One never really know here.
Recently my co-worker Troy was driving his kids to school when one of his car tires came off. Yep, he heard a loud bang and then looked out his window to see what used to be his back tire rolling on down the street – with his brake drum rolling the other way.
That was exciting, and the second time he said that had happened to him in Haiti. His car had just got back from the shop after being repaired, if that tells you anything about the quality one can expect from certain mechanics here.
Also recently, a vehicle directly in front of me had a massive tire blowout that sounded like a gun going off. The tire came apart in several large chunks that I drove around.
Many vehicles here are in poor condition mechanically, I’ve noticed.
One day I met a German tourist (Frank) at the grocery store… We got to talking (in his broken English) and come to find out he was here looking for a wife. Yeah, that makes sense to me too, right? He even had put up a sign outside his hotel with this written, “One man from Europe looking for a woman to marry,” and a phone number listed underneath. That was bizarre.
Frank told me I was the first white person he had seen in the three days he’d been here. He looked pretty lost, far outside his comfort zone. Later, after returning to Germany, I got an e-mail from him saying he sadly hadn’t been able to find a wife. He had been introduced to three different ladies, but none of them worked out. Frank said the deal breaker with one was that she had, “the face of a man,” whatever that means. I would have thought not being able to speak a word of each others language would have been an earlier deal breaker, but what do I know? Perhaps communication in a marriage is over-rated?
One day I did a double take upon passing a motorcycle towing another motorcycle with a piece of twine. Their twine broke (or came apart) while I watched and they had to stop and re-tie it. Moto’s towing moto’s was a new one.
I commented my surprise to a Haitian lady I was with and she responded, “What do you expect, you’re in Haiti? Keep looking and you may see a dog towing a dog.” I’m still watching for that one.
One day in the Western Union Office I overheard a young man in front of me speaking English. He looked perfectly Haitian, so I was taken aback. We struck up a conversation and turns out he is from Grenada (a smaller Caribbean island with a population of only 100,000). Apparently they speak English in Grenada. This fellow is here working in Haiti as a technician for the cell phone company Natcom.
I thought he spoke very American – no accent that I could tell. It was quite entertaining watching him try his few Creole words with the lady behind the counter.
He looked so Haitian it was comical comparing notes about the place in English. He would say, “Everything about this place is crazy, like I’ve never had to wait so long at a bank!” Or, “It’s ridiculous they can’t keep the roads fixed up!”
I told him I knew people spoke English in Jamaica too, and was it similar to that in Grenada? He was like, “Nah, you can’t understand anything those guys say in Jamaica, but where I’m from we speak normal English.”
Wow, that was a random conversation.
The View out my Windshield
Lastly, here are two pictures I took with my phone while driving around Croix-de-Maison (w/Beth’s truck). They showcase a local fruit & vegetable market and navigating dusty, congested traffic: