Bienvenue Port au Prince Haiti
Welcome to Port-au-Prince, Haiti the sign says, I agree, I was glad to leave Petit Goave, a very boring city. It would be hard to say Port-au-Prince is boring.
This photo was possible because I can pull a camera, and shoot, in seconds. I was riding by in a bus moving rather fast, I noticed the sign wrapped in chaos, and took the photo.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Ayiti - Monday, November 23, 2009
It took about 3 hours to go 40 miles. The old American School Bus was slow to leave Petit Goave, then a problem with the tire. I changed buses in Leogane and again it took a long time to leave. Once I arrived in the city, I needed to stand on the corner looking around all friendly like until someone helped me.
“Champs de Mars,” a reference point given by the Lonely Planet, nobody recognized the park.
I finally said,
“Rue Pavee and instant success, they stood around with me, making sure I got on the correct Tap Tap. Like I said,
“Welcome to Port-au-Prince.”
This is not a war zone, rather a tame city which has trouble putting up street signs.
I have been avoiding this type of vehicle, looked cramped to me, no such luck in Port-au-Prince. The good people of Haiti put me on one of these; I believe a different version of a Tap Tap. I made a video of the trip, I watch it, the music was so loud in the Tap Tap it somehow wiped out all the street noise.
On arrival to Rue Pavee, I went directly to a Travel Agent, and asked about a Planet Ticket, I bounced off the first agent. The prices of ticket were double the Internet prices. I took a pause, decided to purchase a plane ticket at the proper price, would take a couple of days living in Port-au-Prince. I need to wear-the-travel-agent-down. More or less, sit politely in the office a few times until she tells me the truth.
I look over at Mathew, a cling-on that attached to me as I walked into the Travel Agency. He spoke good English, something about living in the USA. I asked if he knew a Hotel, he said something like the Palace Hotel, which sounded expensive. I said, 500 Gourde, he thought about it. He know one for 600 and another for 500, so I said,
“I will give you 100 Gourde to walk me to the 500 Gourde Hotel.”
We agreed, I am now in a room for 600 Gourde, he was not correct on the price. However, what a great location, two blocks from the Travel Agencies, and three blocks away from the actual Palace. I think I am dead center in the middle of the action of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
600 Gourde is about 15 Dollars, I would say, 600-750 Gourde are easy prices to find in Haiti, I have gotten 500 twice, but with more arm-twisting than most traveler are up to.
The little guy Mathew said,
“Do you believe in Jesus?”
“That is why we found each other.”
His name is Mathew, and mine is Andrew, there is rhyme to the reason.
I believe in couple Travel points:
1. We always make it to our destination, few people fail, because let’s face it, we really do not have much choice, once we leave, we have to go somewhere.
2. The path always shows itself, if you do not try to control the situation. All we need to do is listen to the answers; to questions we did not ask.
Bienvenue a Port-au-Prince Haiti
Mathew went and got drunk with the 100 Gourde I gave him. We went down to a restaurant, I bought him a beer, they did not want to serve me Coca Cola: I had nothing.
I gave him another 100 to pay,he keeps the change.
Delighted that you at long last reached your starting point .Sorry you seem anxious to quit so quickly .
There is nothing wrong with School buses , they seem to find their way all over the third world usually covered in brightly painted designs . In Guatamalla they sit 3 on a seat designed for 2 tiny children . This was the only time I ever got my pocket picked by a large lady who 'fell' into my lap .fortunately she only got the faux one I always carry filled with usless cards and a "Good Luck " greeting. Any pick pockets in Hailti ? You are generally safe in India as no one will touch the unclean side of your pants . It took years for me to catch onto the fact that no trousers I had made in India had a left hand pocket .Looking fwd to your visit to the Cap , Best wishes Robin
He did take you to a 500 gourd Hotel ,it went up to 600 so the owner could give him his finders fee . He made 200 out of the deal , Bet you ! Robin