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  • Tom Stein

January 2020 Trip, Day 2

Well. It took over four hours to get out of Port-au-Prince. We needed gas. And a new sim card for my phone. Found out that if you don't use your minutes they expire. And if you haven't made at least one call every month the number is reassigned. After that we needed to get some water and use the bathroom.

Broke another one of my unwritten rules: don't go out after dark. No way to go 100 kilometers in less than 2 hours. We arrived at Emmaus Retreat Center in Papaye at 7:00. An hour after the beautiful sunset. Sunset brought with it the best stretch of road, but also the most treacherous. The cars, trucks and motorcycles were a real hazard.

Most people here use only their running lights. Alternators are not very good, so even those with headlights only emit a dim yellow. Then you have those who flash their light to let you know they are there, or only have headlights, or only have no lights. You have the ones that wait for you so that they can see where they are going, and block the road for as long as they can. Getting around them takes Mario Andretti skills on the part of your driver. Our driver has those skills.

The other danger of driving at night: the semis. They race down the highway and love to cut corners or use the middle of the road. Thank God that commerce is picking up and there is movement of such needed supplies, but the big trucks are as scary. Most have bald tires and wheels that are well out of balance. Follow any truck or overloaded taptap and you'll see 2 or 4 or 6 wheels all spinning to a different rhythm or direction. We arrived safely, and on time for supper. Chicken, beans, rice, bread, tomato and cucumber and onion salad, tea and plantains. Great little dinner. Checked into our rooms and after a shower hit the sheets. And I was out after 37 hours of travel. More tomorrow.

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