Haiti Travel Stories, Page 6

Wall Street Journal versus Google.com

Murdoch the owner of the Wall Street Journal has accused Google.com of stealing content. I thought I would add my two cents on this issue.

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Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Ayiti - Thursday, December 3, 2009
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What happens is this:

1. There are content creators. Me, Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com.

2. There are sites that collect content, organize it, and give it to readers in easy to scan and read formats.

Number 2 business model says, we never pay writers.

Well, the Wall Street Journal does pay their writers, and needs to make money from Advertisers. If the content is free, then how do they make money? The aggregators have different advertisers than the Wall Street Journal; these companies scrape the Wall Street Journal site and serve up pages, the leave the Wall Street Journal advertisers behind, and now use their own.

My Money Doubled Because I Stopped RSS Feeds

I stopped my RSS feed about a year ago, I have doubled the amount of money I make from the Blog section of my website. Yahoo News, The New York Times, many organizations were using snippets of my content on their site. Yes, for sure I got a small traffic. It was essentially a bookmark, the RSS feed serves as a bookmark, easy to use. I do not make money from Bookmarks; I make money from regular readers, so I disconnected it.

Is Google.com stealing the Wall Street Journals content, or mine? Not really, but in a way, because they are smarter, they can manipulate content better and make money, almost denying the Wall Street Journal from enough money.

The bottom line:
If the number of subscribers went up because of being associate with Google.com, then the Wall Street Journal would not care.

Bottom line for Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com:
If the number of unique visitors went up because of RSS feeds, I would have it on my site. I removed it because the number of readers was dwindling. There was no incentive to sign up, I have corrected the problem.

Now, for every content producer, there are at least 20 people who want free content web sites. They cannot think of ideas on their own. They group up and try to convince the idea makers, the idea creators and the content writers we are dumb. Fun stuff, and each business owner must make money to thrive, I enjoy the game, I consider if fun. I truly do not care that people steal content, I know people, and it is their nature to steal. Well, this is not correct, if they can get something free, of great value, they will not pay. I truly get angry when readers say, I clicked on Ads, so you are making another person pay. I know you are well intended, but you are the one that owes, not the advertisers. This is why I put the Donate button back on the site, I want an option for the good people to pay, when they feel an obligation, I never want a person clicking on ads thinking they are helping me, they are not.

What a person has to ask, why does the most prestigious newspaper in the world, the Wall Street Journal want to this war with Google.com, because there is an essence of truth here.

1 in 10,000 webmasters knows how to make money on the Internet.
This is me; I am the 1 in 10,000. Murdoch is trying to help the 9,999 rather clueless webmasters on the planet, do not shoot your representative, he is your hope.

Google.com did nothing wrong, WSJ allowed it, and Google knows the internet better than WSJ. But who is more important, content makers, or content organizers?

Travel Writers do not Travel
What is even more humorous to me, only about 1 in 100 Travel Writers actually travel. They sit in their offices and mine ideas from my Blog. Rewrite, regurgitate it, and sell it for more money than I get, without the hassle of sitting in a concrete room with no electricity here in Haiti. Then because their presentation is better, they are consider the expert, truly a Charlie Foxtrot, the readers are the game in the end.

Wall Street Journal versus Google.com


Electrical Brownouts in Port-au-Prince Haiti

Contrary to popular beliefs, large cities have worst problems with electricity than smaller cities. I had steady and dependable electricity in Les Cayes, Haiti. In Port-au-Prince, Haiti I have electricity about fifty percent of the time.

Les Cayes, Haiti 95 percent of time.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti 50

Theft is the problem in my opinion, small cities collect their electrical bills, while in large cities theft is out of control. Therefore, when the money runs out, the lights go off, or they may call is brownout or load shedding.



What do I truly need? The fan is the problem, batteries are great for compuetrs, cell phones, etc. when electricity I have electricity 50 percent of the time.

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Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Ayiti - Wednesday, December 2, 2009
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There is no load shedding in Port-au-Prince as best I can determine, the electricity stops at random times. Although at peak times, say from 6:00 pm until 11:00 pm, it is off almost for sure. I often think this is a way to moderate the people, shut the electricity off when they are most likely to be drinking the local moonshine. (There is tons of sugar cane here.)

