A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about petionville

Cormier Plage - Cap-Haïtien - Port au Prince

Back to the Ole Smoke

sunny 34 °C
View It's the Caribbean, but not as you know it - Haiti for Jacmel Carnival 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Day eight of our tour of Haiti with Undiscovered Destinations.

Darkness still hangs over the Caribbean as we go for breakfast this morning, later replaced by an aspiring sunrise which never really amounts to anything.

large_05A9ACA4C36B9BF733BBE787629884CA.jpg

large_Sunrise_5.jpg

In the distant twilight we spot the Anthem of the Seas – The Royal Caribbean's cruise ship - heading for Labadee so that its passengers can spend the day on the beach.

large_Anthem_of_the_Seas_1.jpg

In the time it takes the ship to make its way across our horizon, twilight has almost been pushed aside by daylight, showing the ship in all its glory. I reluctantly admit that it does look impressive, at least from this distance.

large_Anthem_of_the_Seas_3.jpg

The sun is still low as we are driven to the airport for our return journey to the capital.

large_Cap_Haitien_66.jpg

Arriving at the airport, my heart sinks when I see the long queue of people - complete with huge amounts of luggage - waiting to check in; and when I realise that even the passengers are being weighed ready for the flight, the aforementioned heart plunges further into my stomach. I am therefore immensely relieved when Serge walks past the queue to another check in desk - the poor people heading for the humiliation of having their weight recorded are travelling to one of the outlying islands, not Port au Prince. Phew!

large_Sunrise_Airways_22.jpg

large_Sunrise_Airways_23.jpg

large_Sunrise_Airways_24.jpg

Pimp my Truck

In Port au Prince Geffrard awaits us, now like an old friend, navigating his way through the morning traffic; all of which is infinitely more colourful and enriched than our min-van.

large_Taptap_5.jpg

large_Tap_Tap.jpg

Literally meaning 'quick quick', these buses – known as tap-taps, follow fixed routes, but not a timetable – they leave whenever they are full. That is full according to Haitian standards, not European, with passengers often hanging on the back or even sitting on the roof! There are no fixed bus-stops, the passengers knock the roof when they want to alight.

large_Taptap_6.jpg

They are mostly pick-up trucks which have been lovingly home welded and garishly decorated to the point where they resemble art galleries on wheels.

large_Bus_21.jpg

Often painted with religious names or slogans, portraits of famous people, and intricate, hand-cut wooden window covers, the ubiquitous tap-taps are unique to Haiti.

large_Bus_23.jpg

large_Bus_24.jpg

Musée Canne à Sucre

Although it is not far from Port au Prince airport, by the time we reach the museum I am feeling decidedly weary. The sun is shining relentlessly, and it's already very hot - I always suffers from the effects of dehydration quite quickly - and severely - and I suspect I have not taken in enough liquids this morning.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_14.jpg

All I want to do is sit down, in the shade somewhere, with a cool drink. Instead we are introduced to the guide who will show us around the museum.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_11.jpg

The first room displays a brief chronicle of Haiti's history, from the Taino Indians through to Victorian times.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_6.jpg
Taino artefacts

I feel listless and disinterested, which isn't at all like me. Normally I love museums, and soak up every word the guides say, but this morning I find myself wandering around the displays aimlessly, not really taking any notice of the explanations offered.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_9.jpg

The museum has the appearance of a haphazard collection of random items, situated in someone's living room.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_10.jpg

Slavery
The second room focuses on slavery, revolution and black history in Haiti. If there is such a human trait as having too much empathy, then I suffer from this condition. Looking at the impassioned illustrations displayed, my mind immediately wants to try and imagine how I would feel if I was in that situation. Damn emotions... STOP IT! If I was indifferent to the exhibits earlier, I now find myself getting quite distraught at the thought of man's inhumanity to man.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_15.jpg

