Haiti Travel Stories

Envious Locals in Haiti

Envious locals in the USA, Canada, Europe, Africa, etc, we live by this standard. In the prior post, a reader commented that the locals are envious and jealous. In addition, because they are jealous that we are rich, and they are poor, they feel it acceptable to cheat.

Click on OLDER or the “Haiti, a Taste of Africa,” then go to the bottom to read the comment.

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Mirebalais, Haiti --- Thursday, January 07, 2010
By Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com
Travel Gear
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100 percent correct
However, this is true of all people in all countries; envy, jealousy, and avarice are the characteristics that define us as Humans, and not animals.

I Want to Sleep with My Neighbors Wife
Gee whiz folks, 2010 years, and we finally read the rules.

(10) Prohibition of coveting the property, or wife of one's neighbor.

I am Adding the 11 Commandment

(11) Do not make others feel poor, or lesser than you.

This rule already exists, however, we are like children, and we just cannot get a grip on the simple rules of life. This one is covered, encapsulated, and inferred to in what we call the Golden Rule.

“That people should do to others as they would have others do to them.”
Wrap this with the phrase, “Lead us not into temptation.”
---- Do not tempt the locals…



Responsible Travel
This and the Green noise, is the buzzwords in the Travel Industry. Words used as marketing campaigns, allowing a Five Star Eco-Resort to prosper; it is all just cow manure, on a piece of bread.

Cultural Manners
I wrote a Travel Tip about 10 years ago about this, this is in the old days, before the Blog, it was sent my Newsletter.

This is good stuff, and in many ways explains why I am angry with Missionaries, Non Governmental Organizations, the United Nations and all the organizations that want to save the world. People are addicted to power, the ability to feel powerful, while another person feel weak is a drug.

Read: Cultural Manners Article


Hobo Makes Wrong Turn in Haiti

I took the wrong road leaving Port-au-Prince to go to Cap-Haitien. Normally, making decisions for me is absurdly easy; I just nomadically travel towards something fun or interesting

Seat Time
This is my term I just to judge a trip; I want to know how much “Seat Time” is required. I want to know how long I have to sit in the seat until we arrive. I made a wrong turn; I now have an extra 8-10 hour of “Seat Time.”

Planning Time
Very few travelers or tourist make this mistake, in fact, almost zero.

Study the Guidebook Time
I did not study the guidebook, I did not spend any time planning, and I just left, oops.

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Mirebalais, Haiti --- Wednesday, January 6, 2010
By Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com
Travel Gear
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Oops, I took the straightest route, the lines on the map looked the same size, and it appeared to me the road quality was the same. I goofed, the road going straight up must be horrible, and the one along the coast of Haiti is good. What appears to the longer route, is actually much shorter “Seat Time.”

Making Decisions
There are many options, and ways to correct this problem, normally this would be a non-issue. Seldom to I care if I make trip route mistakes, because I do not care about time, an extra 20 hours of seat times is not going to bust me up.



Time you Love the Country
I have a big problem; I have used up all my emotional “Time I love the Country.” Each country has a time limit, maybe you can say, I only have a couple of straw left, before the back of my nomadic camel is broken.

I am on my last nerve here in Haiti; I am have lost patience with this country. I need to leave before I learn to hate the place. I have used up all the “Tolerance Time.” If I invested another 10 hours of “Seat Time,” going to Cap-Haitien, I would learn to hate Haiti; I would have overstayed my “Saying Hello Time.”

Saying Hello Time
When a person comes to your door, he or she says,
“Hello Sir, how are you?”
“Fine, thank you and you?”
Blah Blah Blah, this is called an
“Eight Point Hello Time.”

Count them, these conversations end cordially after eight lines of dialog. Then if someone continues, it means they want something.

I have in my emotional bank, maybe about another 2-5 days of “Saying Hello Time” remaining for Haiti. Soon, I will want to ignore Haitian people, and start using my “Hiding in my Room Time.” (You ever notice how people spend incredibly amounts of time in the bar; this is their way of avoiding the country.)

The bottom line, I am going to leave Haiti, it is time to head for the Border. I am one hour away from the Border, and about 3-7 hours away from an acceptable city in Dominican Republic. I will not invest that much time in Haiti; I have given it all the time that is needed.

I must go to Dominican Republic; I truly have no choice, the “Prime Directive of Travel,” is to “Enjoy Myself.” If I continued into Northern Haiti, I would be violating the Prime Directive.