I remember in Ethiopia, the electricity was off most of the day, then from about 7:00 pm until 10:00 pm it came on. The bars opened, then closed when the lights went off, like the system was set up for the bar owners.

Nepal has load sharing, they confused their English, they really have load shedding, it is organized. They have a lot of dams with electricity, but sell it to India.

The electricity surges on, then drops, the electricity here in Haiti is low voltage, then too high. There are so many variables that cause this problem, but in the end, theft is the big one.

When I got to Iraq, I saw there were generators everywhere, Sadaam would punish people by shutting off the whole city. Iraq had air conditioning everywhere, and cold water machines, I felt so bad for them… hehehe
Did you know the soldiers had air conditioned tents?

Here is nugget of advice, do not book air conditioned rooms in countries like Haiti. AC sounds like a reasonable idea, but an air conditioned room, with no electricity is a great way to overheat. They will turn on the generator, but it will not supply juice to the AC. Because you are in an air conditioned room, you will not have a fan. Just when you thought you was clever, you are not.

Electrical Brownouts in Port-au-Prince Haiti


Cuba Questions from Hidalgo

Mr. Hidalgo has many questions about Cuba. We sat in a small restaurant near the Champs de Mar Park here in Port-au-Prince last night and made a list of questions.



Distance to Cuba, and idea of round-trip air tickets cost to Havana:
Guatemala 300-350, Cancun 500 Dollars, Haiti 600, Colombia 700, Dominican Republic about 500, Miami is not possible, Canada? I do not know. Jamaica, probably an annoying way to go. Mexico City?

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Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Ayiti - Wednesday, December 2, 2009
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Questions about Cuba

1. Does Mr. Hidalgo need a reservation or address of room in Cuba for immigration?

2. Can he use Dollars, or does he need Euros?

3. We read that GPS - Global Positioning Satellite devices are not allowed. I was going to lend him mine, but this could be a problem. What about Smartphones with GPS in them, this is just the same. It would really cost a person a lot of money to have a Smartphone like the Verizon Blackberry or HTC Touch Pro 2 confiscated.

4. What is not allowed to enter?

5. Will his bag be completely searched at immigrations?

6. Hoes does Mr. Hidalgo change money?

7. Do they monitor every move, is it like Russia where you must check in for every city and have a complete itinerary.

8. There is a lot of gossip; this nation is listed 48 on the HDI: Human Development Index that is issued from the United Nations. Haiti is 148, if this is so, why do people say?
“They do not have chewing gum.”
“They do not have toilet paper.”
“They are poor?”

There is some noisy gossip; I have to believe Cuba is misrepresented. How can a country be listed at 48 on the HDI, yet be portrayed as having many problems. Haiti has everything a person would want to buy; they just do not have money to purchase anything and everything.

I think there is “Travel Information Lag,” this happens on most countries. A person wrote about it 20 years ago, and there is still the same information being propagated in books, magazine and on the internet. Well, this is the reason Mr. Hidalgo is going to Cuba, to separate reality from gossip.

9. Copa Airlines sells tickets online, can an American purchase these tickets? It seems weird, and for sure, this would self-incriminate.

10. They say an American can go to Cuba; they just cannot spend money, is this true?

Cuba Questions


Seven Things we Observe Travel Tip

It is not the seven things we observed that causes the problems, it the 100 other things we did not that makes life dangerous.

I read a missive from Seth Godin the other day called,
“The Magic Rule of Seven.”

“Human being have no trouble keeping seven ideas in their head…”
Seth Godin

We can juggle seven ideas, without a problem. Where there are more, we have trouble. Seth is too politically correct, a feels good type of person. You know the type, the ones who want to say we are created equal.

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Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Ayiti - Tuesday, December 1, 2009
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I have been concerned about SEVEN for a few days. I keep dwelling on this number, if you can juggle seven things in your head, what happens when you need to juggle 8, 10, 20? Seth says the “Magic of Seven,” truly he is jesting, some people have problems with two, while I am sure the President of the USA needs to juggle about 100 ideas.

Why am I concerned, what happens is this, suppose I am a person that can juggle say 30, and because I can juggle 30, I am safe in Haiti. While the average person can only juggle seven, which means advice I give could endanger a number SEVEN juggler.