Seeing Haiti today, it is hard to believe that it was once the wealthiest overseas colony in the French empire! However, economic success came at a cost - Haiti's riches could only be exploited by importing up to 40,000 slaves a year. For nearly a decade in the late 18th century, Haiti accounted for more than one-third of the entire Atlantic slave trade.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_17.jpg
Map showing where the slaves came from

Conditions for these men and women were atrocious; the average life expectancy for a slave once they arrived on Haiti was 7 years. Essentially, the owners worked their slaves to death and then just bought more slaves. Those who tried to run away were severely punished and by 1789, there were 500,000 slaves in Haiti.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_16.jpg
Cut-away model of slave ship shows the conditions the slaves were transported across the Atlantic under. Goods at the bottom, people on the middle deck.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_19.jpg
Some of the gruesome ways the slave masters kept their 'workers' in check. It doesn't even bear thinking about how cruelly these people were treated. I find it impossible to imagine how someone would have the mentality it would take to dish out that sort of punishment to another human being, and the fact that it was not just isolated incidents, it was considered the norm.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_18.jpg
Once they arrived in Haiti, slaves were divided into different categories: domestic help, overseers, agricultural workers and those involved in the sugar cane industry.

Revolution
Inspired by the French Revolution, the revolution in Haiti (1791-1804) is the only successful slave revolt in modern times, and makes Haiti the only country where slave freedom was taken by force. A bedraggled group of slaves organised themselves, held a vodou ceremony calling for their liberty and went out with a guerilla war to defeat Europe’s most powerful army.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_20.jpg

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_22.jpg

Plantations were taken by force, or by using more subtle methods, such as poisoning their masters.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_21.jpg

In 1804, Haiti went on to become the first independent nation in Latin America; it is the second oldest republic in the western hemisphere (after the US); and the oldest black republic in the world. The three main players in the fight for Haiti's liberty were Jean Jaques Dessalines, Henri Christophe and Alexandre Pétion.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_26.jpg

Set in the grounds of the ruined old sugar plantation Habitation Chauteaublond, the museum courtyard features a collection of antiquated material relating to the sugar cane industry.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_13.jpg

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_40.jpg

17th century water mill, brought over from England, was used to extract the juice from the sugar cane.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_30.jpg

The guide turns the water on for us to show the wheel in operation. As we are the only people in the museum, it makes sense not to have the mill running continuously.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_31.jpg

.

As well as hydro-power, animals were used to operate this traction wheel.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_34.jpg

Vats for boiling the sugar cane to make molasses for export to Europe where it would be fermented to make rum.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_35.jpg

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_36.jpg

Belonging to the Haitian American Sugar Company, S.A. (HASCO), this – the first train in Haiti – was used for transporting sugar cane from the fields to the processing plants.

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_41.jpg

Relais de Chateaublond Restaurant
Although the gorgeous on-site restaurant is famous for its selection of flavoured rums (such as passion fruit, anise and various herbs), we stick to Diet Coke with our lunch.

large_Le_Relais_..estaurant_4.jpg

large_Mus_e_Canne___Sucre_27.jpg

large_Le_Relais_..estaurant_2.jpg

Croix des Bouquets

In the suburb of Noailles is the commune of Croix des Bouquets, famed for its metalwork artisans. The flamboyant movement of recycling metal into art was started some 60 years ago and today there are over 1,000 artisans working in Croix des Bouquetes, hammering away to create intricate masks and other wall hangings from discarded oil drums, car parts and even kitchen utensils.

large_Jaques_Eug.._Bouquets_5.jpg

large_Jaques_Eug.._Bouquets_2.jpg

large_Jaques_Eug..Bouquets_10.jpg

We visit the workshop of Jacques Eugene, a renowned artist who was born here in Croix des Bouquetes and now employs several other locals in his studio.

large_Jaques_Eug.._Bouquets_9.jpg

large_Jaques_Eug..Bouquets_15.jpg

Like most of the artists, Jacques takes his inspiration from vodou, creating extraordinary wall hangings which are as bizarre (to us) as they are curious.

