I finally woke up around 11 am after a long day of travel and sightseeing around this city filled with local home-made vendors who shows what small business enterprise is all about. You have something to sell, somebody needs it and there you have it…commerce at its simplest form. New, Resale and of course bargains. That is my first overview of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
As I sit on the barred porch looking at the hillside filled with homes, I didn’t realized Port-au_Prince was mountains and steep hills. Even through the layer of humidity or exhaust fumes are continuous mountains and more mountains surrounding me in the apartment where I’m staying. I’m being hosted by a local traveller I met back in Hollywood, Florida. My second home on the beach away from Los Angeles. Ironically, my loves have the same name. There’s this nice little niche’ spot I found when I started traveling again back in 2009 that has stolen my heart. My accommodations there are only 200 ft. from the sandy beach, but I’ll share that later in another post. So my host was gracious enough to pick me up from the airport and open up his home to me, by the way, which he shares with his mother and family. That’s very normal in a lot of Caribbean communities. His mother, a sweet French/Creole speaking woman greeted me with a great big smile as if to say.. Welcome my new child into my home. You are welcome. I felt welcome and the warmth of family. We talked through her son as my translator and enjoyed a great cup of coffee—Haitian style…..black with sugar, no creamer. I see I’m going to have to get used to not having
in “International Delight-Hazelnut” creamer. We finished and off we go to see the city.
HUMID – is the word of the day. It’s hot and dry and I love it. Something about the heat makes me feel good and keeps my body loose. As we are driving I see so many things. Men and women selling everything you can think of. CRT televisions, clothes, fruits, phone cords and so much more. Seems like the same thing you might see on any street in an impoverished and torn down city, but something was different from what I’ve seen on my other visits in different Caribbean, Latin, Central and South American Countries.
There was an abundance of organization and order. As seen by the ladies and some men I saw selling produce and items from the top of their head. No wiggle, no giggle, no swaying and no swerving. I thought most waitresses was good at balancing a tray. They’ve been beat at the balance game.
We can forget the past. There were constant reminders of the 2010 Earthquake all around me. Construction and rebuilding are ongoing. On our way to the local museum we stopped so I could take pictures of the NATIONAL CATHEDRAL that was destroyed and noticed that the passersby were stopping to pray even in its destructive state.Then we pulled up to the presidential palace which was destroyed and the perimeter is covered with a green sheeting around the gate so you can’t see in. I was told he still has a residence inside, but won’t rebuild the full mansion until the people have rebuilt in their own communities. I thought that was nice.
Then there was the High Court of Justice building that’s under reconstruction.
The bi-centennial Anniversary Tower of Independence monument built with 200 steps to the top. I always find the work and building by the human hands remarkable.
Later toward the evening we did more driving and sightseeing. A nice cool breeze I felt as we drove up and up and up into the mountains that still feels like the lower city life. The streets are tight and the roads are a little less to desired and very bumpy. Watch out for those potholes. But the view down below is magnificent and the dark blue yet clear sky was lit up by the shinning stars and made it feel magical. There is peace atop this mountain.
Oh that’s right, COPA America is going on. The FUTBOL game is on. Brazil vs. Colombia. Futbol is big in the Caribbean, Central and South America and these two countries make it very exciting. So like most sporting traditions, we ate pizza, drank beer and scrolled down our Facebook timelines. Today was a great day!!!!