A Test is Needed

I meet many people with great intentions, the Non Governmental Organization type people, United Nations, Doctors, and Missionaries. 99 percent are walking around with an escort, a local who helps they survive in countries like Haiti or Africa. I have locals ask me daily, where is your helper? They assume I have somebody who helps me to travel in Haiti, I understand why; they seldom meet a person without this “Helper.”

I say, “I do not need a helper, they do.” However, I know they cannot be culturally immersed, because the culture is edited.

A Test is Needed

The more we live in a country, the less ideas we need to juggle to walk down the street, our subconscious manages the majority and we can stay the course.

I would like to test people; I want to know how many ideas a tested person can juggle in their head. I hope the US military has this type of test; it would seem negligent if they did not. Remember Jason Bourne, in the movie when he told the girl everything that was happening in the room. This is the skill set needed; this is the situational awareness that must be taught, to be a successful traveler.

Because I know some of you around me, only observed SEVEN things, I am a little worried about you.
Seven Things we Observe Travel Tip


Haiti Street Food Breakfast

I am slowly coming around; I now understand how my Haitian friends eat breakfast. Naomi has now made many two-egg sandwiches for me, they are delicious. Eating in a restaurant seems like a denial of the culture, not an affirmation.



I like street food, I seldom eat in restaurant, unless with friends.

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Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Ayiti - Monday, November 30, 2009
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Naomi and friend have been waving me over for days, I finally accepted.



She has many ingredients, I opted for the two eggs with small pieces of pepper to add flavor. She added some type of seasoning salts, all is well. This cost 7 Haitian Dollar, or 35 Gourde, or about 80 Cents USA.



The man to the right is a barber, he has small trailer a few meters down the road. This was my first sandwich, before I became a regular. My neighbors here enjoy a white man in the neighborhood. There is five to seven schools in the Rue Lamarre area, they all teach English and Spanish, few teach French. Therefore, it is a daily regime to have a student stop and practice English with me, or even Spanish, I am fluent in Spanish.

What is fun, a young man asked,
“You are alone, who washes your clothes?”
I said, as I raised my hand.
“I do.”

In a way, the sense or feel it strange, that a man would ever need to do this type of work. In a way, the need to have a person cook me a sandwich is out of sorts in Haiti.



This young woman was calling out from the Peanut Gallery as I ate my sandwich. I am not the tourist, I am the tourist attraction.

Haiti Street Food Breakfast


Andres Hidalgo Goes to Cuba

Andres Hidalgo will be a Travel Writer in Cuba for HoboTraveler.com, he will start writing in a couple of days, and I will go on a needed vacation.

I met Andres Hidalgo with an accent mark on the “e” in Colombia. He lived near a city called Sincelejo, close to the Darien Gap, between Colombia and Panama. Quite a long story, but we have been writing for years. He read that readers were trying to send me to Cuba; he knew this was against the law for Americans, so he volunteer to go and Blog in my stead.

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Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Ayiti - Monday, November 30, 2009
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He has arrived in Port-au-Prince, and will fly to Havana in the next few days. I needed to teach him our system, get him a password, and explain how to communicate.

He comes from a rather wealthy family in Colombia; I think he is the son of somebody important, I am not sure. Our friendship has always been about common interest, travel, and how the world works, he wanted to learn to write, so here is his chance.

I am happy to say, he volunteered to go free, because I am not even sure if the USA government will allow me to pay him. The government of the USA has rules, most of them revolve around the ability to financially help Cuba, the sanctions are to stop Cuba from having business with the USA.

Please welcome him, treat him with respect, he is a good person and will do his best to explain the present culture of Cuba before it opens up to the USA in a few years. We both expect the USA to drop its sanctions once Castro dies.

Andres Hidalgo Goes to Cuba


Haiti Energy Drink Marbir

I need help. I have been drinking a Haitian Energy drink for three days, I do not know what it is, and I cannot find information. Maybe the spelling is bad, I had a person write ti down for me, however, I am sure spelling is not the strong suit of Haitians.



I savor the taste, I try my best, I can say it is a sharp taste, in many ways like a tart cough syrup. This is not a sweet soft drink, the flavor rings in your mouth.

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Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Ayiti - Saturday, November 28, 2009
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This women stop at the Cyber Café daily at 7:30-7:45 am, she is predictable. For five Gourde or about eight cents US, I can purchase this drink. None of the players in this scene speak French worth a darn, they try a few word of this, and sign language is the dominant language. They told me with the universal sign for energy, a close fist, pulled towards themselves, this drink is for energy. Sometimes when they do this, they point at the love machine.