large_Jaques_Eug.._Bouquets_3.jpg

large_Jaques_Eug.._Bouquets_4.jpg

Jacques explains the process from the raw material to the finished product: the oil barrel is cut open, burnt and flattened, then a pattern is traced on the surface. The rest is done with a hammer and chisel, metal cutters and artistic skill.

large_Jaques_Eug..Bouquets_11.jpg

large_Jaques_Eug..Bouquets_12.jpg

This handsome mask now hangs proudly in my living room along with the two masks we wore for Jacmel carnival and the one I bought at Milot (well, I had to have something to do while David and Kyle were visiting the Citadelle – that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)

large_Jaques_Eug.._Bouquets_7.jpg

large_C2468209ED45089DCDABC9FA4F2D0458.jpg

In addition to the intriguing masks, one of the most popular designs for steel drum art is the Tree of Life, a symbolic image with a cultural significance to the people of Haiti. Representing immortality, new life, blessings and fertility, the branches of the tree reach into the sky, while the roots burrow deep into the earth; uniting heaven, earth and the underworld. Having seen several different variations on walls in our hotel rooms as well as restaurants, we are keen to pick one out to bring home.

large_Tree_of_Life.jpg

David also adds a lizard to his collection.

large_Lizard_fro..etes__Haiti.jpg

Making our way back to Hotel Le Plaza (again), we are stuck in a traffic jam (again). The cars are completely stationary, and we soon become aware that several cars in front of us make a turn. Serge goes off to investigate what the problem is, and comes back to explain that there was an accident between a car and a motorbike, and all the bystanders have taken the side of the motorcyclist. They then set about beating the car driver, who very wisely retreated to the safety of his vehicle. That didn't stop the mob apparently, and now they are pelting his car with stones. Justice Haitian style!

large_Neighbourhood_2.jpg

We also decide to get out of here before this escalates. That means driving through a 'less-than-salubrious' neighbourhood, and we are advised to close the windows and put the cameras away. So what do I do? Take photos of course...

large_Neighbourhood_1.jpg

With so many cars having turned around to avoid the melee and are now travelling the opposite direction, the traffic is still terribly slow moving, so it's a great relief to finally arrive at the hotel. This being our third visit to Le Plaza in the last week, it's like coming home.

large_Le_Plaza_H.._Prince_101.jpg

large_Le_Plaza_H..ming_Pool_1.jpg

Feeling awfully jaded and quite unwell by now, I am rather grateful we don't have any plans for the rest of the afternoon; and after re-packing for tomorrow's journey home, we take a siesta. I notice I have the beginnings of a cold sore on my lip, something that causes me some concern after last time I had one, which developed a secondary infection, resulting a several courses of antibiotics.

large_C575C2440F29862AD7CC907942478525.jpg

When Geffrard turns up to pick us up later, he brings me a gift from Serge: spicy peanut butter! What a wonderful surprise.

This evening we have arranged to meet up with Jacqui (the local agent) and Paul (the Bradt Guidebook writer we met in Jacmel) for dinner. Jacqui has also invited Dawn (she was at the carnival with us too), who is bringing a friend; so it is quite a happy little band who turn up at La Plantation Restaurant in Pétionville.

The cocktails are good, the food is great and the conversation is even better.

large_La_Plantation_Restaurant.jpg

large_Dinner_at_La_Plantation.jpg

It's a delightful way to end this tour – we have found Haiti to exceed our expectations in every way. This small nation has so much more to offer than the usual Caribbean attractions of sunshine, beaches and sunset cocktails – although it has its fair share of those too! With extremely welcoming people and an intriguing culture, I am already planning my return visit to delve deeper into its vodou customs and celebrations.

