Sunday, 22 November 2009

Day 13 - Sosua, Dominican Republic

When I was booking this trip, I looked at Haiti, read all the horror stories, and decided that my best bet would be to head up to the North of Hispaniola and look for a tourist trip over the border. As it is, now I'm here, I feel that if I had a couple more days then I'd just get a bus over there tomorrow. Such is the difference in mentality once you're actually on the road – I'm actually really annoyed with myself.

Anyway, waking up this morning I still had the chance to get to a Haitian village on the tour that I booked yesterday, so I packed my cameras and set off out of the hotel. But. At the last second, I decided to leave the QI video camera in the room; I supposed that my small camera would be enough if I wanted any video, the video camera is heavy and in all honesty I had no idea what I had signed up for. It turned out to be a stroke of good fortune.

I was picked up by a four-by-four and we headed off in a Westerly direction – which looked good – but after a fair old ride we turned off the road and to a bar-like area alongside a river; all I could see was my transport for the rest of the morning – a dozen or so quad-bikes. How exactly I'd signed up for a quad-bike adventure, I don't know, but sure enough once another half dozen tourists had turned up, the quads were started and I found myself in a convoy through the sugar cane fields. The bikes went through mud puddles, small ponds and rivers (it almost felt that they were *deliberately* sending us through the water! :) ); and within half an hour I was completely covered head-to-toe in mud; this was when I realised that not taking the (rather expensive) camera was a godsend.

We continued for what seemed like miles, but was actually only an hour before we arrived at our “Haitian village” - in this case “Haitian” appears to have been a synonym for “poor” and essentially although we got a little Haitian history, it was an excuse to attempt to sell some Haitian art. Just as I had feared. Still, from there we quad-biked another hour to get to a deserted beach, and then home, and in the process I got some great shots on my little camera and managed to quiz my guide about his views on Haitians: did they dislike their fellow islanders as much I'd read? Well, yes. Nick Griffin has nothing on these guys; the two countries are most certainly *not* harmonious neighbours! I also spoke Dominican politics; there are posters everywhere at the moment and it turns out that they are for the Dominican version of the local elections – the candidates are also crawling through the streets in trucks with huge microphones, adding to the general raucous. It seemed to me that a healthy moustache is a pre-requisite for election; my guide, well he was fairly sick of politics as a whole – some things are universal.

So I'll head down to the beach again at sunset shortly to take some shots, and there appears to be some kind of carnival on the main road of Sosua. Hopefully it will make a fun and pleasant end to what has been a little bit of a disappointing corner of the world. Back to Santo Domingo tomorrow for my final day on Hispaniola before I fly to the States.


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