"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


We took one morning to travel into the city of Port au Prince.
Most of our time was spent in Tent Cities just outside of the city.

The city was mobbed with crowds and vendors.
This meant lots of noise, traffic jams that moved by inches and vehicles wedging precariously in and out. I can attest to the noise, heat and fumes since I traveled this trip in the open back of the truck.

Not only was I anxious about the close proximity of the people swarming by and trucks and cars forcing their way next to us, but Angel drew my attention to hazards such as this hole.
"Don't fall in there--there's no bottom" she warned about gaping openings left behind by the earthquake. Large enough for a grown adult to get lost in, I shivered to think what may have dropped down in that darkness!

As is true for all cities, traffic congestion is a huge problem. Add to that no lines in the road, no traffic signs nor stop lights. Many people rode in the taxi cabs, called "tap-taps". I don't know why the name except perhaps it is the sound the overtaxed engine makes when fully loaded.
You can recognize a tap-tap by the brightly colored paint jobs.

The passengers don't flag the tap-tap down but rather run up and jump in the back where 2 benches hug either side of the enclosed (or partially enclosed in most cases) truck bed.
Space seems not to be an issue as they hang off the end if particularly full.
When a destination is reached, the passenger jumps off (or tumbles out) and runs up to pay the driver. I imagine it is one set price as the driver could never begin to figure out when the riders actually get on board. See how the weight has the back riding so low--

The presence of this traffic cop is remarkable and only seen this once!
He is why there actually seems to be a pattern to the traffic at this corner.
But I wanted to show you how the passengers in the tap-tap are hanging on as they perch on the benches. Precarious, to say the least.
Looking back, I wonder the advantage of riding in a tap-tap.
It would be quite faster and more comfortable to walk.

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