But I know I am getting old because I HATE driving home afterward. My night vision is CRAP these days. But in my defense-- Haiti has a lot to do with it, for a number of reasons, which I will now list for your reading pleasure.
Why driving in Haiti at night is bad:
- It's dark. Which, you know, is bad everywhere at night, but I had to start somewhere. And honestly, it IS darker here, because no one has electricity. So there really isn't any light pollution helping to light the way.
- People in Haiti are outside a lot, and they too are dark. The combination of the dark night and the dark people makes it really tricky to see them.
- Lack of streetlights. (Combined with the previous two-- you get it.)
- Dust. The roads here are pretty bad, and very dusty. So there's a lot of dust kicked up in the process of driving. Headlights reflect off said dust.
- While, I am on the topic of headlights... Headlights. Some people don't have functioning headlights. So sometimes, people drive with their blinker on instead of their headlights. Not because they are turning, but because every few seconds, it will light their way. Some people have REALLY wack, out-of-alignment headlights, some people only have one headlight leaving you not sure if it's a car or moto approaching. Most people who DO have headlights think they can see better by constantly utilizing the "brights" setting. Which makes it a joy to drive with others around.
- Motos. Motos are everywhere in Jacmel. They weave in an out of traffic menacing others and causing wrecks.
- The "roads." I think the fact that I put the word "roads" in quotation marks should say enough. But since I like to over-communicate, here's three descriptors-- potholes, lack of lines, potholes. (Oh, and a fourth would be-- potholes.)
- Raras. It is not currently rara season now, but you still never know when you're gonna run into one. A cross between a "parade" and a "demonstration," these bad boys usually occur at night and make driving through them a bear. Plus there's the creepiness factor of them. Which is hard to put a finger on. But they are just kind of creepy.
- Police checkpoints. Now, let me say this-- the US has police checkpoints too. And they are not a bad thing. Just the police checking to make sure everything is on the up and up, your papers are good, etc. But it's kind of unnerving because the police around here carry shotguns. Which, in reality, probably aren't anyworse than like the glocks or whatever that the US police carry. But they are bigger, which makes them look creepier. There are way more of them in Port Au Prince than in Jacmel, and for some reason, in Jacmel they don't unnerve me like they do in Port. (Funny side story-- one time in Jacmel I was behind three UN trucks and then all of the soldiers came rushing out and pointing their guns and hollaring and whatnot. I was freaked out abut then I realized they were just doing some training exercise.)
- Okay, that's it for now. Can't think of anything else to say... I am sure I will think of more later.