Hobo Makes Wrong Turn in Haiti


Finding a Travel Scout Travel Tip

A traveler finds people to go ahead and scout out a travel destination. They write back and give advice, is it a go, or no go. This is a person we trust and understand, we know their strengths, weaknesses, and how they view the world; we know how they are different.

Maybe we need to understand the Motto of the Boy Scouts:

“Be Prepared…
…so that he is never taken by surprise; he knows exactly what to do when anything unexpected happens.”
- Robert Baden-Powell (1857 - 1941) British soldier and founder of the Boy Scout movement

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Mirebalais, Haiti --- Wednesday, January 6, 2010
By Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com
Travel Gear
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My friend Chris is in Guatemala right now, Travis in the Philippines. Chris has scouted out Panajachel, and knows an apartment I can rent for 200 Dollars per month with High Speed Internet if I show up. Travis is always scouting around in countries, he knows of a good place to stay in Medellin, Colombia, and I am sure he will find a couple more places in the Philippines.



Travel Bloggers Make Good Scouts

I know maybe 20-30 Travel Bloggers personally, some are good, and most have stopped traveling. I will read along, try to understand the person. I am looking for a Scout, a person to give me the skinny; I want to know the ins and outs, before I spend 1000 dollars to visit the place. I want them to go ahead of me and Scout the place out.

You think I am a cheap Hobo. Are you willing to spend 2000 dollars to come to Haiti?

My Scouts
Wade from VagabondJourney.com is in the USA doing something, not clear to me, I think he needs money. Chris from TravelVice.com last I hear was in Oregon, but I am not positive. Robin from GadTramp.com was in Nepal, I think, she wanted to go to Yemen, she does not Blog a lot, so hard to follow here, but I can always write. I am trying to follow this person Gary Arndt with the site Everything-Everywhere.com, I encourage his site, he is on the right path, and I am not sure why he is in Wisconsin, when he is supposed to be traveling around the world. I have Pat in Germany, living in an apartment, JohnnyJet.com is always somewhere new, and I have friends or Scouts in many countries. Eric in USA, Ash in England, German in Colombia, Adella in Uganda, there are too many to count, 87 countries, I have a big network.

I know Travel Bloggers, they tend to forget to travel, retired people like Chris and Travis are often better Scouts, it is all about money, and the Scout needs to have the money to travel.

Finding Scouts with Google Alerts

Readers are Voting, maybe I go to Madagascar, Greenland, and for sure I am going to Dominican Republic, I need to find the skinny, I need to get a feel for the country. What I do it this, I go to Google Alerts,
http://www.google.com/alerts

I will make Google Alerts, and everyday Google sends of newly indexed pages, articles, news, more or less changes that happened on the internet.

I now have:

1. Haiti
2. Dominican Republic Cabarete
3. Madagascar Blog

I have more, but this is a good example, I am looking for a person, I do not want a site. I need a human, on the ground, who is reachable, personable, who put feeling into what they right. I want a writer who I can learn to know, understand.

I know many Travel Writers; I try to encourage them to stop showing just pictures to sell tours. I do not have much luck, they tend to talk in clichés, and paint beautiful pictures. I need more Scouts; I want more Travel Bloggers who TRAVEL.

I am always looking for people who write daily, who are traveling, and can stop writing cliché article long enough to show their human side.

Scouts are Humans, writing Articles is something writers do to make money.

There are many Travel Forums, Social Networks, in general, the problem is this, and we need to separate the Scouts in-country, from the armchair travelers. HoboTraveler.com and HoboHideOut.com will eventually evolve into communities as more people sign up.

Thanks, your Scout in Haiti, and soon Dominican Republic, where I must publish quickly before my computer battery dies, the electricity went off an hour or two ago… real Haiti in real time, feet on the ground.

The best Scout is retired with set money,the next is a Travel Blogger who is in-country. Travel Books are better than Internet writers, please follow the money and you will find your best Scouts.

Finding a Travel Scout Travel Tip


Haiti a Taste of Africa

There is something close to the earth, and stable about watching women wash clothes in the river. This is natural, the way life should feel, there is no second-guessing, this job needs done.

What is Africa like, do you want to know? Well, for 400-500 Dollars a person can buy a round-trip ticket to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, take an overpriced taxi north two hours to Mirebalais. You can be standing by this river having a small taste of Africa.



This girl smiles, she may slowly over the years become one of the plump ones. Today, just for today, she is all things good and happy.

