Friday, April 20, 2007

On the roads in Haiti

What it looked like the further we got from the airport

This is what it looked like in the area around the airport

One of the very colorful taptaps!

Lots of small trucks are used for taptaps

Anything with wheels could be a taptap!
My camera was on the fritz. I wish so much that I could have video and pictures for you of what it was like to be on the roads of Haiti! It was like being in another world!! I found these pictures online and feel like they somewhat share what I saw while there. I was so fascinated by all that was around me and tried to take it all in. One thing you learn quickly in Haiti is there are no driving laws...and if there are any they sure are not enforced! It was CRAZY. I thought it was really fun but could see how someone would find it terrifying (I just happen to really like a good adrenaline rush). Our driver just flew through the streets laying on his horn and every car and person better get out of our way. There was no order. There was one road that had lanes but no one paid any attention to them and drove where ever there happened to be a space. It was hysterical to watch. The view along the drive was sometimes absolutely fascinating and at others so heartbreaking. I couldn't believe the things they could carry on their heads without even using their hands! It was amazing. At some places the sides of the street were covered with food, clothes, or other items to sell. Small outdoor "markets". This is how the birth mom of our children used to make her income too. It was also amusing to watch the tap taps! I've seen lots of pictures of them and heard stories of them but it was unreal to see them in person! Tap Taps are the Haiti version of public transportation! Some are just old pick up trucks that tons of people pack themselves into the back of (you wouldn't believe how many people were packed in!) other tap taps looked more like a bus type vehicle (sort of) and is in really bright colors and wild designs. As we got more away from the downtown area it became much sadder as everywhere you looked there was huge piles of garbage everywhere and people had the saddest looks on their faces as if they were all tired and discouraged. There were some of the "markets' just about anywhere you went. On the less busy streets our driver continued full speed ahead. What made this a little scarier for me was that the streets are now filled with people instead of other cars. We would plow ahead towards them while our driver laid on his horn. People would just continue to walk towards us and our driver would continue flying towards them and I was sure we were headed into a tragedy, but every time... at the very last second... the people would look up and slowly step aside just as our car would get to them. I think I might have held my breath the whole time!!! :) It was terrifying and exciting and I can't wait to do it again. haha.
I thought it was funny that on the way back to the airport (for this treat I got to sit in the front seat with my daughter on my lap, talk about adrenaline!!) I saw two vehicles full of UN troops. What was funny about it was that they were in nice looking SUV's but had taken black masking tape (no joke) and obviously torn chunks of tape off and used it to write a very sloppy UN on the side of SUV's! Have budget cuts come to this? My three year old could have made it look better! :)


The Haiti Lady said...

Believe it or not, my hubby DROVE those roads while in Haiti this past Dec. :-P I was so proud of him for giving it a try and getting all of us to the Guest House safely!!
Love ya,

Angela said...

Wow! I can't even imagine attempting it and I'm willing to drive through the LA area. Haha!!!