Sunday, March 31, 2013


Let me talk about my great love in Haiti.

It's the kind of love that makes your stomach drop, the wind rush through your ears, and even induces dizziness.

Literally. All of those things happen when taking the main mode of transportation in town: motos.

Motos fall somewhere between a mo-ped and a motorcycle. Perhaps you find one with furry seats, one with a working radio, or with ear-piercing brakes... all that get you around town for the modest price of 10-15 gourdes (about 35 cents).

     Taxi corner                                            It's like the Batman Signal, except for Jesus.

Four people.

There are different mattress-carrying techniques.

The funniest ride was the other month, coming back from the market with our cook, Clamen. We spent a couple hours doing the grocery shopping for our household and because we had so much stuff to carry, we each took a separate moto. Aileen's was in the lead, and she was holding a box of cornflakes out on each side. Clamen was in the middle, sitting side saddle with an over-sized bag of produce. My moto took up the rear, and I was cradling in my left arm a crate of 60 eggs and carrying a bag in my right arm, getting a full view of our ridiculous convoy.

At one point Clamen thought Aileen couldn't carry both the boxes of cornflakes, and so told her moto to speed up until she was even with Aileen's. She shouted for Aileen to pass-off one of the Cornflakes while Aileen was frantically shaking her head and flapping the cornflake boxes that no, she was fine.  It reminded me of the movie Air Force One where two planes fly side-by-side and to evacuate, each person is hooked to a cord and slide from the higher plane to the lower plane... (Here the motos are the planes and the Cornflakes are the president's daughter... obviously...)

And I'm proud to report that only one egg cracked during the journey.

And now here are a lot of pictures of Aileen, me, and some family and friends who have visited - all on motos:
Going to a water committee meeting

How many blans (with matching Haitian knock-off ray bans) can you fit on a moto?

Motos can get through rivers

...sometimes. Sometimes you have to get off and cross them yourself.
And then there is this really cool covered moto in town.

Selfie. Mom and I sharing a moto
With our favorite moto driver, Ti-Jean
What I have learned from motos:
If you think you won't fit, or whatever you have won't fit on the moto, you are wrong.

I have seen with my own eyes that a moto can fit:
5 people, 20-foot re-bar, a basket of live birds, and even goats. What, you don't think you can take a moto after buying a few goats at the market? Just tie their feet together and hold them upside down off the sides. Their humanized blee-ing (No really, goats sound like screaming small children. Watch this video to see for yourself) acts as a natural horn for your trip!

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