March 19, 2014

7.02am. We’ve been waiting for breakfast for half an hour, but the first “employee” arrived only 10 minutes ago. During the night we were the only guests I think. Last night we told the girl we needed to leave early. The same girl yesterday was here at 6am and today she overslept? We are not very lucky. She arrived and said she was sorry. I forgive her, Luca I don’t know.

They brought us two omelette with salad (Luca convinced me not to eat it) and a juice that I don’t understand what it is, but it’s too icy and not really good. A lot of bread, butter, two bananas, water, a jug full of coffee.

8.08am We are on the tap-tap. Quite comfortable for now. At least the seats are stuffed. We are 4 people on 3 seats, but we can’t really complain. 150 HTG (less than 3 euro) to Port-au-Prince, then we’ll have to take another tap-tap to Les Cayes. At the tap-tap stop there was a guy who spoke good French who suggested to go to Port-au-Prince, because in Carrefour, a town mentioned in the Lonely Planet, it’s difficult to find a tap-tap to Les Cayes, you’ve got to change many tap-tap on the way. Luca put a scarf on his nose because they are burning plastic somewhere. 8.30am I think the bus is full enough, what are we waiting for? Luca says that the fact that we have to go to Port-au-Prince is a sign, we should stop there, without going back south. He really doesn’t want to go to Ile-a-vache. There are UN trucks all around Jacmel.

9.52 We are in PAP (Port-au-Prince). It’s so chaotic! At the entrance of the town there’s a road with a market, stalls and huts, and on the street there’s a lot of water filled with rubbish, ruins, stones and dust. It doesn’t surprise there’s the colera here. An old man was shoveling shit from one of these water drainages, wearing boots luckily. From a tap-tap we got onto another one immediately (I heard so much talking about violence in PAP that I’m happy I don’t have to walk around here with my backpack). But it’s only 3 of us so far. If we have to wait for the bus to be full, it will take at least two hours and we will be too late in Cayes for the boat to the Cow Island.

After we left Jacmel with the tap-tap we went up a hill. There was a village with a market and donkeys parked on the side; they are very popular here, they are used by farmers to take around their produces. Girls have white, blue or pink ribbons on their hair, according to the color of their school uniform.

I don’t know if Luca will go back home with his shoes. Sooner or later someone will steal them from his feet. He went off the tap-tap to smoke and everyone was watching his feet. A cosmetics seller has been on the tap-tap for 10 minutes trying to sell a perfume sample to a Haitian sitting behind us, and condoms in front of us. At the end he left without selling anything. I wonder how much he wanted for that sample that we normally get for free.

port au prince
The view from the tap-tap while we were waiting to leave from PAP to Port Salut

Maybe we should have changed tap-tap in Carrefour like the guide said. Because we wasted one hour to come into town and we’ve been waiting for one hour already. It’s 11am and we have 4 hours to Les Cayes, which means we will miss the ferry.

6.10pm LES CAYES We are on a shared taxi waiting to go to Port Salut. At the end the tap-tap from PAP left at 2pm (4 hours after we got onto it) and we arrived in Les Cayes not long ago, too late for the Ile-a-Vache. I hope there’s a place to sleep at the Coconut Breeze in Port Salut, where we are going as a second choice. It’s my only thought at the moment. We need to get some cash. I hate to have no money. Les Cayes is big enough, there should be a bank, but you never know.

11pm What a day! Port Salut is not at 30 minutes from Les Cayes, like the LP says, but one hour. The voiture filled up at about 6.45pm, they had to fix the money situation (I think that the guy charged with collecting the money put too much into his pocket) and we left at about 7pm, when it was getting dark. At 8.30 we were in Port Salut, but nobody knew where the Coconut Breeze was. Our travel companions on the pick-up (taxi) truck tried to call family and friends to find out where it was, with no avail. They tried to call the hotel, but nothing. The chauffer started to get upset and he left us on the street as soon as a motorbike passed by. The guy on the bike took us to the Coconut; on the way we did wheelie because of the weight at the back and Luca fell off the bike (I was in the middle and was safe). The hotel was closed. I was starting to panic and I fell while getting off the bike (but didn’t get hurt). We were a bit discouraged and tired. This area luckily is full of hotels and guest-houses, so we found another place. Point Sable is the guest house where we are staying. The room is a bit expensive. We managed to lower the price to 65 dollars, because we are staying for 3 nights. But I was ready to pay the 100 dollars of the Dan’s Creek (a nice hotel by the ocean with a swimming pool), as long as I had a place to sleep.

At the Point Sable there was a party when we arrived. They were celebrating the owner’s father birthday. They offered us something to drink and to eat. It was nice after this long and tiring day. I’m starting to miss the comfort of the Dominican Republic.