Thursday, April 7, 2011

How a trip to Cap Haitien can suck the life out of you

Anyone who has spent a little time in Haiti, will quickly learn that nothing is easy here. It's best just to work on that assumption and then be pleasantly surprised when something is easy - it'll save you years of stress and frustration.

On Saturday we went in Cap with a significant list of things to do for the wedding and for the apartment. Perhaps it was too ambitious, but it was all things that needed to get done in the next little while. Anyways, we set off at about 9 am in the truck. Now, getting to Cap itself is an adventure. It's only 25 kms away, but only a quarter of the road is paved (with pot-holes), the rest is gravel (with pot-holes) and very dusty as we haven't had any rain in weeks. Needless to say, I don't make the trip into Cap unless I absolutely need to. Along the way, we stopped at the wedding venue, paid the deposit and continued on.

We arrived in Cap. Cap Haitien is a city that was built or planned for about 200,000 people - it now contains about 1 million people. So, needless to say, it's crowded, busy and dusty! Traffic, is well, interesting. I know that it's a whole lot better than Port au Prince, but for the size of the city, it's still frustrating. Our next stop was the florists - but they weren't open. So we headed off to the hardware/appliance store to look for a stove and a fridge. After some talking and negotiating, we were able to settle on a stove and fridge. The stove is a bit bigger than I wanted, but when you only have 3 to choose from, you have to go with what you got. Driving to Port to find one just doesn't seem worth it. We didn't take them with us, because we didn't have the extra money for the stove. Cal went back on Monday to pick them up.

After that, we were off to the "stores" to find kitchen and household supplies. Mama was with us to help in our search and negotiations. Basically all of downtown Cap is one big open air market, but there are some "stores" along the side streets. We searched up and down, but Mama couldn't find anything that made her happy, so we to the main central market with all the food, clothes, shoes, supplies - basically anything you would need. After weaving our way through the "machanns" with their rice, vegetables, meat, etc, we found the kitchen supply area - heaven. We start picking all kinds of things we need - pots, spoons, bowls, knives, etc. We got a pretty good haul for about $50 US. We piled everything into a "kivet" (a large basin) and paid someone to carry it out through the maze of the crowded market to the truck for us.

By this time, I'm getting pretty tired, and hot. It turned hot here last week, so it's around 30 degrees during the day. We go to a nearby restaurant for a bite to eat and a drink and to regroup. After, we go back to the florists, they are open now. Made our payment for the wedding flowers and all the final arrangements. One last stop. To buy a mattress/boxspring. Here again, there isn't a lot of choice, unless you want to buy used - then there is tons of choice. We find a bed, make a negotiation and tie it to the truck. We're done!!!

By now it's about 3 pm and I'm wiped and a headache it starting to set in. We get home around 4, I eat the lunch that Marlene left for us, shower and fall down on my bed with exhaustion. My headache lingered around all night and into the morning. Finally, by Sunday afternoon I was feeling a bit normal again.

I shouldn't complain too much - Cal made the trip to Cap again Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It's tiring. Good thing I have a week to recover before my trip back to catch the bus to the DR!


Tammi said...

Oh, my dear, I can picture this whole story playing out! Well, I am looking forward to your arrival here and I hope we will be able to have fun while getting a lot done...MAYBE with less headaches?! Depends on the day! ;)

Desantia I. said...


I stumbled upon your blog about living in Haiti. I am currently planning a destination wedding there but I do not seem to find any information on wedding venues. You mentioned a wedding venue in your post, do you mind sharing what venue it was to see if it is a good fit for my wedding. It will be very much appreciated. Thank you so so much