March 15, 2014

Los Patos, 08.01 in the morning

Breakfast and then we go. With no rush, Pedernales is at only 90 km (2-3 hours by gua-gua) from here.

Today it’s a bit cloudy; good, it will be cooler on the bus. There’s a storm over there, in the middle of the ocean.

If we are really taking a boat to go to Haiti probably we will catch the rain too. But I can’t believe it’s the only option we have. For this reason we want to go to Pedernales, to collect more information. The difficult part of traveling in this island is that the Lonely Planet is not very detailed nor updated and people don’t seem to know much either. Usually when you go to a country if there isn’t an information point for tourists the hotels managers or local people can inform you. Not here. We have to go by intuition. Because there is nothing sure.

Anyway, I’m going to miss this place. We are not really close to the beach, here at Giordano’s, but from the terrace where we have breakfast you can see palm trees and the ocean and there’s a nice breeze.

9.12am We are by the road, waiting for the gua-gua to Pedernales. We don’t know how long we’ll have to wait, there’s no timetable. While walking here, I thought about last night, when we were walking to the comedor for dinner and stopped to look at some beautiful flowers; a dog, living in the house, came out and run towards us. Luckily nearby there was a boy who took out his machete and creaked it on the pavement, scaring off the dog. A few meters away the boy met his friends and kept playing with his weapon, fluttering it around. People here often carry a machete, they use it a lot: to open a coconut, cut a tree or scare off dogs…

Towards the unknown, says Luca. Yes, trips like this are really an adventure. And here in particular, where there are few tourists and the guidebook is not really helpful.

10am We waited only for about half an hour. It took some time to put the backpacks in the luggage compartment: there was not enough space, so they left the door open, keeping it close with a rope. After about one kilometer we stopped to let a guy in with two bags full of straw brushes. So they took our backpacks down again, up the guy’s two bags, double the size of our backpacks, our backpacks over the bags, keep everything tight with a rope, down the door, anogher rope to keep the door down, the spare wheel on the roof, and here we go.

4.51pm Se llama cafeteria pero no hay cafĂ©. As there is no coffee we drink two juices here at the Malecon (seafront) in Pedernales. I am not sure I want to go to Haiti anymore. Because apparently to cross the border it is not that easy. We have two options: on Monday night there is one very busy boat that in 7 hours takes you to Marigot, where you have to take a tap-tap (the Haitian version of the gua-gua) to Jacmel. The second option is to take many tap-tap, with no idea how long it might take, because you have to go up and down mountains. I don’t know. There were some white people around the town, I should have asked them, maybe they were coming from Haiti or want to go there.

My jugo is actually a banana smoothie. Really good, and full of ice, that we should avoid. We broke all the rules anti-diarrhea: we had drinks with ice, ate uncooked vegetables, ate without washing our hands, licked our fingers…

We are in this little square by the sea, and two “cabanas” are competing on who has the louder music, to attract clients I suppose. The result is an annoying mix of music. Luca says that here people love to ride their bikes. It’s true, in Los Patos kids were all the time going forth and back on their motorbikes, and the same is here. It is true that many bike owners use it as a taxi, so they are always going around in case someone needs a ride.

There are some tables where you can play domino here at the Malecon. Last night it was dark when we walked back to the Hotelito; some elderly men were playing domino in the street, at the feeble light of a flashlight.

The gua-gua to come here was broken on the side where I was sitting. There was a broken joint or I don’t know what. At one point there was so much smoke that I told the driver; he gave me the cold shoulder. As a result the left side of my body is completely black.