I have not been able to find it, or purchase it later in the day. I have found that between the hours of 6:00 am and 7:30 am in most countries, there are things happening in cultures, overlooked if you are not out and about.


Oloffson Hotel

In Port-au-Prince, Haiti is a Hotel, where Graham Green wrote a book called,
“The Comedians.” 1966.



Oloffson Hotel - Gingerbread Style

This was 43 years ago, to truly appreciate the feeling of this time; I would say a person needs to be 65-100 years old. All the rest of us younger people can only act as if we understand, ours is hearsay understanding. In 1966, I was 11 years old, the Vietnam war was in full gear, by the time I was 18 protesters had broke the will of the USA. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Younger were writing songs about Marrakesh, Morocco, and draft dodgers where in Canada trying to love the cold place. The peace sign were drawn on everything, I remember, but I do not remember, between the ages of 11 and 18 I was too self-absorbed. I never knew the world existed until about age 42 when I started to travel.

Bob Seger told me I was going to Kathmandu, but I did not know why, I went anyway.

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Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Ayiti - Saturday, November 28, 2009
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The Outside World
Colonization of Africa ended between 1955 and 1966; the developed world was giving their assets away, because their citizens did not have the will to lose human life to keep them. In 1966 former colonies where prosperous, these countries were given a nugget of gold, a chance to be somebody, however the road had been downhill for Colonized countries like Haiti. The Caribbean is an angry place, full of angry people, with many resorts tucked away. The all-inclusive types, saying, please do not leave the resort; you came for the beach and sun.

Do I know what I am talking about, 100 times better than most, but only one percent as good as a Graham Greene sleeping in the Oloffson Hotel in Port-au-Prince, Hotel in 1966. I envy Graham Green, the Beat Generation, the days when a man could travel from England to Kathmandu by land, without a machete in hand. The days when a traveler by hook or crook, made it to the far corners of the earth. When there was no itinerary, no guidebook, when there was nobody telling me how to understand a country, it was raw. When there was no television to tell people they should be angry.



An Age of Intellectuals.
Haiti was a place where Intellectual ran, where people searched to understand the outside world, to leave the inside world of their countries, living outside, so they could understand their own. There is always an intellectual around, they tend to get lost.

I am sitting in the Excutif Hotel, in a concrete room, I cannot live in Oloffson, because all the guidebooks tell me to go, an exploration of the past, I am an explorer of today. The Lonely Planet devoted a whole page to telling me about RAM, the house band in the Oloffson. The last thing I want is a house band in my wooden hotel. I came to immerse myself in the people of Haiti, to try to understand who they are, what their story is. I appreciate and read the guidebooks, but I do not obey, and recommend put it down as much as possible.



I would guess, Graham Green was up on the second or third floor of this Hotel, and did not have to worry about a RAM Band being right below. Maybe he could look out from this balcony and see Port-au-Prince in all its former colonized beauty.



I found this sign board saying “Graham Greene,” on the side of one building.



I am guessing, I am hoping, I do not know, but I do not believe Graham Greene stayed in this room; it is not even part of the house proper.



Here is a sign saying “Mick Jagger.” This one is on concrete room, much like the one I am living in today. It is easy to get lost; we can follow the paths of Graham Greene, Mick Jagger, or the well-worn path of the Lonely Planet, where life is not so lonely. I challenge people to move beyond, to see what is real, not what is the marketing plan.



Truly a wonderful Hotel, this is a great place to come and visit. I am not sure I would recommend staying in any wooden Hotel with a musical RAM band down below, with speakers four feet high. However, a great place to stop, eat, and look out over what used to be, but is long gone.



Map to the Oloffson Hotel, from the Champs de Mar, or my concrete room.

I want to say a special Thanks to Sir Robin, he has commented a few times on the Blog, wrote me through my contact form. I had the good fortune to feel a necessity to call him. We spoke for about 20-30 minutes; I understood very little, he understands, my understanding is hearsay.

The guidebook told me Movie Stars were basking in the sun, Robin told me,
“Haiti was for Intellectuals.”

Thanks Sir Robin, a clue for the clueless, a way to understand how to read between the lines.

Oloffson Hotel