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Mirebalais, Haiti --- Tuesday, January 5, 2010
By Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com
Travel Gear
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If you asked these women,
“How long does it take to wash the clothes?”
I do not believe they know, time almost stops when living this way, you walk to the river, and when your are done, you are done.



These women sit around in the water talking, I get angry, often frustrated, when one of them wants to tell me, “we suffer.” I just cannot wrap my mind around that idea. I sometimes will say,
“Who told you that, where did you learn this?”
The world does not have the right to tell happy people, they suffer, it just is not proper. Only and unhappy person would tell another person they suffer.



If you look closely at this photo, you will see that one woman is bending over, as if she was going to put her elbows on the ground. This is Africa; this is what makes a Black body different. If you go Asia, these women would be squatting on the stone, there is a difference, we are not all the same, and we are, who we are. Modern society washes away the family memories, our ancestors die, and we no longer can remember who we are. Maybe this is how I feel, walking down to the river, I somehow can remember my family.



The majority of cities are built close to rivers, lakes, and ponds, there must be a source of fresh water. Mirebalais is small enough; it remembers that water is needed for life to exist.



There are clothes drying on the stones.

My Grandparents have died; I wish I had asked them more questions, instead of being in such a hurry to go nowhere. Well, I think I finally found the word, why do go to Africa? It is because when I arrive at a small river like this in Africa, I know I am somewhere; I will be able to bend over and pick up a memory, put it in my pocket, and know I will never lose it.

I will always be able to tell my family, there was a time, when I went somewhere. When you escape, you will slowly open your eyes, the world will start to go slower, and you remember how to pick up memories along the road.

Haiti a Taste or Africa


Locals Talk About You Travel Tip

You are known by the friends you make in life. I am bewildered when my fellow tourist and travelers forget this while traveling abroad. In seconds, because of the friends you make, the locals know whether you are smart or stupid. You will be weighed and measured, and then in the worst-case scenario, they have decided, we can rob this person, let us do it tonight.



Three men in Cite Soleil, Haiti, I shook hands with one of them, which one and why?

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Mirebalais, Haiti --- Tuesday, January 5, 2010
By Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com
Travel Gear
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What are the people saying about you?
What is the gossip, I know they are talking I am positive. You are a stranger, you are a foreigner, they are curious, it is natural they would talk.

What story is told by walking around a village with a local?

1. I need help.
2. I need a translator.
3. I am lost.
4. I want help.
5. I want to talk with the locals.
6. I know how to choose friends.
7. Why I am in the village.
8. I have friends in the village.
9. I am following a person; I am not leading a person.
10. I cannot judge people, or I can judge people.
11. Whether I am smart or dumb.
12. I just arrived.
13. I have been in the village a long time and have friends.
14. I am alone.
15. I am married or single.
…. Every move I make, tells the story of me…

The opinion the people of the village have of your new friend is now transferred to you.

A traveler needs a strategy when walking and talking with locals. I choose friends carefully, I know that one wrong decision, and my wonderful trip in Haiti could turn into a disaster. When I get off the bus, I know I will make instant people decisions, which taxi driver is good, who can I trust, who is dangerous. I make incredibly strict and harsh judgments, then I live or die by them judgments, there is no second chance.

Many a traveler thinks he or she is an expert traveler. Yes, I suppose an expert travel knows a lot about travel gear, but in my opinion, an expert traveler knows a lot about people.

Yesterday, a rather tall and menacing person started following me down the road. I stepped to the side, allow him to pass, I then turned and started follow him, up close and personal.

I am trying to instruct you in situational awareness, posturing and the ability to make good snap judgments about people. I hope you do not need to be robbed, raped, or murdered to learn this is the priority, not your gear.

Welcome to Haiti.

Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com in Haiti, in my 10-dollar room.

In the photo above, I first shook hand with the man on the right, introduced myself. However, I then shook hands with the man in the middle, then lastly the man on the left.

Locals Talk About You Travel Tip


Photos of Mirebalais Haiti

These photos are a sample of what I see in normal day here in this small rural Haiti city called Mirebalais.



A girl taking a shower or bath.

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Mirebalais, Haiti --- Monday, January 4, 2010
By Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com
Travel Gear
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A Donkey being lead by an old lady.



Two Goats



A large view of the river that runs along the city of Mirebalais.



A large dugout canoe on the river.



There are many donkeys or horses on the other side of the river. Haiti has many hills, therefore the towns or cities are the valleys between the hills.

