Monday, May 30, 2016

Keepin' It Real on the Streets of Cap Haitien

The hotel's rooms were fine but the bathroom had a pretty weak plumbing system. When we were ready to leave the room for the day we realized there was no "do not disturb" sign.

So we made one.

A notable part of the free hotel breakfast was a spicy peanut butter they provided for our toast.

Over the course of our time at the hotel we solved the mystery of why the heck there were Norwegian police guarding the airport.  It looks like they are on some sort of UN mission, as they have UN patches on their uniforms and the hotel parking lot is always full of UN police cars. Safety wise it was nice to have them around but mostly I just thought they were interesting. I don't think I've seen any UN personnel of any type before.

The city started off orderly enough but it seemed like the farther we got from the hotel the garbagier and more crowded things became.

The Place d'Armes is a very well kept square with lots of locals hanging out in the shade. It looks as though many a rabble rouser met their end in this square. The French burned slave revolutionary Mackandal here in 1758. He managed to escape the first time but they caught him again and toasted him good. Mulatto revolutionaries Oge and Chavannes were broken on the wheel here in 1790. Then finally in 1793 slave emancipation was announced here. Busy place right?

On one end on the square is Notre Dame Cathedral which was built by the French in 1774 and so was present from some of the previously mentioned bloodshed. It's one of the few colonial buildings left in the whole city. Lonely Planet described some mosaics and other ornamentation inside but I didn't see much of anything, just plain colored walls and the like. It was definitely one of the barest churches I've laid eyes on, which was especially off-putting because the building itself was pretty nice. It was like the place had been robbed or something.

The Université Roi Henri Christophe.

We had sort of a fake goal on the other side of town in the form of visiting the cemetery, but we got to see real life happening all over town. All over garbage.

We did some window shopping minus the windows.

The main tourist destination in the area is Citadelle Laferrière which did sound pretty cool, but I guess the road there is so bad you have to rent a donkey. And I read it's covered in hucksters. No thanks. The pictures do look cool though, admittedly.

Well there was another little fort called Fort Picolet within walking distance of the hotel so I thought that might be a nice consolation prize. Nope.

I'd say we did an excellent job finding the place considering this was the only sign for it we encountered.

There were plenty of scenic ocean views.

We caught some rays on the beach with the locals.

We got fairly close to the place before we gave up. The path ended and we were eventually just walking along the tiny space between the ocean and a cliff. If the tides came up we'd be toast, so we made an executive decision to call off the mission. It was a nice walk though so whatever.

We had a celebratory Sprite on the way home.

The hotel restaurant was crawling with police at lunch time.

Lydia likes dessert.

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