Sunday, September 23, 2012

Walking tour of Cayes (lots of pictures)

Map of Cayes.
Saturday morning Rhoda and I decided to explore a road that we could see on a map, to see if there was a path from it that went all the way to the ocean.  The road is called Route Wharf Masse, and it starts just on the other side of the Cayes gate (arch) that is just past our road to AUC.  The road runs past the agriculture organization SEED, which Rhoda had been to many times, so she was familiar with this end of the road.

We started out around 6:45am, and the walk on this road was very peaceful.  Not many people out on it, and I don’t remember seeing any motorcycles once we got a ways south from the highway.  The road runs past rice fields which had green herons and black-necked stilts.  A canal diverts water from a nearby river into the fields.
A mangrove tree and corn in the rice fields south of AUC
The neighborhood of Islet, where the river meets the sea.

Making lobster traps.

Me and Martelly.

Discussing the fish in the canal
After the road took a sharp right west toward town, we came to a ponded area of the canal in which there were at least 3 species of fish - bon boni with yellow tails, a fish called teta which is the Kreyol word for tadpole (but Rhoda was sure the man was using it for a fish) and a fish called kongo (fish post coming later).  The road was getting busier with all the people carrying their wares to the market.

Sorting charcoal (notice they are standing on charcoal)

The road came out on the main road that runs northwest-southeast through Cayes, Avenue Des Quatre Chemins.  Rather than staying on this busy road, we went east one road and ended up in an even busier market.  Not for those who don’t like crowded cultural experiences!  The road was a bit muddy, there were many places where you had to jump over water streaming across the road, it was VERY crowded with people selling food (raw meat, veggies, rice, spices, fruit) and clothing (I bought a blouse for 150 gd ($3.75), probably too much but I talked her down from 250 gd).  Finally the market ended and we ended up walking through a narrow little neighborhood called Islet that popped out where the river meets the ocean.  This was about 4km (2.5mi) from AUC.  People were bathing in the confluence, kids were playing (or bathing?), men were working on their boats and lobster traps.  It was quite the cultural experience you can’t get from driving.  And I learned that “I love you baby” sounds a lot like “Hello Debbie” (the guy who said it seemed pretty happy that I responded by shaking his hand).
Sail boat taxi.
Carrying the market lady from the sail boat.

From Islet we headed west and followed roads that hugged the ocean, detouring down them to see what was on the coast.  We came across public latrines that a Rotary club had built (and that were in great need of emptying), a trashy mangrove, a park built by Martelly, a pier where people were unloading wooden poles and charcoal, and finally a pier where cement was being unloaded from little wooden boats that brought it in from a large ship docked out in the bay.  Men were then bagging up the cement for transport into town.  There was a cute but trashy park at this pier, and a nice
salesman from NatCom who welcomed us and said thanks for not being afraid to visit Cayes (he also knew some Vietnamese, as NatCom is a Vietnamese cell phone company).

The ship of cement.  Notice the small wood boats along side it.
Unloading and packing up cement
At 10:30am we ended the trip by catching a moto for the 3.5km (2mi) back campus (2 of us on the same one!).  It was a great walk, and if anyone is brave enough to visit me in Haiti, I look forward to taking you walking to see rural, city, and ocean-side life in Haiti.

The moto ride home.

Fried bread is always good!  5 gds each.
Rhoda and the Rotary latrine.

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