The boys on the river came up and gave me a lecture about taking the river photos. They said,
“You cannot take photos.”
I wanted to say,
“I did.”
Instead, I just walked away and ignore them; they are preoccupied with the idea that I am going to make 100 of dollars with a photo of them. I see this as greed, actually, they believe I should not take the photo, yet give them money. Haiti thinks at the third grade mentality, when they are happy, it is like children playing. When they get angry, it is the same as bullies in the playground. There is no reasonable way to keep children happy, you must somehow learn the child, adults in normal countries is reasonable. This childish behavior makes the country enjoyable, yet slowly makes me hate them. There is selfishness about children, they need this, they need that, and there is no justice.

One simple way of understanding a more primitive way of thinking is this; I purchased a small package of cookies. Two of the young boys walked up to talk to me at the same time. I held out two cookies in my right hand, seeing they were standing side by side, I expected both to reach out and grab their one cookie. The one boy tried to grab both. This is Haiti, this is the sense of justice that prevails, and it is hard to say they are bad, they are just self-centered, and the world revolves around their immediate wants.

Children are great when happy, lovable and playful, when a person become 25 years old, and they throw a temper tantrum, it can turn into a riot. This unpredictably nature of primitive cultures makes it fun, intriguing, unpredictable, and horrible at the same time. I have to adjust my personality between, adult, child, and parent at all times, constantly aware I could make a life-threatening mistake.

Women travelers have fewer problems in a male dominated culture, because they are not taken serious.

Truthfully, Haiti has plenty of money, food, shelter; I do not find many street people. I think I can remember four, while in Philippines I would see 100 in the same amount of time in country. I think this is more a country that has lost hope for the future, more or less screaming out, somebody come help, and as always, all people feel money is the answer.

I would not anticipate many changes here in the next 20 years.

Photos of Mirebalais Haiti


Readers Want Me to Compare Countries

If you read the comments from the older post, the prior one, titled “Should I compare Countries?” I would say, the readers have said,
“Yes, Andy we want you to compare countries.”

To say you cannot compare something is anti-intellectual, it is a Political Correct form of statement, it stops freedom of speech.

Daily Readers want Comparisons
I knew this, the daily readers want me to compare and contrast countries, and this is why they like to read this Travel Journal. I am not going to stop, but I do forfeit about 99 percent of the potential readers. I would make a lot more money if I did not compare or contract countries.

Why People do not Want Comparisons
9999 people out of a 1000 readers who find my site are expecting me to tell them great things about a country, they want to be encouraged to buy a tour. This is what they were searching for, this is not what they get, and this makes them angry. They wanted to be sold a tour, why would you write information that discourages me from buying my ticket, I have made up my mind, help reaffirm this decision.

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Port-au-Prince, Haiti --- Monday, January 4, 2010
By Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com
Travel Gear
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Instead
I will make generalizations that people hate, I will stereotype a whole culture, and I will say the complete opposite of what the world believes. I will tell you exactly what I believe, regardless of the reader’s feelings --- or hate mail I will receive from people who lives in that country. I could be thrown in prison in some countries, if they knew I was inside the country writing about it, freedom of speech is only a USA thing, and the other countries will burn me at the stake.

I want to be true to myself, I cannot understand why Travel Writers feel compelled to lie.

When readers become very angry at my honest opinion, I realize why the founding fathers make Freedom of Speech a right. The average person just does not seem to understand… I am searching for a better world, not just another way to make a fast buck.

Readers Want me to Compare Countries


Should I Compare Countries

A reader commented they do not enjoy me comparing countries. I have aggravated myself with this issue for many years, and I still do not have an acceptable solution.

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Port-au-Prince, Haiti --- Sunday, January 3, 2010
By Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com
Travel Gear
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I do understand, it is possible that 99 percent of readers do not want me to compare countries.

Three Types of Readers

1. DAILY
Read or at least monitor every day, regardless of country. Maybe they read the titles, and then make a choice rather to read the whole article, the same as newspaper.

2. MONITOR SITE
Bookmark the site, then check in to see what I am doing, peruse around the site, trying to find interesting articles. They are loyal readers, however for many reasons, do not read daily. I read many Travel Blogs in this way, I am a traveler, and I do not have an internet connection. It is impossible read Travel Blogs while I am traveling unless they send the whole text inside an email.

3. TOURIST RESEARCHING A COUNTRY
This is a one-country reader, who is doing research; they want to learn about the country they are thinking about visiting.

Think about this, which one of these three are you? I have analyzed this for years, and I have taken a path that leads to the least amount of daily readers. Why?

Do you want me to compare countries?

Should I Compare Countries