Updated: Jan 11, 2022
The time to leave is set for 5:00 but I straggle in at 5:10, discouraged with my backpack full of schoolwork and tired from driving and shopping. So we kill another hour just hanging out and getting spiffed up in coordinating clothes.
If you are lucky enough to live in Port au Prince, you have to learn to think of sitting in traffic as part of the experience... A side show of interesting clothing fashions, inventive ideas for accomplishing tasks, and appalling driving habits.
The restaurant gate is locked, and after some vigorous pounding, then listening at the keyhole, Zèzè ascertains that it will remain closed until after the first of next year. He does not seem concerned tho, and announces that he likes adventures, and we'll just drive another hour to the top of a mountain. There's a restaurant there that overlooks Port au Prince.
We put it in the GPS since he has only been there twice, and as usual it says over an hour to drive 23 km. Soon we are hopelessly lost in some back streets of Petion-Ville... We back track a few times, ask random bystanders, and end up in the middle of a market. I drool at the nice veggies... Big heads of lettuce and mountains of bright green parsley... They're still out selling at 7:30! Our windows are down now... The tint is too dark and the lights are too dim... And it's wonderfully cool! The smell of fried chicken makes me hungrier. We dead end in the middle of the many veggies and a bystander says the road we're trying to take is washed out. Zèzè has been making comments for some time about how GPS is good some countries, but Haitians have to be smart enough to know the roads. Finally after talking to a few more passersby at various places, we give up and pay a moto driver in a coral hoodie to guide us there. I relax and enjoy the ride after that... Around curves with the sides of the road forming rock walls, past fancy houses, to an overlook.
It's cold and I wish for a hoodie. This restaurant looks way out of our league... Fancy tablecloths, a solemn, masked waiter, and a few Europeans quietly talking French. It's all so beautiful and CLEAN... No dust and smoke and Port au Prince grime. I order an expresso shot right away to warm up, and we look down over our city... Find the airport which is close to our house, the ocean, and the lake at Fonds Paresien. There are elegant pots of bamboo everywhere, some sort of thorny woody bush with beautiful pink flowers and some beautiful green and pink foliage that I would love to steal cuttings from. (Me: If I had a few leaves from that plant I could make it grow in our yard. Him: shakes head... Girls are so crazy. Me: Well, at least they like simple things, when you see something and want it it's usually something that costs money! Him: Yes, but the things I want, they have real value!) 😂 Yup, hubs... Thanks for showing me reality!
He has some sort of fish which I usually steer clear of in Haiti. And I have shrimp fettuchinni alfredo so as to get both shrimp and cheese. I promptly dump all the extra parmesan in with it and Zèzè thinks my food is better than his. I promptly start bragging and tell him I used to make it all the time in the states and when I try to make it here the only problem is I don't have enough butter and cheese. And I tell him that he won't ever know my value as a cook until he takes me to visit United States. And then I proceed to take it one step too far... (Me: Every country has its food and if you're not in that country it's really hard to get the food to taste right. Like if your mom went to United States it would be hard for her to make Haitian food that tasted right. Him: If my mom had everything that was in the United States to cook with, her food would be even better!) Yes... I know you were raised by a superwoman and I admire her just like you do. 😜 And maybe I do have doubts that she could be quite as at home in an American kitchen as here, but I'll keep them to myself!
And too soon is time to come down... But our gate and neighborhood are familiar friends now, and it feels so right to pull up and park, say goodnight to my plants, and go to bed... Those hours are gifts from God. I think we all get some like that, evenings or days that are too perfect to imagine. So we just look for them, enjoy them, and then remember them.