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7259: the mysterious wonderfulness of Plezans (fwd)

From: Jedidiah <his_voidness@yahoo.com>

Yesterday, tuesday the 5 of March, I rode my Haitian
sport moto south from Okap to Plaisance and up to
the top of the morne.

Once past Vertierre the road opens up and traffic
is smooth. Most of the road is quite good. This
day was for putting some klicks on the moto,
to loosen it up with cooling off periods. Too 
much time has been spent in the city on this
new motor carrying a passenger. Not good for
break in.

On my last approach to Okap I was struck by the
mysterious wonderfulness of Plezans and wanted
to return with the freedom of stopping wherever
I liked to take photo.

Thru Limbe, which is not so awful when taken
slowly. There is a nice spot just south of
Limbe where a set of carved signs for the
"Petite Frere" point to a hounfour off the
road. This was a nice counterpoint to the abject
ruin of most voudou emplacement one sees nowadays.

Over the hill from Limbe to...Plezans. How has this
valley escaped from, or drug itself out of, the
pile of fatra and caca which most ville are entombed
in? The streets are clean, the curbs and gutters
the streets even have signs. The houses are old
country houses, freshly painted, Lakay voudou in the
center of la ville. The Cathedral is clean, the
and Adventist churches call themselves "temples".

This is some mysterious Disneyland of Haitian country
life, altho unseen by those needing such
Few foreigners pass thru here I'm sure, save an
occasional missionaire.

I had one roll of slow film left in my Lomo.

South of town the road climbs again, clinging to the
edges of the steep hills as it climbs to the pass
at Pilboro. All of the hillsides have terraces,
no mountainsides are being burnt down for chabon.
Beside the road on the mountainside are little
decorative iron sheds that look like bus stops.
They are brightly painted, ready for inclusion
in an animated story of ti-machann andeyo.

These are in fact marketplaces. I did not realize
it on the tap tap ride in. In one of them I stop
to take a photo of myself with mwen sport moto

Two young women suddenly appear from the steep path
beside the road, unloading jars of confiture.
The signs on the side of the enclosure begin to
make sense now. These are advertisments for
"produit 100% natiral", "li gou!" "Li bon!", "Li
produit lakay!".

I bought a jar of zorange konfit.

Going up the mountain I offer a ride to a young woman
who passed me at the produce stand. She asks me for
money for machin instead. I refuse this, figure that
she is Pe blan and start to leave. She calls me back
and mounts the back of my Jialing super 90 plis
sidesaddle. We serenely mount the hill where she
dismounts at the marketplace Pilboro. 

Pilboro is where the majik ends, being within the
baleful influence of Gonaive. The top of the hill
is scarred with gravel excavation and the marketplace
is trash strewn and chabon tainted.

After a short excursion on the side road towards the
Teleco towers on the mountaintop about a kilometer
I returned to Pilboro with another hitchhiker, 
a machete carrying mountain man on his way to market.

I bought un zed and kat fig from the market women,
who were wondrously tickled to have a foreigner
on a motorbike stopping to chat. This does not prevent
them from attempting to cheat me of course.

After about 15 minutes, showing the pipe smoking maman
machann my tabak and mwen pip, the young woman whom
I brought up the montagn showed up. 
I asked her "ou pare?, ou tourne?". Wi, she replied.
Ok, monte, and she gets on sidesaddle again.
"Mwen choufer, sa taxi" I explained to the bemused
marketeers, who were then thrilled and excited by
the idea.

We left, cruising slowly down the mountain, the
powerful super 90 plis loafing along at 30 klicks
in 4th gear, dodging the holes in the road with
effortless arcs. What a pleasant ride down the hill.
We slow at the konfit stand, calling out to the girls
there "li gou! li bon!" laughing along our way.

Soon I figure out that 'kenpe la' means she wants off.
Ok, she says 'muchos gracias', never having believed
that an american would be behaving thusly.

I raced down the hill from there, gravity lending
its assitance to my sport moto haitian. The brakes
are just about strong enough to stop me solo, and
I flow thru the sharp bends, snicking cleanly thru
the gears back into top. This thing could actually
use another gear between 3rd and 4th.

On the straights I reach a thrilling 65 kilometers
per hour, the valves starting to float. Perhaps
my clutch is slipping at full chat? Dunno.
I'll worry about that tomorrow.

Back into Plaisance, the center of rural beauty 
en Hayti. How is it that such a place exists amid
all the depression and apathy of poverty?

Sunburned and tired, I took a nap in a field just
south of Akul du Nord. Overlooking the fields
the swamp land set by the baie de accul, I fell asleep
to the sound of cows in the field and one hard working
tree butcher cutting limbs off a large cottonwood
with a machete.

Today I am sunburned and my clutch cable sticks.
I'll try to figure out how to lubricate it.
Perhaps the clutch itself is not bad.
I have 350 klicks on the Jialing super 90 plis now,
and had a good day.


J David Lyall,
AKA His Voidness, or Soy Devoid

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