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Traveling back from Pignon

The road between Pignon and Port-au-Prince is paved on the half that is closest to Port-au-Prince. The night before we left, our host informed us that there were protestors blocking the road because they didn’t like the new Haitien president. Ironic. As part of their protests, they had blocked the dirt road heading back to Port-au-Prince. We had to take an alternative route. He warned us that the road was bad and that we would need to get out of the van and walk in places. I was kinda looking forward to this experience. :). Yeah I know, Jill.

Because of the unknowns, we had to be ready to leave at 6AM.  Ugh, the cold shower at 5 was a real wake up call. I must be getting used to cold showers again because it wasn’t bad.

Surprising most of us, the van defied Haitien Time and was present at 6. The loading of our bags onto the roof racks was a much easier process because they were much lighter. Most of came heavily loaded with school supplies, building equipment and clothes, most of which had been donated.

So we headed on roads that were rutted, bumpy and dusty. Considering that the folks in Seattle are dealing with snow, the temperature here is in the mid-eighties with a humidity level that was slightly unpleasant. The air conditioning in the van was laboring away.  The vents in the front of the van didn’t work and as such the folks in the front seat were not nearly as comfortable as we were. When they opened the window to get some air, the folks in the back of the van got a nice dusting of floating dirt road. The road was bumpy enough to fool the Fitbit into counting the bumps as steps. The four plus hours of bumps were worth 14,000 steps.

As we walked down a hill and the van got stuck in a rut with the rear right wheel about a foot into the air. It was high enough that we were concerned that the van would topple over. The people from a tap-tap coming in the opposite direction and folks from the local village all came to our assistance and we had at least twenty folks helping us hang on the ropes while some of them demonstrated their hanging off the back of an unstable Hi Ace to ensure that it didn’t topple over.

We overcame this obstacle and headed down the road again. Jeff, who had been scouting ahead returned and informed us that the road was worse ahead, with a river crossing….. we strolled down the hill to be greeted by a gently flowing river about a foot deep in places. It was pretty easy to walk through. And pleasantly cool. With a deceptively steep and slippery exit from the river.

Yep, the van slid back into the river and after numerous attempt with people pushing from the back and other teams pulling on the ropes on the front, each attempt requiring the van to be dug out, we managed to get the van up the hill.

By now another taxi had caught up with us and their passengers had to walk too. This allowed me to get a closeup of the chicken tied to the roof  yes, this chicken it on the roof of the Hi Ace. Apparently a lot of the chickens were imported from Spain and they are pretty good looking birds. There are also some straggly ones too…

The rest of the drive was pretty boring after the river crossing and we headed into Port-au-Prince for our last night together as a group before we went our separate ways

it is Carnaval weekend and we found out that this is one of the few times that the museums are closed. I found out later that the art galleries close too, much to the delight of my budget.

Walking around the gardens of the hotel I noticed quite a few orchids growing against the tree trunks. To finish off this post, here is a post of one them. Life is Good!


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