First of all I'd like to thank everyone for the emails, cards, cybercards and all the good wishes I got for christmas, the new year and my birthday. I didn't get around to thank everyone personally, but be assured: I am very gratefull.
It's been a while since my previous newsletter. For several reasons it has taken a bit more. There just wasn't enough to tell at first, next to that it became more and more difficult to find a computer to sit down quietly for a while. But in the last night before I leave the isle I have to take some time to write this letter.
5 weeks on this island has been too long. There was no other solution with the availabel flights, but if possible I would have chosen a different solution. Going back to a place where you have had such a great time is very difficult. Inevitably comparisons do appear, and mostly they are negative. Living in Boca Chica. is still fairly similar as when I worked here in 92-93 , only the athmosphere has changed. The hotel I used to work for exists under the same name, but is a different one. From the many people I know here, only a few are left over. There's nothing I can do about it, but 3 weeks in the same village can be quite long then.
Quoting my log: Day 36, 20.12.99, Boca Chica: Lie in, checked email, siesta, had a walk.
Day 39, 23.12.99, Boca Chica: Ultimate nothing.
Day 47: 31.12.99, Boca Chica: Lazy day (again), party not worth mentioning.
But to say it hasn't been worth coming back is exaggerating. I've seen quite a few people again, some of them unexpectedly. Apart from that I have seen some places I had not visited before, like San Pedro de Marcoris (where I also saw a baseballmatch), Barahona en Monte Cristi. Did a beautiful trip to Samana, using a tiny ferry, only to be reached via a small road, crossing a brilliant natural area and after that a little boat had to tak everyone to the ferry, as it couldn't reach land completely. Definitely worth the effort!
The most adventurous bit was my trip to Haiti. During my first stay I already planned to go, but couldn't as it turned out to be too dangerous. Now I did go and don't regret it at all. Onviously there are some negative sides when you visit one of the poorest countries in the world. At arrival I was conned for 20 dollars and every cabdriver and 'guide' is looking to make a fortune out of you, but they give a wrong impression of the country.
The capital Port au Prince is a nice city, lots to be seen, even without help, a good travelguide will do. The bit called 'downtown' is one huge marketplace. A bit higher up, literally, in the hills those who can afford to, avoid living in the smog, in a suburb called Petionville. The city is a very dirty one, even though they do a good effort to clean the town at nighttime, in daytime you will feel very scruffy. Just rubbing your hands and the dirt is visible...
To me the highlight was my trip from the capital to the north, Cap Haitien. In a very uncomfortable bus (an old american schoolbus, where 3 adults have the share a tiny bench) taking roads with more potholes in them than there are pinguins on the southpole and enough sand to fill a small desert, it turned out to be a nice trip past nice coasts, little villages, hills, small forests and mountains, some spectacular views along the road. Obviously the bus didn't make it til the end, which resulted in the 60 of us ending up in the back of an open lorry. To me it made the journey even more attractive. And at least I had a bit of legspace finally...
In the hotel (pension, stayover, whichever name you want to give it) that night I was eaten to bits by mosquitos and my arms looked, for at least a week, as if I was suffering chickenpoks. All in all it was worth the effort though.
Now it's time to continue travelling again. At the moment it seems they're going to let me on the flight to Miami tomorrow, so it's time to say goodbye to a lot of my friends here. After 5 weeks, 3 baseballmatches, 5 new villages over here and 2 on the other side of the isle and many social visits, the united states are back on the menu. On my way to Mexico I shall make a few stops, but I will inform you all in my next newsletter.
For now, thanx for your attention and 'til next time!