding social distancing and face coverings, and put locals at risk. Now, as the island grapples with an explosion of Covid-19 cases, many locals are demanding the island shut down to nonessential travel.

Protesters in Puerto Rico are calling for an end to irresponsible tourism from the mainland.

In Puerto Rico, protesters have been calling for San Juan’s International Airport to shut down all nonessential travel, as tourists continue to vacation on the island despite rising Covid-19 cases and are often seen not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

Ricardo Santos, who organized a protest and is a member of the Socialist Workers Movement, told Democracy Now: “We’re not backing down. We’re going to continue this caravan and this struggle, because this is a life-or-death situation, and this governor has not been addressing this issue. So, as we’ve done in the past, the people are going to take matters into their own hands.”

The move comes as many locals say that tourists come to the island with certain attitudes and disrespect local rules.

Whether it’s because they believe in silly conspiracy theories or complain that it’s ‘too hot’ to wear a mask, tourists without masks have arrived in droves to the island – where many locals see them as an extension of a long history of brutal colonialism. Many tourists to the island have little to no regard for the health or well-being of those who call the island home and they’re even less conscious of the fact that the island’s health care system is still in shambles since Hurricane Maria.

Although face masks are technically required in all public areas, few tourists seem to follow the guidelines. In fact, a fine of up to $5,000 can be slapped on anyone who isn’t wearing a covering on their mouth and nose. Not only are many tourists ignoring the rule, it’s often leading to violent confrontations.

A few weeks ago, a group of women visiting San Juan’s biggest mall allegedly retaliated against a Zara employee’s request that they wear masks by damaging at least $2,000 in merchandise.

Later in July, a man – a resident of the island but from the mainland – spat in the face of a grocery store worker who asked him to put on a mask.  In a video circulating online, the man said a security guard retaliated by hitting him with a golf club. The following day, a woman was reportedly physically struck after refusing to wear a mask in La Perla, the historic neighborhood that runs alongside Old San Juan, which has become a tourist destination since the 2017 video for Justin Bieber’s remix of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s runaway hit “Despacito” was filmed there.

Many local workers who serve the tourist economy said that visitors are irritated by the mandatory touchless temperature scan and hand sanitation policy. 

“They have attitudes when they get here,” one worker told the Daily Beast. “One said she was going to ‘die of retardation’ for taking her temperature. Another complained about the sanitizer: They said, ‘Ew, what is that?’” 

Tourism is big business for Puerto Rico – but many say now is not the time.

Credit: Jose Jimenez / Getty Images

Tourism in Puerto Rico is a $1.8 billion industry annually, and though the island never closed its borders, officials had announced a formal “reopening” date of July 15, when visitors were welcome to return. But thanks to rising cases of Covid-19, that ‘reopening’ date has since been pushed back a month to August 15.

To help facilitate the reopening, a new order will require all visitors show a negative Covid-19 test at the airport in order to enter the island, or be tested voluntarily at the airport by a National Guard team. The curfew, which was previously set to end on June 22, is still in place from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night. 

But for residents, none of this makes sense. Police have threatened Puerto Ricans with exorbitant fines and even arrest for being out past curfew. Alleyways that would usually be teeming with people dancing to live salsa were barren. Yet locals continue to see tourists step out the door of their Airbnb, hand in hand, no mask, to take in a sunset or grab something to eat. Locals feel like they’re on lockdown while visitors are on a worry free vacation.

Like many places across the U.S., Puerto Rico has been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Ricardo Arduengo / Getty Images

As of July 29, the island has seen more than 16,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 211 people have died of the virus. These numbers have been rising in recent weeks as

Puerto Rico was initially praised for being one of the first U.S. jurisdictions to put drastic measures in place, such as implementing an islandwide curfew and banning cruise ships, as well as closing schools and all nonessential businesses, to avoid overwhelming the island’s fragile health care system in March.

But a recent surge in COVID-19 cases has coincided with Puerto Rico’s efforts to reopen nonessential businesses and tourist attractions. Over the past week, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases jumped by more than 1,000, while the number of probable cases increased by almost 1,300.

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