A Travellerspoint blog

Port au Prince - Jacmel

Heading down South

sunny 30 °C
View It's the Caribbean, but not as you know it - Haiti for Jacmel Carnival 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

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Oh dear. My head tells me I had too much rum last night. Plenty of orange juice to start the day methinks.

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Getting dressed this morning, David discovers he's packed an odd pair of socks. It's the third pair this trip!

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Despite covering myself in 50% DEET last night, it seems a have inadvertently been feeding the local wildlife. My knuckles are somewhat itchy and badly swollen, but hopefully it is nothing serious.

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The hotel grounds are beautiful with their large palms and trailing tree branches, but they do pose a little bit of a health hazard – one of those coconuts landing on your head could cause some serious damage! It is exciting to watch the lithe men shimmying up the trunk of the palms to chop off branches, collect the coconuts and generally trim the trees to a more manageable condition.

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We spend some time chatting with Marc, the hotel owner's son, hearing the story of how his father started the business in 1961 as a small, wooden boarding house; later buying up neighbouring properties in order to extend the hotel.

David impresses me with the Google Command on his phone. Oh, how I love technology - you can call me a nerd!

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After a relaxing morning catching up on some reading followed by a light lunch, we meet up with Geffrard and Jacqui for the drive to Jacmel. Our journey out of Port au Prince takes us through Carrefour, one of the two areas which are allegedly deemed 'unsafe' by The British Foreign Office.

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Once we get out of town, it's a pretty journey across the mountains to the south coast, and we make a few stops to admire the scenery.

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The road passes through many small communities along the way, mostly traditional market villages.

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Small, temporary houses built immediately after the 2010 earthquake line the road side.

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Bananas

Bananas are big business in Haiti these days, and last year (2015) they exported their first bananas for 60 years. It is hoped that by 2017, 450 containers full of bananas will be shipped each week to the European market. This is great news for the restoration of Haiti's economy.

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Once harvested, the fruit is packed in large baskets, with dry banana leaves used for padding and protection. Huge trucks come along and take the baskets to Port au Prince and the harbour for their onward journey to Europe.

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Public Transport

Passing some different local public transport on the road, I am grateful for our private van.

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Cyvadier Plage Hotel

We have to pass through the town of Jacmel to reach our home for the next couple of nights: a beach hotel placed beautifully on a cliff above the rugged coastline.

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Our room is at the far end of the grounds, right by the access to the beach below, with good views over the rest of the property from the balcony.

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After checking in to the room, we join Jacqui and some of her friends for a drink in the bar.

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A welcome coconut has some rum added to it 'for extra flavour'. Very nice it is too.

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Dawn later shows us how to remove and eat the flesh from the coconut.

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A bottle of champagne appears. I decline the offer of a glass, as my history with champers is not good.

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When Jacqui first introduces us as “real tourists” to the rest of her group, I am not sure what to make of it. Should I be insulted? Chatting to the other people, I begin to understand what she is referring to: they all live in Haiti, and work as NGOs or ambassadors for their country. In other words - they are classed as 'domestic tourists' or 'weekenders'.

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Ambassadors can be fun too...

This is quintessentially Caribbean and far removed from the hustle and bustle of Port au Prince: coconuts, rum, beautiful sunset, local band, fabulous lobsters. And an ambassador in a zebra mask. Isn't there always?

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Later Woodward serenades Jacqui at the table – very good he is too!

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It is certainly an evening to remember!

Posted by Grete Howard 11:47 Archived in Haiti Tagged caribbean haiti jacmel

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