Posted by Grete Howard 05:37 Archived in Haiti Tagged beaches art planes beach history travel vacation hotel museum caribbean artisans photography cocktails revolution slavery pilot metalwork artists aerial_photography slaves spicy haiti undiscovered_destinations canon_eos_5d_iii voyages-lumiere port-au-prince port_au_prince baron_samedi paul_clammer bradt vodou cap-haïtien haitien_revolution haitien_food haitien_art labadee cormier cap_hatien petionville croix_des_bouquets jacques_eugene sugar_cane haitian_revolution peanut_butter Comments (1)

Jalousie, Bouteliers, Furcy and Pétionville

Head for the hills

semi-overcast 32 °C
View It's the Caribbean, but not as you know it - Haiti for Jacmel Carnival 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_Head_for_the_Hills.jpg

I have to say the cleaning staff is certainly efficient here, Housekeeping knock on the door at 07:55 this morning, wanting to make the room up! Normally we are up and out by that time, but this holiday has some nice, leisurely starts. In fact, we have quite a lot of free time on this trip – is this a sign that we are getting old?

Not only are they efficient here at Le Plaza, they are extremely friendly too. The girl who 'checks us in' at breakfast fusses over my hair; and Jerry, the waiter, won't let us carry and thing - not even the plate or glass - from the buffet.

I try a vegetable tortilla and some sautéed ham for breakfast this morning, rather than the usual omelette. It makes a nice change.

large_Breakfast_..Saut_ed_Ham.jpg

Jalousie – Beauty v/ Poverty

Today we head for the hills, with the first stop being a look-out point over Jalousie, one of Haiti's slum areas built into the side of Morne L’Hôpital.

Inspired by famous Haitian painter Prefete Duffaut, who died in 2012, the houses have been painted in rainbow colours as part of a government scheme called “Jalousie en couleurs” (Jalousie in Colours).
The scheme involved rebuilding earthquake-damaged houses, installing running water, and introducing rent-free accommodation (initially at least), in order to attract people to move here from displacement camps downtown. Being on such a steep slope has its disadvantages though, with many of the homes built on the ravines that serve as canals for rainwater. Due to the lack of vegetation to hold it back, during the rainy season water and mud have been known to carry away people, animals and even entire houses.

large_Jalousie_1A.jpg

large_Jalousie_6.jpg

Poverty

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and the third poorest country in the world outside Africa (the top spots go to Afghanistan and Nepal). Decades of neglect and a lack of investment in water and sanitation are still manifested in the country’s malnutrition and child mortality rates, which are the highest in the region. Some 80% of the population live below the poverty line while the country is in an advanced state of industrial collapse, with a GDP per capita of just $2 a day.

large_Poverty_1.jpg

Pride

What has struck us here in Haiti, however, is the pride of the people. No-one looks poor. Everyone takes great care of their appearance, their clothes are always clean, the children are immaculate in their school uniforms. If I take one single word away with me from our time here is Haiti, it has to be PRIDE.

A new building springing up this side of the ravine - I guess the view we have today will soon be obscured by a multi-storey apartment block.

large_I_am__Se_Boss__3.jpg
Love the writing on the side of his helmet: Le Boss!

The road is narrow and winding, with lots of traffic. We get stuck behind a large truck which spews out putrid, black smoke as we travel up and up and up.

Bouteliers

We leave the smoking truck behind and turn off the main road to take a detour to Bouteliers, where the aptly named restaurant Observatoire offers amazing views.

large_Observatoi.._Bouteliers.jpg

Below us lies Port au Prince and its suburbs spread out.

large_Port_au_Pr..er_Panorama.jpg

On closer inspection, we can see the different aspects of Haiti's capital city, from its leafy suburbs...

large_Port_au_Pr..outiliers_9.jpg

… to its tightly packed poorer quarters...

large_Port_au_Pr..utiliers_12.jpg

… the town's enormous cemetery...

large_Port_au_Pr..outiliers_4.jpg

… and the main town centre.

large_Port_au_Pr..utiliers_15.jpg

It's not until I see it all laid out below me like this that I realise just how central our hotel is. There it is, right in the middle of all the main sights of downtown Port au Prince.

large_Port_au_Pr..tiliers_15A.jpg

Chaîne de la Selle

As we climb higher into the mountainous interior of Haiti, low clouds obscure the top of the mountain ranges.

large_Cha_ne_de_..ain_Range_2.jpg

Ayiti (the original name of Haiti) means mountainous land in Taino language, the ethnic group who lived in Haiti for 700 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. In fact, Haiti is the most mountainous country in the Caribbean with its peaks plunging steeply down to the thin strips of coastal plain.

large_View_from_Furcy_3.jpg

We stop a couple of places to admire the scenery, looking out over the valleys, terraced fields and clusters of buildings that dot the countryside. Here they grow vegetables which are sold in the street markets and at the big supermarkets in town. It is nice to know that the small squares we see are owned by the farmers, not by some rich landowner leasing it to workers at an astronomical price.

large_Cha_ne_de_..in_Range_14.jpg

At Fermanthe, we stop to buy some post cards, a fridge magnet and use the facilities. The choice of post cards – the first ones we've seen in Haiti – is very limited indeed. Serge – who is also a keen photographer – is thinking about making his own. I hope he does, as I am sure he would be able to offer a much better selection than the ones available at the Mountain Maid Baptist Mission here.

Kenscoff

This is where a lot of the produce we saw growing on the hillsides ends up – the main market for the whole mountain region.

large_Kenscoff_2.jpg

large_Kenscoff_3.jpg

Furcy

At 6,236 feet (Serge has an altimeter on his smart watch!), the air here is cool and clean – quite the contrast to Port au Prince at sea level.

large_View_from_Furcy_7.jpg

large_View_from_Furcy_13.jpg

The site is absolutely spectacular, sitting on a ridge overlooking valleys and mountains, and there is an almost serene Alpine charm to the place.

large_View_from_Furcy_1.jpg

large_View_from_Furcy_14.jpg

The spectacular track on the ridge of the mountain range takes you across to Jacmel – it is accessible by 4WD only though. Shame. It looks like a fun drive.

large_View_from_Furcy_6.jpg

large_View_from_Furcy_11.jpg

This, surely, is where the Haitan proverb Dèyè mon gen mon ('Beyond the mountain there are mountains again') was coined.

large_View_from_Furcy_12.jpg


Pétionville

Making our way back down to Port au Prince, we make a stop in Pétionville.
Named after the first president of the Republique of Haiti, Alexandre Pétion, this is the upmarket tourist area of Port au Prince and is known for its palatial mansions and numerous art galleries. I found the description of Pétionville in Wikipedia patronising, condescending and highly insulting, suggesting that the suburb has “an appearance of western normality”. What the **** is that, and why would I travel to Haiti to experience it when I can instead immerse myself in the rich and eclectic culture that the years of mixed heritage has created ?

large_Soap_Box_4.jpg

Anyway, climbing back down from my soap box...

Pétionville has a country club and Haiti's only golf club. Wow! (insert sarcasm font here).

Lunch

We mentioned to Serge yesterday that we are keen to try some local food rather than international stuff and that we like spices; so he takes us to La Coquille Restaurant for lunch.

large_La_Coquille_Restaurant_1.jpg

large_La_Coquille_Restaurant_5.jpg

With tightly packed tables inside and out, the buffet restaurant is popular with locals.

large_La_Coquille_Restaurant_2.jpg

One of the drinks Jacqui suggested we try, was soursop juice – a fruit native to Haiti and other parts of the Caribbean. This is a new one to us, and it tastes a little like a creamy banana milkshake.

large_Soursop_Juice_with_fruit.jpg

Again it comes served au naturel, with extra sugar to add if desired.

large_Soursop_Juice_2.jpg

And judging by the look on David's face, I would say it is probably required.

