Went for a walk!
Surprisingly beautiful town, Dajabon.
Nice scenery, some friendly people.
Tons of Haitians selling their wares.
I bought a phone, and some fast food.
Went for a run, first time in a while.
Bought some bike parts.
It feels like a while since I arrived in Republica Dominicana.
I now have a much better sense for the place.
Getting ready to go to Haiti!
I think it should be fine.
Still tons of stuff to do.
Looking back at previous times, I feel quite different now.
Running low on time.
Still tons to figure out.
Made it to Haiti!!!!!!!!!!!!
After a while at the border market on the Dominican side, went to the bridge.
Had to get a form at migration.
Paid $100 US. When the somewhat senile bureaucrat lady handed back the passport, at first she asked if mine was a different passport, one for an older black man.
On the Haitian side, nice smells, border food!
Tons of motorcycles.
Went to the bank to exchange some money.
My French seems to work fine.
I'm still struggling somewhat to understand the Haitians. Not sure if they're speaking French with a Haitian accent, or Creole. Not sure if they're sure.
At the bank to exchange money, they didn't accept Dominican pesos. They thought I wanted to exchange dollars.
After a while, they brought someone in from elsewhere (the street?) who offered to trade money. Offered me what I think is a rip-off rate. I traded a few bills anyways.
Normal. Surprisingly normal.
Haitians aren't a crowd of murderers-thieves-etc. as some people would portray.
Walked some more. Beautiful city, Ouanaminthe.
Bought some street food. Haven't eaten it yet, about to.
Found a hotel. Affordable. Scenic. Convenient.
I'm hot, thirsty, tired, excited!
I love a new country!
I think I can see/feel that I'm going to get bored of Haiti in a few months. Lucky me to get going around then!
For now, so exciting!
My brain's still in Dominican mode. When I speak, Spanish comes out. When I pay, I think in pesos.
The bank had AC set to 27 and 26 degrees celsius!
At the border market, I tried some cool new drinks, including an energy malt beverage, and a banana soft drink, the latter of which I'd long thought should be around!
So far the most threatening things here have been the traffic (a truck bumped up into my bicycle as I was walking it, I think to pressure me onwards), and my imagination, and the scary things people say.
I'm sure bad things do happen, but I think it's a decent place.
I keep seeing sign for "pappadap," haven't figured that one out yet.
So far I'm more comfortable in Haiti than I've been in most places I've traveled!
A few general travel lessons, which I've been benefiting from lately. Be prepared. It's way better to get into a country with some cash, even if it's difficult to exchange. Things often go wrong (see: Murphy's Law). Allow leeway. Things often go wrong. Be considerate. Frequently verify that you have your stuff. Things often go wrong.
Huge relief to have made it here!
Went for a lengthy walk.
Makes me appreciate a northern upbringing.
There are some sketchy places, for sure. Some of the ghettoes. Also, out in the edges of town.
Also some safe feeling places.
There are some places that make me feel like it's far riskier than other countries.
Also, tons of considerate folks.
I stand out like a light.
In Latin countries, I can often blend in with the crowds. Some people can see that I'm foreign, some people can see that I'm North American, but it's not entirely obvious.
Here, most places I go, people give me funny looks. Some people call out "blanc!" (white), or "blanco" or even "gringo".
Many Haitians ask me for money. I understand that, but I think it's not the most suitable approach. Not sure what to do.
So far fewer crimes against me on my first day in Haiti than on my first day in Dominican Republic!
In some ways, I prefer Haiti to North American societies. The people are perhaps more sincere. There are more young people. The society hasn't "developed" yet to the degree that more industrialized countries have, so it still feels human. People walk and ride bikes, are out in the streets conversing, eating.
My new home!
After a weekend of catching up, I'm probably going to head for the city for the New Year!
Still figuring stuff out.
Not sure that I feel safe out of town. Considering buses, but would still prefer to bike.
Mixed feelings. Overall happy to have come!
I think that I'll have trouble learning Haitian Creole, because I speak enough French to get by but it's tough to learn another language.
At least I can read the signs (which are in a mix of French and Creole), and have basic Creole conversations.
There are different aromas than I've noticed in most other places.
Much of it from food, such as spices.
I bought some smoked herring (I think that's what it is).
Feels like what I think it would to be in Africa.
Apprehensive, yet hopeful.
The power sporadically goes out, but many places have their own supplies.
Not too many trees, plants, etc., in the town, but I like the ones that are there.
I think that Haiti is the first country I've entered without being asked for a passport, or even to talk to immigration/customs.
Looking through some of my first photos in Haiti, reminds me how different it seems from an outside perspective.
Already I'm getting somewhat used to it. The noises, the sights, etc.
Before, I think it seemed more like a dysfunctional developing society. Now, I think it seems more like a functional developing society.
I think there's something of a hidden or different logic to this place than developed world eyes would see.
There are numerous problems, but people get by.
Also, I'm handsome! :)
30 km to Terrier Rouge.
Some uphill, especially near the end of that route.
A few small towns or settlements along the way.
Another 35 km from Terrier Rouge to Cap-Haitien. Largely downhill!
After that, maybe see Port-de-Paix?
I think I can do it!
Traveling Haiti is one of the more intimidating tasks I've taken on.
A funny site: a nun riding her motorcycle at the Haitian border.
A staff person from the hotel came by, asking if I wanted the room clean. Also, if I would need electricity, to find out whether to turn the electricity in the hotel back on!
Another funny sight: a woman carrying a twelve pack of energy drinks on her head!
I think I'm the only white person in Ouanaminthe.
The more I see of this place, the more I like it.
I feel like I'm ready to go on!