I had a very exciting weekend – I actually went out a couple of times at night. This is something I never do when I am traveling however I went out with people that live here so it made a big difference. First night the girls went to a bar on the beach front – it was so nice and cool. There are many little places along the ocean front in downtown Jacmel. We had a wonderful time – we ate fried plantains and pickly which was delicious. Beer here is $1 a bottle – Prestige I believe is the name and it sure tasted good. The only issue is that there are no washrooms – I guess there is always the beach. How lovely is that ???
The second night we went to this big bar in the most wonderful open aired building. It has to be open air otherwise you would melt. We went to see Patrick dance. Patrick is one of the extended family who has had a life beyond belief for a 21 year old. However he is a very nice guy who has worked really hard on learning traditional/modern dance.
The dance troupe he belongs to travels all over the place. It was very interesting as it was to start at 8:30 – well it started at 10:30 and went until 3 a.m. – we left around midnight. Some people were hungry – so 2 things were on the menu – deep fried goat or beef with pickly. I passed on that – not an issue for me. It was so interesting to see a side of life I would not have seen – everyone was dressed in their fineness clothes and all were having a good time. It was fun and the best part it cost me a total of 35 Goudes which is less then $1 not bad for a night out. Oh as well as the entrance fee of $5.00 – this was considered to be a high class event.
On Saturday we went out for a couple of hours during the day to look at art work. Here they make two things – papier-mâché like you have never seen before which is made from the paper from concrete bags and steel art which is made from the left over oil drums. It is amazing stuff !! They also do some wooden things and paintings. The paintings are beautiful – but a little pricey. However everything is negotiable here – one shop owner was worried when she said the price and we walked away. She thought we thought that was the real price and what is just looking? I guess people don’t just don’t look around.
We went walking around all over the downtown area and it was very different then Nepal. No street vendors following you and harassing you – people basically left us alone except for a woman who thought we should all have Haiti T-shirts. I have to say the buildings while they are really run down or have suffered a lot of damage during the earthquake are beautiful. It really has a New Orleans feel and I found out the reason – New Orleans design was based on Jacmel. After the quake New Orleans sent a team down to Jacmel to assist with trying to save some of the more damaged buildings. I am hoping to spend a few hours just taking pictures of the buildings – I think they would look wonderful in black and white.
We also went to the beach on Friday – interesting place. There are many beaches around here – Jacmel was a town where people with lots of money lived due to the coffee and textile industry – that is not the case now. Anyway I had my first fresh coconut – they cut off the top and you drink the juice – and then after that they cut it again and you scoop out the coconut meat. All for about 20 cents and they even found me a straw – bonus! You can get any type of liquor here as well – it is odd. The water is very warm – the day we went a big storm came in and I actually felt a little chilly. I wouldn’t go bare feet on the beach itself – while it has been cleaned up, there is still lots of stuff on the beach front.
Sitting around at the beach
Have a drink on the beach
We did attract a crowd of people – 4 white people with 3 local girls and a baby. Some people were a little hostile – they have very strong feelings about white people coming in to take advantage of them. I believe the key here was the baby – there has been a long history with orphanages in Haiti – I don’t know all the story but it seems that people should feel upset. When they understood what we were doing - Sarah with her clinic, looking after the 4 children and how long she has been in Haiti they calmed down and were very pleasant and joking around.
On Sunday we went to the church on the beach. The beach and land is owed by one of the orphanages – they are planning on building soon. It was a beautiful beach – and a breeze.
The church itself was under a grass hut – it had more of a support group feel. People that have come over to assist in Haiti – it is a very hard life with limited resources – they need to count on each other. The only thing that upset me was this man who saw me holding the baby and asked if it was from an orphanage – I said no the mom is right there. He asked how old she was – I said 15 – and then he asked is that typically here? My response they have a high rate of teenage pregnancy in the States – is that typically there? Considering we were in church I did pretty good however what I really whated to say was for sure not church like so I am happy with my response.
Well that is my social life – I don’t think my social calendar will be so busy this week.
Until Monday - much has happened this week so far and it is only Tuesday and I need time to really think about what is it that I wish to write about as some of it is to hard to explain !All I can say it is tougher here then I thought it would be but that could be lack of sleep and food talking !!!