large_Soursop_Juice_3.jpg

Round one of the buffet consists of:

large_La_Coquille_Restaurant_3.jpg

diri djon djon – a traditional Hatian Creole dish where rice is cooked with water in which dried black mushrooms have been soaked/cooked. The mushrooms themselves are not served with it, just the rice which is stained brownish-black by the mushroom water.

rice served with beans in a sauce poured over it

lalo legume – jute leaves cooked until slightly sticky

cabbage and carrots

For round two I pick up a few things that were not available on my first visit to the buffet – some very fatty but tasty fried beef, green beans, beetroot and pasta in a creamy sauce.

large_La_Coquille_Restaurant_4.jpg

Art Gallery

Pétionville is famous for its art galleries, and after lunch, we visit an upmarket showroom, complete with armed security guard outside, a beautifully presented but bored looking female assistant, and super-efficient air conditioning. To be fair, it has some pretty awesome art - we are not tempted, however. Serge asks us, half-heartedly, if we would like to visit another gallery...? I think he knew the answer even before he finished the sentence.

Caribbean Supermarket

Instead he takes us to the Caribbean Supermarket. Commenting to Jacqui yesterday that the one thing I would miss if I moved to a place such as Haiti, is the supermarkets back home; Jacqui looked at me aghast and exclaimed: “Are you kidding me?” Entering the clean, modern and extremely well stocked store, I see her point. Heck, they even have Strongbow cider!

large_Caribbean_Supermarket.jpg

Barbancourt Rum

And no, we don't buy any cider. We do, however, get some local 8 year old rum. The Barbancourt Distillery is over one hundred and fifty years old, and the rum is referred to as the 'rum of connoisseurs'. We shall look forward to sampling this and seeing what it is like. Not that I am a connoisseur, but I do have some experience with rum...

large_Barbancourt_Rhum.jpg

Taking no chances, we strap our booty well in to the seat of the van as we make our way back to Port au Prince.

large_Rum_strapped_in_the_van.jpg

Post Office

Having bought post cards this morning, the logical next step is stamps. You'd think that would be an easy job. Not so in Haiti. The post office does not produce stamps above 20 gourdes. A card for America costs 200 gourdes and for England we require 15 stamps per card. Don't even think about sending post cards to Australia! $40 for stamps to go on ten cards may be horrendously steep, but to me it is worth it just for the unique experience of sticking the blighters on the cards! I just hope they actually get there after all this!

large_Post_Office.jpg

Traffic

As we enter Port au Prince proper, we get stuck in traffic. Serge blames it on the school run – nothing new there then: just like back home! At least it gives me a chance to people-watch...

large_Dominoes.jpg

Everybody needs some form of entertainment, and in a country like Haiti, where life is tough, jobs are scarce and poverty is rife, dominoes offer just that: a chance to relax, hang out with friends and even partake in a spot of gambling without necessarily having to put down any monetary stakes.

large_Sleeping_o..table_stall.jpg

It seems it is not just me who finds the city heat too much – I suppose if you work on a street-side vegetable stall, you have to use some ingenuity in order to find somewhere to take an uninterrupted afternoon siesta.

Road Block

Fed up with sitting in stationary traffic, Geffrard tries to take short cuts across other avenues, but he's not the only one attempting to get around the gridlock. Eventually we discover the reason for this heavier-than-usual amount of traffic – a road block. Riot police with shields and semi-automatic guns at the ready tell me “no photos”. I oblige – after a quick covert snap from inside the car.

large_2760B6C2EF7934354107E60BF3BF7F11.jpg

We are ordered out of the car, as no vehicles are allowed anywhere past this point. Geffrard and Serge argue that they want to transport these tourists to their hotel; but the gendarme is not impressed. Don't they know who we are? Apparently not; and we make our way through the throngs of milling people on foot to get to Le Plaza, where the metal gate is locked, bolted and guarded by two burly men armed with assault rifles. “Let us in!”

large_Le_Plaza_H..u_Prince_52.jpg


Safe Haven?

