I do proclaim myself king of bachata because I have to represent my genre. I have to always come out and put on the Superman cape. I'm pretty much representing my culture. I'm not going to change that. But I definitely don't want there to be a misconception where people are like, 'The only thing he likes to do is bachata.'
After his initial homecoming week, after he'd been taken to a bunch of sights by his cousins, after he'd gotten somewhat used to the scorching weather and the surprise of waking up to the roosters and being called Huascar by everybody (that was his Dominican name, something else he'd forgotten), after he refused to succumb to that whisper that all long-term immigrants carry inside themselves, the whisper that says You do not belong, after he'd gone to about fifty clubs and because he couldn't dance salsa, merengue, or bachata had sat and drunk Presidentes while Lola and his cousins burned holes in the floor, after he'd explained to people a hundred times that he'd been separated from his sister at birth, after he spent a couple of quiet mornings on his own, writing, after he'd given out all his taxi money to beggars and had to call his cousin Pedro Pablo to pick him up, after he'd watched shirtless shoeless seven-year-olds fighting each other for the scraps he'd left on his plate at an outdoor cafe, after his mother took them all to dinner in the Zona Colonial and the waiters kept looking at their party askance (Watch out, Mom, Lola said, they probably think you're Haitian - La unica haitiana aqui eres tu, mi amor, she retorted), after a skeletal vieja grabbed both his hands and begged him for a penny, after his sister had said, You think that's bad, you should see the bateys, after he'd spent a day in Bani (the camp where La Inca had been raised) and he'd taken a dump in a latrine and wiped his ass with a corn cob - now that's entertainment, he wrote in his journal - after he'd gotten somewhat used to the surreal whirligig that was life in La Capital - the guaguas, the cops, the mind-boggling poverty, the Dunkin' Donuts, the beggars, the Haitians selling roasted peanuts at the intersections, the mind-boggling poverty, the asshole tourists hogging up all the beaches, the Xica de Silva novelas where homegirl got naked every five seconds that Lola and his female cousins were cracked on, the afternoon walks on the Conde, the mind-boggling poverty, the snarl of streets and rusting zinc shacks that were the barrios populares, the masses of niggers he waded through every day who ran him over if he stood still, the skinny watchmen standing in front of stores with their brokedown shotguns, the music, the raunchy jokes heard on the streets, the mind-boggling poverty, being piledrived into the corner of a concho by the combined weight of four other customers, the music, the new tunnels driving down into the bauxite earth [... ]