Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday: The Land of the Ex-Pats

overlooking Port-au-Prince from the hotel
Paige and Kris, 2 CRNAs from HCMC and members of our week 2 team, arrived safely Saturday night and the group of us enjoyed one night together before Amy and Tom headed back to the US. Sunday morning we did our rounds and all of us went to bring Amy and Tom to the airport. It was sad to see our friends go after sharing another incredible week in Haiti together. After dropping them off at the airport, Pat, me, Paige, and Kris again headed up the mountains to La Ibolalia to meet with Pat’s friends who had been living in Haiti since soon after the quake. His friend Al is a prosthetist from Minneapolis. La Ibolalia is a hotel with a pool that anyone can come to and use as long as you order food and drinks. They make up for not charging for pool use by making their menu very expensive (US$16 hamburgers). We immediately discovered that this is where the ex-pats in Haiti hang out. We could understand why--the setting was beautiful. We had a great view overlooking Port-au-Prince, the coast, and the mountains. We enjoyed spending the afternoon sitting and talking by the pool, drinking Rhum punches, and eating delicious food (I had one of the most amazing omelets I think I have ever tasted). Before leaving that afternoon, we also enjoyed a few orders of mozzarella sticks.

I need to take a moment to mention the driving situation in Haiti. The roads are in terrible condition and the rules of driving are not completely clear to me. While driving up the mountain, I was afraid at one point that we were going to go off the road to our death as we passed another car at way too high a speed that was on our side of the road to avoid potholes. I have a new appreciation for construction. Everyone honks as the way to communicate that they are driving through and if you don’t move, you will be hit. It’s a constant game of chicken. In addition, most of the motorcyclists don’t wear helmets and those that do, don’t use chin straps. There are people lining the sides of the roads and the medians and weaving in between the cars. I spent the majority of our ride gripping the seat back in front of me (as if that would help) and just hoping that we would make it to our destination unscathed. Thankfully we did and we returned to the hospital to meet with the rest of our 2nd week team who had arrived - Pat Ebling (orthopaedic surgeon from Minnesota) and Ruth Bowen (ortho sales rep from Minnesota). We all went to bed early in order to be ready to start another week. Pat and I felt revived after our weekend oases and were ready to start a new busy week at the Adventist Hospital. 

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