As always, Le Plaza is a haven of tranquillity and respite from the disturbing turmoil on the streets outside. But did I come here for a sedate and calm holiday? Did I heck! Finding a suitable (safe?) viewpoint, I start photographing the political rally that snakes its way through the city.

Political Rally

large_Political_Rally_6.jpg

large_Political_Rally_12.jpg

large_Political_Rally_18.jpg

Unlike some of the recent inflamed and destructive demonstrations by the opposition parties (there are over 100 political parties, with 56 presidential candidates for the upcoming elections); this procession is organised by the ruling party with a strong anti-violence message in an attempt to show the world (or at least the Haitian voters) their own peaceful approach.

large_Political_Rally_9.jpg

large_Political_Rally_20.jpg

Pink? Really? Who on earth was in charge of the colour scheme for the campaign?

large_Political_Rally_4.jpg

large_Political_Rally_15.jpg

Having already twice been told “No Photos” by uniformed, armed police, I am initially a little apprehensive about openly photographing the rally, even from my safe view point; but the protesters themselves seem very friendly and quite happy to have their picture taken, waving their hands and placards at me. Haitians don't seem to smile naturally like some other nations, but when they do, their whole face lights up.

large_Political_Rally_14.jpg

large_Political_Rally_21.jpg

The only casualty we see, is this guy who gets knocked off his bike when a car collides with it. At those snail-pace speeds, no harm is done and he laughs as he is helped back up again.

large_Political_Rally_16.jpg

Despite being billed as a peaceful rally, the police are taking no chances, and are out in force: ready for combat with their riot gear and armoured vehicles. When we later hear several sirens from outside the hotel grounds, we do wonder if the rally remained peaceful.

large_Political_Rally_22.jpg

large_Political_Rally_24.jpg

Pool time

The show is over, and it's time to chill in more ways than one.

large_921E905FCEAD001271DA0FA1DA983677.jpg

large_9218C227AF6BEF68960D98EF2BD8E34E.jpg

Post cards

OK, we now have to start licking – the amount of stamps required for each card necessitates that the stamps go on immediately after the name and address, before even thinking about what to write.

large_Stamps_1.jpg

large_Stamps_3.jpg

It certainly doesn't leave much space for writing!

large_Stamps_2.jpg

In fact, it doesn't leave much of the other side either; only the two cards bound for the US retain an unscathed picture. Australian friends will have to guess what the card shows.

large_Stamps_4.jpg

large_Stamps_5.jpg

Beer!

With our tongues coated in glue, a drink is much called for! Rarely has an ice cold beer looked so welcome!

large_Ice_Cold_Beer.jpg


Dinner

As usual, I find the starters on the menu more interesting than the main courses, and order two entreés instead of one mains, while David settles for a meat lovers' pizza.

large_Meat_Lovers__Pizza.jpg

The starters are huge!

large_Kebbeh.jpg
Kebbeh – Arabic fried minced meat dish served with Picliz (Haitian coleslaw), and this one has a real kick!

large_Accras_de_Malenga.jpg
Accras de malenga – taro root fritters. A little bit dry - would have been nice with a chilli sauce or something for dipping

I am just grateful that I had two starters, not a starter and a main course, as I certainly couldn't finish these two!

As we have a late start tomorrow morning, we enjoy the rest of the evening by the pool in the company of a rum punch or four.

large_Pool_by_Night_4.jpg

PS. As of March 13th - six weeks later - none of the post cards have arrived. Boo! All that effort (and money) for nothing. I have waited until now to publish this blog entry in the hope that they would, so not to spoil the surprise.

Posted by Grete Howard 14:43 Archived in Haiti Tagged mountains art beer hills views shopping scenery pool pizza swimming_pool rum stamps haiti art_galleries petionville la_plaza_hotel port_au_price furcy political_rally post_cardselections haiti_elections Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]