CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti– The following is a video of my walk out of Cap-Haitien in the north of Haiti along with a couple stray anecdotes of conversations that did not get published with the rest of the Haiti travelogue entries. I have been trying to publish this video since returning to the Dominican Republic from Haiti [...]
Crossing Border Haiti to Dominican Republic
HAITI- And then the bus exploded. I am not joking. 30 Haitians clogged the minibus’ door in a solid mass of black arms, legs. A dish of rice when flying, I saw a large butt squeezed in there somewhere, people were yelling, while hot steam and smoke was shooting out from the engine all over the inside of the bus.
I jumped out a window.
Travel to Labadie Haiti Village
LABADIE VILLAGE, Haiti- “I live in my own little world, but it’s okay, they know me here.”
I read this painted on an inside panel of a boat taxi as I rode into Labadie village on the north coast of Haiti. I had paid 60 cents to ride in a tap tap (the back of a pickup truck with 20 other people) from Cap-Haitien to Labadie beach and then 10 gourde, or 25 cents, for a boat to the village.
What is a Haitian Dollar
CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti- “Four dollar,” spoke the woman behind the counter of a restaurant where I attempted to make my first commercial interaction in Haiti.
“What!?! Four dollars for a bottle of water?” I figured that she must have meant four gourde, the Haitian standard of currency. Though this would have meant that the cost of the bottle of water would have been extremely low, around 10 cents. This did not seem right, but I handed over a five gourde coin anyway expecting change.
Haitians Speak English
HAITI- “Do you know Dorthy?” a Haitian high school student asked me as we sat together in the back of a crowded tap tap. He then added, “Dorthy from Michigan?” just to make sure I knew which one he was talking about.
I had to admit that I did not know Dorthy from Michigan.
We had been talking in English for the better part of 20 minutes as waited for the pickup truck to fill with passengers. The student had a high command of the English language, which is something that I found many Haitians possess.
Hotels in Haiti are Expensive
CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti- If you can afford 40 USD a night for a hotel room, then I invite you to come to Haiti. This is truly an great country for traveling, though the hotel costs are far beyond the purse strings of the average traveler.
There seems to be very little competition for hotels in Haiti, as there seems to be very few people traveling here. Many hotels have seemingly already gone out of business a decade ago, the few that remain are either for the luxury classes or are decrepit, ill kept love hotels.
Haiti is an In the Streets Culture
CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti- Haiti is an in the streets culture. An “in the streets” culture is one where the people play out a large portion of their days in the public sector, simply put: in the streets. Most of these people have homes to go to, but they seem to prefer just hanging out in chairs in front of shops, in their doorways, on street corners, and in parks — talking, and watching the world pass by. There are people everywhere in a Haitian city.
Haiti Streets are Cleaned
CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti- On Monday they cleaned the mud.
On my arrival in Cap Haitien, I found streets caked in mud, trenches that partitioned the main roads into pieces, openings in the road large enough to fall through, and garbage strewn everywhere. I heard a group of American volunteer girls rejoicing in the fact that they were on their way out to the Dominican Republic: “I just can’t take all the trash in the street,” one said while taking a drag on a cigarette.
Streets of Haiti are Dangerous
CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti- Haiti is a dangerous country for travel. Haiti is a dangerous country for travel as there is a very likely chance that you will fall through the streets and meet doom below. I mean this literally: there are holes, pits, and open manholes all over the streets and sidewalks. One errant step and you’re a goner — consider yourself lucky if you only break a leg.
UN Soldiers Haitians Stuck in Haiti
CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti- I walked into the Croissant d’Or bakery in Cap-Haitien, and immediately met three very large, armored bodies of UN soldiers. They are here as a part of a re-stabilization mission called MINUSTAH. I walked up to the soldiers — I had little choice, they took up the entire bakery — and asked them in English were they were from.