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9657: RE: 9648: What a difference a couple of months can make! (fwd)

From: Pascal Antoine <pascal.antoine@verizon.net>

Despite jitters from flying during these trying times, I recently  got
back from a brief trip to Haiti. Although I travel there often, I opted
not to go during the summer months since ticket prices were unusually
high.  After September 11th, I was apprehensive, but decided to take my
chances (Anecdote: As it turns out, my return trip was the night before
flight 587 went down. I shudder when I realize I was on the same airline
and possibly even the same plane!) For the benefit of everyone in this
group, I'd like to mention the positive changes I've seen between my
previous trips and the most recent one. 

My previous trips (from the summer of 2000 to May 2001), were marred by
a constant fear of 'zenglendos', and street rioting due to the political
tensions of the time. One of my flights had even been cancelled due to
political unrest and, whenever I finally got to Port-Au-Prince, the
friend I was staying with refused to let me venture out on my own for my
own safety. Port-Au-Prince streets, which were usually bustling during
the daytime, were eerily empty by 8pm. We were always home by 6pm and I
don't remember ever staying up past 9! My most vivid memory of these
visits was driving down Delmas 31 early one morning and running into
curious onlookers who were hunched over the bodies of two zenglendos who
were killed earlier that morning by local police; a failed street
merchant robbery. 

What a stark contrast all of this was to my most recent trip! The
Airport Road (Rout Aeopò), which had been under construction for so
long, had made dramatic progress. Substantial portions were well paved,
and even had traffic lights that people were actually stopping for! I
routinely hung out with friends until 3 or 4am at well attended
Petionville bars and clubs like "Limelight" on Rout Frer. The "Lavil"
area around Champs de Mars and the National Palace had been recently
renovated and proudly displayed well trimmed grass and comfortable
benches. I also rented an SUV and, this time, my friend had no problem
with me coming and going as I pleased. Best of all, zenglendos were
nowhere to be found due to the government's Zero Tolerance policies.
People in general seemed more relaxed than during any of my previous
trips. What a difference a couple of months can make.

As pleasant as this was, I know that as quickly as things changed for
the better, they can change right back!

Pascal Antoine
http://www.HaitiXchange.com  <--Newly Redesigned!
Peyi Nou Pap Tonbe!