It’s not nature that I’m afraid of; it’s human nature.
You’re never sure of the type of person you will encounter in life and if whether it will be good or bad for you. We decided to take a road trip to Ocap (Cap-Haitien) over this past weekend and on our way there, we had stopped to add a little air to our tires. We did not get out of the car to see what the “air guy” was doing, with good intention we believed that he was doing his job. We were f&**** over. Both back tires were destroyed, he intentionally broke the valve stems of both tires. One spare-tire was not enough to get us to our destination. My stomach was on the floor from the very first time my intuition felt something was wrong. We attempted to get back to a gas station, but that would have been impossible, so we stopped at you can call it like a mom and pop type of mechanic (someone on the road), we changed the back left tire for the only spare we had and thought we were fine and would be back on the road. Within two hours the right side of the car started to shake uncontrollably, I think at that point I threw up little in my mouth. We’re fucked. We finally came to a stop and noticed the tire.
We were double fucked.
We forced the car at the exit of Limbé, the only family on the block was kind enough to stay with us. I know I said that I was not afraid of nature because, at that point, there was a dark shadow near a tree on top of the hill, first thought that came to mind, the show Supernatural; what I wouldn’t give for Dean and Sam to be around right now. My partner, snoring his life away as if we were not in this predicament. The first person we called, to be honest, I thought was one of my partner’s friend was laughing at the situation–I did want to reach over the phone and push him in his throat, but I had to remain calm even though I cried two times, I became a real Brooklynite (clapping my hands with every word), I was hungry, and I realized I watch too many horror movies. Don’t get me wrong; I was entirely negative in this situation. Yes, this was out of my control; however, I felt as if I was partly to blame because I recommended getting air. You can say that this was my first real Haiti experience. Only an hour and a half away from our destination, we were in our car with our emergency lights on hoping that those crazy bus and truck drivers would not do anything stupid on the road.
Thank god for Hôtel Le Mont Joli. Steve, the owner, sent his personal driver and his car to pick us up at Limbé. We’ve reached the hotel at 1:30 AM Saturday morning. At 7:00 AM nothing was open yet, so I ate because I knew if I started my day hungry someone would die. Some Haitian hot chocolate to calm my spirit, some omelet Créole to wake my senses; however, my anxieties have been on high alert since the night before. We got a taxi to head to a garage to at least fix one tire and buy the second one; we stopped at Top Tires located in charrier, Cap-Haitien. The mechanic who helped us (my apologies, I did not get his name) charged us 1000HG and sped off to look for the size that we needed outside Top Tires because the garage did not have the size we needed. Being anxious and hot, I approach his colleagues to ask when they were closing as well as his number but they had a tight mouth and had an attitude; I walk away annoyed. Went inside the office and asked the manager for her employee’s phone number as well convince her to stay open (They close at noon on Saturdays btw) until her employee returned to fix the tire we’ve paid for, with her rude demeanor she responded “sa pa régardé’m” (it’s none of my business). In my head I woosad, in my head, I cursed her out, in my head I reached over the counter. I was baffled that a manager would tell a client this after the fact that the client paid for a service. This man (the mechanic) should get an award for the fact that he went out of his way in search of a tire Top Tires did not have at their garage and would only have it until Tuesday (today). And then finally, we’ve fixed the tires, was back on the road and prayed that the front tires did not give out on us.
Our last day in Ocap was Sunday, and we were contemplating on whether we should go to the beach or go to the Citadel. I must say deciding to go to the Citadel was the best option. I opted out of getting on a horse because my clumsy behind had fallen off a horse and a donkey when I was a kid and I had no intention on getting on one again and fall off the mountain. So we hiked. This was a hikers dream, every time I thought we were near, we weren’t. I cried a little inside, we stopped to catch our breath and drank some water when the hill got too steep, where we met a South Korean family, which I must say I need to get back to learning this language because I just knew my basics.
This small weekend trip taught me that human nature changes and just because I would be considerate towards a stranger don’t mean that a stranger would be the same. Driving on the mountains in Haiti can be dangerous mostly because of crazy tap-tap drivers, bus drivers, truck drivers thinking that they’re the only ones on the road. I also will suggest for BMW to shoot their next car commercial from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitien, because that car did not, I repeat, did not fall over the mountain especially with two tires that were destroyed. That car held itself together.