"Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive...then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Howard Thurman

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Day at the Beach

Following a Haitian proverb, "tan ale l'pa tounen" or "the time that is gone never returns"  the opportunity of a day with no meetings seemed perfect for a trip to the beach.  It's easy to forget that Haiti is an island in the Caribbean with everything else top of mind.  

Getting to the beach is another issue.  Driving past the makeshift tents, the air filled with dust and pollution and noise levels I can't even describe.  The tents in the photo here are built on the small strip of concrete between the two lanes of traffic.  It's hard to reconcile the fact that we're in swimsuits on our way to having fun with the lives that millions are struggling to live.

Arrival at the beach is another story.  It's filled with people that could pay the $3 US admission fee, different music coming from every direction, and my favorite part - the guys that sit in their boats with various options of food/beverage.  

The guy on the bottom left has coconuts which either had a hole poked in to drink the milk (as seen in the photo) or cut in half with a piece of the shell removed to use as a scoop.  The guy on the right was putting pieces of raw squid in a small plastic cup and pouring what looked like tomato juice over the top.  They all wait for someone to signal to them and they row close for the sale.  Just like concession sellers at a ballgame.

For the price of admission to the beach you are shown to a table under one of two (with a third under construction) shade shelters.  There is food and beverage table service provided.  Over the course of the day our group of four had three bottles of water, two rum punches, a coke and a large plate of fried plantains for a total of $16 US.

Most of the beaches further out of the city have beautiful sand beaches with palm trees so while we had visions of taking a nap at one of those, we still enjoyed the day!  The sun is intense - even with three separate sun screen applications we both managed to get sunburns on our backs.  Last thing for today - check out the ladder the construction guy used in the photo below....

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