I’ve just completed day 13 of my Haitian Vacation (3 more to go) and I am alive and relatively well. I say relatively because in those 13 days, I’ve accrued about 500 mosquito bites, gotten sun poisoning, which involved a skull-splitting headache followed by nausea and puking my guts out, been stung by jellyfish larvae, attacked by a poisonous plant that had bee-sting-like venom, and endured 3 days of full-body urticaria that made my hands and feet swell up and feel like they were bruised. On top of that, I’ve spent the last seven days in a blackout with little to NO Internets!
Even though my family lives in considerable luxury here, there are some components of the Caribbean that this city gal isn’t so equipped to handle. The blackouts are quite common — as my sister said earlier today “You haven’t experienced Haiti unless you’ve experienced a blackout” — and this house has back-up power sources to draw from when we don’t get input from the grid. But it’s still not the consistent power input we’re used to in the States. It means cold showers, worrying about food spoiling, gas lanterns (which are actually pretty fun to use, especially when it’s storming and you are huddled under a mosquito net telling ZoMbIe stories!!), and not being able to just turn on the TV or computer without mentally calculating if you’ll be able to finish a movie or send an email before the inverters fall and you’re in the dark.
So I guess I did end up roughing it, but small problems aside, this has been an incredible adventure. I learned a lot about this little island and the people who live here, romped around the most beautiful mountains and beaches I have ever seen, and best of all, I reconnected with my long-lost family. I never thought I would get to play chess with my dad or watch my little sister graduate from high school, but it happened and they are really glad that I came here to experience these things with them.
So I probably don’t need to explain why I haven’t written in a week, and why I won’t write anything substantial until I get back. I’ve got one more trip to the beach, a chance to celebrate Father’s Day for the first time ever (In Haiti it’s on the 4th Sunday, not the 3rd), tearful goodbyes, and then it’s back to NYC for me! And then back to all the web surfing, blogging, and hipstering it up in Williamsburg I could ever want! Life is good.