11 August 2011

More than first travel blues

I don't remember where I found this photo, but it's one of my favorites of live revived in PaP
I recently read an article by the Frugal Traveler about the 'blues' typically faced by travelers on the first day, when you're bumbling around in a new city, not understanding the language, and nothing seems to be going right.  I have certainly faced those times, but typically it just gets better and, as he concludes, it's these 'trying out' times that make one feel actually familiar with a new place.

I can't help but think how different visiting Port-au-Prince for the first time.  It will likely be filled with a certain level of confusion and discomfort, but not because of the typical traveler's dilemmas.  Instead, it is the first-hand experience of a havoc only read about in the news or heard about second-hand.  Some say it's horrible, lamenting the slowness of recovery.  Others say it's a beautiful place - and my, how the beaches are lovely!  (A Haitian woman told me this, and I smiled.  Maybe next time?)

I'm actually tired of using the word 'disaster' because it is a term devoid of hope, although there are few alternative ways to phrase it without resorting to euphemisms.  But who knows what my first reaction will be?  I asked one of my friends how to mentally prepare.  She told me to be ready for some level of shock, but that it would be individual to the person.

So I won't get lost because I will always be with a driver or someone who knows their way around.  I might not get to wander the city at night because of a 10pm curfew and safety measures.  I will meet other travelers, but not ones who somehow "stumbled upon" the destination but rather those who came knowing they were risking their lives to a certain extent.  Will it be overly somber?  Exuberant in the resilience?  It's hard to say now, with two feet firmly planted on American soil.

I'll let you know tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment