March 21, 2014

8.48am We were woken up by two dogs fighting for a female, a party of roosters, and the owner of the guesthouse that knocked at our door offering to take us to Les Cayes. We kindly refused, we gave up the idea of visiting the Ile de Vache, we’ll spend some relaxing time here. While we have breakfast three dogs sleep around us. Until one minute ago one of the males was ready with his willy out, but the female didn’t want to have anything to do with him. He insisted, but at the end he gave up and went back to sleep too.

6.46pm Dinner at the beach. Only one dish, shared among the two of us, because it’s 500 HTG. It is true that today we only spent 25 HTG for lunch (some bbq skewers we had by the road), but we spent 200 for drinks! I like the Prestige, it doesn’t matter if it’s not chilly. They got it from a freezer, that even if it was still working, it wouldn’t be of much use because there is no power in town right now.

The dog is running around the female again, that replies with angry barks, but he doesn’t seem to want to give up this time.

Beside us there’s a couple. They are probably on holiday here. Port Salut is one of the main holiday resorts in Haiti. Not everyone is extremely poor in Haiti. There are some rich people (that stay in the luxurious hotel, not in the ugly guesthouses like us) that can spend 100 euro in a hotel, and other people that starve to death.

Today we spent the day here, we walked along the main road of Port Salut that follows the coast (along the beach it’s not possible to walk, there are rocks that are dangerous to climb and some stretches of beach are private, property of hotels or houses, where you can’t go) and tonight we had the last plunge into the Caribbean Sea.

I was thinking about the ride to get here. Traveling by bus or on these shared taxi you can get a glance of the local life, because it happens mainly outdoor, not behind the house walls. From the pick-up truck we saw those working the wood, the iron, those making charcoal, working in the vegetable garden, picking bananas. And they all meet at the market sonner or later.

Encounters along the road to Port Salut

When I’m back home I want to cook rice with chicken and fish with coconut milk.

In Port Au Prince live a tenth of the Haitian population and the city keeps growing. I don’t understand why. In the countryside maybe they are not rich, but at least they always find something to eat and they have a decent life. Probably many move to the capital hoping to make good money, but few of them accomplish it. Many end up in the shanty towns, sleeping in cardboard or asbestos huts, without windows and surrounded by rubbish, organic and not, and they spend their time begging in the street. On the other side the South of Haiti is beautiful. Vegetation is lush and the sun makes the green of the palmtrees even brighter. On the hills the tap tap or the camionette (the public pick-ups) stop to let people down or up; you don’t see any house, but between one tree and another there’s a hidden path that goes steeply up the hill.

Most of the people don’t own a car. If they have to go somewhere they can wait for hours for a bus or for the tap-tap to fill up so that it can leave. They can waste one day to do 200 km. It’s a lifestyle completely different from our own, but that I could easily embrace, I think. Of course if you have an urgency, it’s a problem. There are moto-taxi, but they can help you up to a certain point. Nobody has a book to read while they wait. They spend the time chatting or thinking and looking around. On the camionette if someone gets in when it’s already overcrowded, they complain because the last arrived pushes here and there to get some space, but one minute later they chat all together.

We shared the chicken bones (really good) with two dogs, and then I saw a puppy behind us. No! Poor creature. He didn’t eat.

8 pm We left the beach because I couldn’t stand the sight of the poor puppy that couldn’t eat because the big dogs taught him (not kindly, I’m sure) to stay away.

There’s music at the guesthouse tonight. We have to tell them we’re leaving early tomorrow morning.

It’s a bit of a shame that trips to Haiti are discouraged, because it is true that the big cities are scary, but as soon as you get out and go to the smaller villages, it’s really nice. The sea is not as nice as in Las Aguilas, probably because it’s very rough and the sands comes up, but it’s beautiful. In the North of Haiti there’s the Atlantic Ocean, it will probably be colder than the Caribbean here.

A hen came to rest on the sunbed and a puppy has taken place on his personal chaise lounge (I’ve seen only him on there so far).

In this country there’s the big problem of drinkable water and electricity. Power cuts are very common and some houses (but mainly guesthouses and hotels) have a generator. Last night for example we had to wait until 7.30 to have a shower, because that is when they turn the generator on: during the day with sunlight there is no need, but in our bathroom with no window it’s impossible to see. During the day there is no power, so it makes no sense trying to charge mobile phones (probably in more expensive hotels it’s different).

Tonight we also had lettuce and tomatoes, hopefully we won’t get sick.

The landlord told us it’s easier to find a camionette at 5-5.30am. So we’ll have to wake up early tomorrow. He’s going to leave the gate open for us. Ok, we can do it. In Tanzania I did it almost every day.

The female with the brown tits is sleeping between us. I like how these dogs look for our company. They don’t seem like stray dogs. They are more like everybody dogs. Here we’ve seen only four of them, but sometimes they are around other houses too. At the beach there were other dogs.

While we were coming here from PAP, a bit before Les Cayes, the tap tap stopped to let a guy get down with his broken fridge (that was on the roof of the tap tap). I wondered what he would do with a broken fridge, and here I understood it: everywhere you can see old fridges and freezers with no power, they are simply used to keep drinks and milk out of the eat. Maybe they are not chilled, but it’s better than nothing.

“Vous voulez pas boire une bière avec nous?” Would you like to drink a beer with us, the landlord asked. We answered that we were about to go to sleep. Ok. The boy brought us a beer and a sprite anyway, and they left us here drinking. Alone. Ok, I don’t get it, but thank you anyway.