Travels through Hispaniola
“Why are you
everyone asked when I told
them I was heading to Haiti, along with a stop in the Dominican
Republic, affectionately known as the DR.
are you going with?”
was the next question, eyebrows furrowed
“Who do you know
down there?” the puzzled
“No one yet,
but I will
soon,” I replied.
Thanks to a website
called couchsurfing.org, I have a network of
millions of friends waiting to be made, couches and beds and floors
waiting to be sampled. The site is a community of big-hearted
adventurers across the planet who offer up free accommodations and an
insider’s view of their homeland in exchange for the good
spent when said traveler makes his or her own journey into parts
unknown. I have stayed with couchsurfers in Amsterdam, Rio, and even my
home city of Washington, DC when I returned from travels homeless and
friends’ couches were occupied.
was a target for
several reasons. First and foremost, I had enough frequent flier miles
to get to the Caribbean, and Haiti was one of just a handful of
French-speaking countries I could access. Curiosity about such an
island with two such different halves: one Spanish-speaking, on a
decent path to development, pulling more tourism dollars than any other
nation in the region, lush, green and baseball-crazed – the
Francophone, the poorest in the Western hemisphere, untouched by
tourism (for better or worse), deforested, and nutty about soccer.
Or so it is portrayed.
irony of the contrast in standard of living is the fact that Haiti was
the first and only nation to be founded by revolting slaves, and
actually was called upon by the Dominican people – and a host
peoples throughout the region -- to help free their people from Spanish
on the stories below to read about my couch-surfing adventures from
Santo Domingo to Port au Prince. Note that all names have been changed
to protect the innocent...
Domingo, the City that's Forced to Sleep
PAWA: Aero Talvez
Port au Prince
& the Johnny Appleseed of Couchsurfing
installments to come soon...