Haiti Travel Stories, Page 9

Petit Goave Haiti Today

I leave Miragoene today, and travel to Petit Goave, Haiti. I now believe the interesting aspect of Haiti is its Seaports. The country has more coastal communities than any country I have ever visited.



Plenty of beaches, but a beach needs people to be fun. I have not observed beach-going cultures here in Haiti. NGO’s are like nerds with a mission, United Nations military are compose of men from Sra Lanka, and Uruguay, I am sure there are more countries, but I assure you, these cultures are not going to the beach for fun, yes to drink, but not to lie around in the sun.

I am positive I could find a naked black Haitian girl at the beach. To find one girl in a bikini would be more difficult. I found a few naked ones bathing in the river; I was not brave enough to take the photos. A person needs to enjoy the culture of seaports here in Haiti, which is great for me, terrible for tourism.

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Miragoane, Haiti - Ayiti - Friday, November 20, 2009

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Haiti is a friendly country; the people are happy, say hello and want to mingle. However, there is no language of conversation, Creole is awkward, and the education level is low, if not the lowest.

What to do in Haiti? This place is perfect for an American that wanted to make a cheap trip to Africa without going to Africa. This is not Africa, the whole tribal culture is missing, this is an ex-slave community, pretty much like all the other Caribbean Islands. Trinidad and Tobago are about the same as Haiti, just more violent.

Hmm, I have to admit, I just realized Haiti feels safer than Trinidad and Tobago, and I for sure think it is safer than Belize City.

I have been to Africa five times, I do not need to come to Haiti to see a watered down version, but truly a great cultural experience for an American.

My big problem is still Port-au-Prince, I need to find a 500 Gourde per night Hotel, the guidebook starts out at 1400, so way over budget for a Backpacker. I am studying the map; I believe it is possible; I am still in ready-to-retreat travel mode. If there is a problem, I will retreat to the prior Hotel. I am only going 15 miles today, this is interesting, this is a small country.

I can be anywhere in the country in one good day of travel, all cities are possible, travel is not difficult, the price of Hotels is the problem.

Petit Goave, Haiti Today


Used Clothing Imported to Haiti

Used clothing is imported into under-developed countries. I have seen this is Africa, Guatemala and many other countries.



Bundles of used clothing being unloaded from large cargo ship in Miragoane, Haiti.

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Miragoane, Haiti - Ayiti - Wednesday, November 18, 2009

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This truck came to the port, loaded up with bundles of used clothing, and will truck them to other cities in Haiti.



These girls are sitting in the main square of Miragoane. I conjecture that people come from neighboring cities to buy used clothing wholesale. There is an advantage to buying here in Miragoane; they are able to select the clothes they believe are sellable. While if they purchased a complete bundle of clothing, they would be working on a different level of clothing distribution.

This business is fascinating, because somewhere, somehow, in the USA there are people donating clothing. Say the Salvation Army, the Church, some organization collects used clothing. Slowly it moves it way towards a country like Haiti. Along the line the clothes are sorted, the worn out clothing are discarded, then made into bails. I would guess these bundles were assembled in Miami, and then shipped to Haiti in a large container ship.

Somewhere along the line it stopped being free, this is a business.

My friend Mike in Ghana asked me to help him get clothes from the USA. More or less go straight to the donators, bypassing all the intermediaries. I just could not get my mind around the moral issue, this is a business, but thrives on free donations. I suspect the person donating the clothes believes the end user is not paying.

Now to be just, reasonable, and understanding, this distribution system allows cheap clothing to enter Haiti in a sustainable manner. Is it free for people? No, however, it may be as cheap as it gets.

Distributing free clothing is a questionable practice; it makes beggars out of good folk. On the other hand, somewhere along the line the morals has some detours, I am sure.

Used Clothes Imported into Haiti


Walk and Talk Travel Tip

Why do you stop and talk with people? I stop walking, in respect for the person who spoke to me.

My advice, wave a hand, nod a head, but do not stop walking until you have accessed the situation and know you should. It is my habit, it is probably your habit, but it is not wise to stop walking.

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Miragoane, Haiti - Ayiti - Wednesday, November 18, 2009

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Many people call out “Blanc,” more or less “Hey White Man,” here in Haiti. I continue to walk. I say hello, I nod my head, but seldom do I stop. I stop when I want to, not because they want me to.

People generally give up talking when the person does not stop. In many countries, the goal of the hawkers, the hustlers and the drunks is to make you pause. This is their opening, they will get up out of their chair when you stop. Just keep walking, do not react, keep them in their chair.

Situational awareness is needed, and that characteristic which separates the men from the boys. How to be macho, how to in control of your emotions, is this possible to learn?

Walk and Talk Travel Tip


Time Traveler on a Wharf in Haiti

I went down a small dark path, towards the water. I felt like I was traveling in time, the building were tight. I found a narrow street barely wide enough for a horse and carriage. I looked left, I looked right and I say the water, I walked towards the water and I was there.



On the Wharf in Miragroane, Haiti with wooden sailboats, strong black me carrying bundles and women selling vegetables and fruits. A few hardy travelers were lying on the bags, waiting to depart to the island of Ganave. (Ile de la Ganave)



I talked with a girl in the video below, she spoke good French, there is maybe 200,000 people living on the Ile de la Ganave. Why am I here, maybe I can speak French there…? I truly have nobody to talk with; I can buy water, bread and say hello, then full stop.

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Miragoane, Haiti - Ayiti - Wednesday, November 18, 2009

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Quite a marvelous sailboat made of wood loading and unloading, in my world a sailboat hast has to be made of fiberglass, or maybe it is not safe.



There was stranded wire cable that held the front and back of the mast.

A good video, hectic, twisted, short and sweet.

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VIDEO BELOW
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If you do not see a video here it is because you are reading by email, click here to see video.
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Two Thumbs Up,
I am in Haiti.

Time Travelers on a Wharf in Haiti


Fill the Bucket Travel Tip

If you enter a room and find a bucket or two in the shower, fill them with water.



I immediately filled these two buckets with water here in the Eben Ezer Hotel in Miragoane, Haiti. Translated, the buckets are there because there is a water problem. They are needed, but they will not do you a lick of good empty.

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Miragoane, Haiti - Ayiti - Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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I photographed this picture in the Blue Boar Inn in Angeles City, Philippines.

Why are the buckets there?

1. To flush the toilet.
2. To take showers.
3. Sometimes in Asia the locals will not take showers, they only do a dip bath.
4. In a few countries, the Hotel will bring Hot water to the room for a dip shower.

What is somewhat silly though, normally all the buckets are empty; if there is a shortage of water the management comes to the room to retrieve the buckets. They fill them and return. However, they have already telegraphed the message,
“We have water problems.”

A good hotel will have a large holding tank on the roof, or a cistern. They continually fill these tanks and never run low on water.

Nonetheless, best to fill the buckets.

Fill the Bucket Travel Tip


Miragoane Haiti

I arrived, I am fine, I am in a good Hotel for 500 Gourde. The trip from Les Cayes, Haiti to Miragoane, Haiti was great, it was early in the morning, the temperature was cool and the Tap Tap was full of schoolchildren.



No need to think in Les Cayes, I paid 20 Gourde for a Motorcycle taxi to think for me, I said,
“Miragoane.”

The driver takes me to a Tap Tap, one of them small Toyota trucks, the driver throws my bag in the back and away we go. I am glad I did not think, I would have gone to the bus stop. The locals know how to send me to Miragoane, why do I need to get involved.

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Miragoane, Haiti - Ayiti - Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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A view of the small mountains of Haiti, as I looked out over the cab of the truck.



Many small children entered the truck, as many as 25 people crowded in the back, it was up close and personal.



Haiti people touch, they are not shy, many small children came and stood next to me, looked around, then pretended they were not close. Then accidentally put their hand on my leg for support and forgot to let go. This is a nice change of love after Asia, where to touch someone in public is almost taboo.



This is the town square of Miragoane, Haiti, complete with a gazebo, the Mayors office located in the Hotel de Ville. This city surrounds a harbor where large ships come to unload their goods. I can watch the ships from the third floor of the Eben Ezer Hotel.



Just to let you know I am not living in a slum, this room with shower and toilet, fan is 500 Gourde, negotiated down from 700.



The Miragoane, Wharf.

Miragoane Haiti


Go from Les Cayes to Miragoene Haiti

Ready-to-retreat method of travel - Travel Tip

I leave Les Cayes tomorrow morning, my target destination is Miragoene, Haiti. It is only 55 miles away, probably will take two hours in a Tap Tap.



I need to go in stages, ever ready to retreat. The Lonely Planet travel writer although excellent in collecting information, somehow failed to find any Backpacker priced Hotels. He is consistently coming in over 40 dollars, and averaging about 60, he calls 30-50 budget. He is really good, but just never seems to travel or think on a shoestring.

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Les Cayes or Aux Cayes, Haiti - Ayiti - Monday, November 16, 2009

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I will go to Miragoene, look for a room, if I find one less than say 700 Gourde, I will stay. If I do not find an on-budget hotel, I can continue on or retreat back to Les Cayes and the Patience Hotel for 500 Gourde. I have to re-write the Sleeping part of the Lonely Planet as I go, these prices are nutty.

40 Gourde equals 1 U.S. Dollar.

500 Gourde for a Backpacker is expensive, I am already double what a die-hard traveler could bear to pay, I feel like I am violating the rules of the road.

I will do a ready-to-retreat method of travel. Not your typical tourist, pay your way through method saying,
“I had not choice.”
If you say that, then truly you do not have a travel budget. I would feel like one of the rich get richer and the poor get poor people if I paid 40 dollars for a room in Haiti.

That is one months pay for a lot of folks here.

Go from Les Cayes to Miragoene Haiti


Map Les Cayes Haiti

Here is a map to Les Cayes, Haiti, the cheapest Hotels all seem to be on the main road.



I stayed in the Patience Hotel, they showed me 1500 Gourde rooms, 1000 Gourde rooms, they gave me a discount. I sat down outside behind the Hotel and ate a piece of bread. Whiskey, the name of one of the managers shows me a room upstairs.

I say 500, he say Qui. I paid 500 gourde per night with a shower inside.

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Les Cayes or Aux Cayes, Haiti - Ayiti - Monday, November 16, 2009

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This is rather normal in a county full of tourists who are not paying their own way. They just do not care and the locals know this, they have a hard time believing a white person would care about the price. I am not sure, I think white are afraid of black people. I see this as a kind of reverse racism, the white refuses to stand up to the black, full of guilt and anguish, that old middle class guilty engulfs the whites and they fail to treat people equally, special privelage.

Africa and Haiti has about zero racism towards whites, while in the USA a black person will scream and holler and abuse the whites on a regular basis. Using the race card, never saw it used in Africa, they use the you-are-too-rich to care card.

The bigger ego weakness comes when a person cannot negotiate, truly shows a lack of fortitude in my mind.

Map Les Cayes Haiti



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