Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Civil Unrest - a different day in the life.

Tuesday morning, 10 a.m., Comfort Suites, Providentiales, Turks and Caicos.
The plan was for me to be picked up at the Cap-Haitien airport at 9 a.m.  Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men...

Going to Haiti for an extended stay means routines - pay the hydro in advance, put the phone on seasonal service and pay it in advance, prepare and deliver rent cheques for the upcoming year, deliver a cheque to the insurance rep., who will fill it out and notify me of premium.  Prepare and mail all tax receipts for donations received to date.  And of course some things just never go smoothly.  For example the eight automated phone calls I received informing me I had to be at home for a telephone service rep to come out and put the phone on suspension.  After three phone calls to the company, the automated messages continued and I left it in the hands of the universe.

Then the actual trip preparations: purchase supplies needed, pack, weigh suitcases, always mindful that Westjet (until Jan 2011) allows two suitcases, but Air Turks and Caicos only one at 50 pounds.  Any overage is $1USD per pound.  So contents of that second suitcase better be worth the amount charged.  I probably pack and weigh 4 or 5 times before I finally walk out the door at 6 a.m. Monday to meet the taxi I had booked the previous day.  I'm flying into Provo on a Monday as the Saturday flight is mayhem - 4 large carriers arriving within minutes of each other, creating long lines for customs, longer waits for luggage, and being jammed into a taxi van with 9 others, all going to different resorts, each person charged the same amount, $26USD. Monday proved to be not such a great idea, as traffic from Orangeville down to the airport was bumper to bumper, forcing the driver to take the toll road to arrive in decent time.

But I did arrive, printed my own bording pass (soo proud of that accomplishment), stowed luggage and settled in to wait.  As I sat in the lounge a young woman arrived with twins.  Of course I had to see them, had to ask how old (1 month) and complimented mom on her courage flying already.  But she was't going on a holiday - she was Haitian and her and her husband were returning to St. Marc where he is a pastor.  We switched to Kreyol, making me feel at home already.  I didn't see them after boarding but the flight was smooth, as was the customs line.  Same crowded taxi but no hardship.

By 3:45p.m. I was settled in.  As the hotel in Provo has wifi in the rooms, I decided to check emails before heading out to purchase potable water.

One new email, from the airline, time stamped 3:37p.m.  It reads "Good afternoon, please be advised that flight PLS/CAP has been cancelled due to CIVIL UNREST in Cap-Haitien. Please call to rebook".

You must be kidding.  And of course no one was in the office to answer my call, nor did my email receive a reply.  So I kept the taxi reservation for 6:30 this morning and went to the airport.  The airport in Cap is closed, I was told.  Call us.  Yes, and someone will really answer?  No thank you, I asked to speak to someone who could help.  I don't travel with money to burn.  The manager arrived about 8:30 and very gently said that this was an act of God (news to me) so the airline would not provide vouchers or reimburse any expenses incurred.

So I am back in room 103.  Thank goodness it had not been cleaned, it feels a bit like home with my half gallon of potable water waiting.

This is when I realize how necessary the internet and inverter/solar set up are for our home in Cap-Haitien.  I cannot reach the staff.  The phone doesn't ring in.  Auguste would have to go to town to find a functioning cybercafe to find out what is happening. From the sound of it, going into town is not such a good idea right now.  Being self contained once again is the goal.  That has become the priority.

I will make the best of this enforced stay.  I would rather be home in Cap but it will come.  We have endured frequent "Civil Unrest".  Let me know if you have any further information and I will do the same.  As the Haitians say "Demen si dye vle" (to-morrow, God willing).

Will update asap.


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