Friday, April 27, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Departure for Cap Haitian

Rising to the chatter of the birds at 4am after the frogs at 3am we are packed with our Haitian memories and treasures. We say our final goodbyes to the translators and depart from the gate on Norm’s beach in tap-tap water taxi. Singing “good-bye Labadie, we will return again”… many of us wishing to stay on others anxious to return to loved ones and our homes. We are in the final stretch as we motor up to the tap-tap taxi pick-up trucks that would transport us through the muddy roads to Cap Haitian. Seasoned travelers that we are we casually board the tap-taps now and think nothing of not having a hand-hold on the steepest embankments (Karen).
We checked in at the Mont Joli hotel, a little cozier in our rooms than expected because of a reservation mix up, before setting off on the Holy Bible search. Carl and Linda generously bought Kreyol Bibles for the seriously lacking Baptist Church in BML, and we all tagged along as Jo refused to pay anything but the best price. It was suggested that next time we steal Bibles from our rooms in Fort Lauderdale instead. We then ventured into the Cap Haitian market. The middle of the market. It was by all accounts from seasoned third world travelers, the dirtiest, most chaotic, crowded and disorganized market ever experienced. Our comfort levels varied as Jo led to a booth to purchase traditional scarves and voodoo dolls. We walked passed a woman who was bound, hands and feet, and lying face down on a table. We later learned that she had tried to steal something from a vendor and the police, of sorts, were to come. It seemed a hefty penance to us in a country where any effort at securing a meal seems forgivable.
Anyone but Jon could give an account of the remainder of the evening. We had Rum PUNCH on our return to the hotel, in the pool. It was a well deserved wind down time. Most of us had one or two. Jon surpassed the 7 mark quite early on. We kept a close eye on him, suggesting he put clothes on before we go out to Lakay for dinner. (Okay he had trunks on) Dinner was terrific, as we ordered off of our first Haitian menu. And it was made all the more interesting by our dinner companion Jimmyfelter and his entourage.
All but Tiffany and Michelle returned to the hotel around 11 pm – here, again, the old and young groups mixed – and the other two followed later, having been treated by the Cap Haitian elite to fancy whiskey, conversation, and an air-conditioned SUV escort to return them safely to the hotel.

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