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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by flyingdutchman177, Nov 17, 2019.
New border crossing technique: just pin it!
That method only works when your bike has over 8 horsepower.
And I used to wonder why Americans get such a bad rap in foreign countries.
The DR diversion seems like a great concept!
No problem for a BNW or a KTM ..........Welcome to Haiti
Just about 50 meters across the border in to Haiti, we were stopped by 3 men standing in the road. They didn't have guns and they weren't in uniforms, but they made it clear we needed to stop. We had not cleared haitian immigration, so we needed to stop and get our passports stamped in to the country. One man spoke perfect English. He asked for our passports and bike paperwork. We quickly produced our passports and gave them the bill of sale from the dealer we bought the bikes from in DR. They were a bit confused and we tried to distract them from the fact we didn't have ownership documents and plates for our bikes. They asked why we had all the cameras and we told them that we were documenting our trip to show the world that Haiti was good. And with all the bad press in the news today about DR and Haiti, we wanted to show everyone that Haiti was a beautiful country to visit. We also told them that our plans were only to go to a nearby city and our trip in to Haiti would only be for a day. It probably would has been unwise to tell them we were going to ride all the way across the country to the capital- Port au Prince. This is where most of the demonstrations were taking place and where most of the deadly problems were occuring.
Rad told them that we wanted to show the world that the people from Haiti are good. He nodded his head and repeated Rad's words that the people of Haiti are good people. And then I added that Haiti also has beautiful women, they all laughed in agreement and gave me high fives. After that comment, he just had a big smile on his face and said......"Welcome to Haiti".
We were in!!!!
The only thing left was to get our passports stamped in. I went in first while Rad watched the bikes. I went in to the quiet immigration office. paid a $7 fee (not sure if it was legitimate or not but I didn't care). It was a small amount and I just wanted to get out of there before someone noticed that our bikes didn't have plates. When I walked out, Rad told me that some guy came up to him, not asked, but instead told him that he wanted money. And when Rad told him no, he put his thumb to his throat and moved it across his neck. In Haiti, they speak Creole and French......neither of which we speak. But this gesture is of course the international language for I am going to cut your throat.
This was our second "welcome" in to Haiti. It also represented the dichotomy of experiences that are represented here. One is a very friendly, welcoming person and the other is desperate person willing kill you for something you have .
Welcome to Haiti indeed.
Here we go. My 105th country in the past 8 years and my 114th in my lifetime.
BTW, Rad captured the whole border crossing episode on his helmet camera - all 15 minutes of the drama. And it is some awesome footage. We don't always get everything on camera. In fact, the best stuff seems to go unrecorded. But this time, I am glad he was able to capture the moment.
I need to figure out a way to post it......when I get the time.
Being complimentary to the countrys women is never a bad idea.
'The Great Escape' entry method reserved for next time?
Thanks for sharing.
You do have a YouTube channel, no?! And I'd like to see some video of this Haitian women.
Didnt you used to fly and shit? Im sure they had timetables as part of the curriculum......too many belgium beers
Imagine if you like vanilla ice cream but all there is is chocolate. You love ice cream and you can do without it...... for a while. But after a while, you develop a taste for chocolate when that is all there is.
After being in Haiti for a while, I can honestly say that I enjoy chocolate ice cream too. But still prefer vanilla when available.
Those stories coming up......or not.
Well put sir.
Who doesn't like ice cream?!
My ex wife
Yep. Worst I ever had was wonderful.
Here is a screen shot of the 3 men that stopped us on the Haitian side.
Once we got our passports stamped on the Haitian side, we were free to enter the country. We already were told we were welcome by some guys and other guy said he was going to slash our throats if we didn't give him some money.
So we were on high alert as we rode toward Cap Haitian and Milot.
The road was straight and had decent asphalt. We rode thru some little towns along the way. It was all sort of normal. No one seemed to notice us or care.
There was a little bit of traffic, mostly small motorcycles. No 2 strokes - only 4 strokes. Good thing we filled our oil tanks before we crossed in to Haiti.
We got to a junction in the road in a little over an hour or two. One way led to Cap Haitian and the other to the town of Milot. We wanted to visit Milot.
Arriving in Milot was surreal. It has a population of about 30,000 and it appeared that no one worked and everyone just hung out in the streets. There was very little traffic in town. People are very poor there. Not many people have a motorcycle, let alone a car. We had to ride through a crowd of men playing soccer in the street.
It was getting dark and we wanted to find a place to sleep. We didn't want to wild camp anywhere around the town. There were only 2 hotels in town that we could find. Both of which were empty. One wanted $50 a night and the other was priced at $100. This is crazy as you can find a nicer place in DR for $20. And they would not budge on their prices even though the rooms were empty. We asked a local guy if he could find us a home stay in town. We just needed a room with 2 beds. You would think that many people would offer a place to stay for the chance to make a few dollars. The only place we could find was an empty house. The owner wanted $50 for the two of us to share a room. We said no thank you.
This was our first lesson in Haiti. Prices were all over the place. It appeared that the refuge workers would pay what ever they were asking and the people are just greedy now. At least that is what I made of it. And this was a theme all over Haiti. We were asked to pay $50 for food that should have cost $2. And it was not uncommon to be asked for $5 to take a photo for us. And of course nearly everyone it seemed asked us for money without doing anything.
We were told that that it might be possible to sleep at the hospital in town. It was built with American money and we could ask there.
While Rad watched our bikes, I went in to the very secure compound where the hospital was. When I say secure compound, I mean it was guarded by guys with big guns and had a wall around the perimeter. After waiting for a while, I met with a man that was in charge of the hospital. I told him we were just looking for a safe place to hang up our hammocks for the night. He showed us a place around back that met our needs. It rained a bit that night so it was nice to have a cover over our heads. We had to moved some junk, old hospital equipment, a wheel chair, prosthetic legs and blood collection needles out of the way to hang up our hammocks, but it worked and we were happy.
We had a safe and secure place to sleep. Now it was time to go check out the town of Milot and find some dinner.
After securing our accommodations in Milot, we needed food and a beer. We quickly found a guide (actually he found us). People in Haiti want to be your guide in hopes they will receive some money from you. He led us to the only restaurant in town. And when i say "restaurant", I mean a place that sold food indoors. There were only a couple of tables inside and no customers. When we saw the prices, we had a good laugh. It was $10 to $20 for dinner.
We told our guide that we would be better off without his services.
Near the hospital was a local food market. It looked pretty dirty but it was pretty much our only other choice. We ordered some spaghetti with chicken. It was actually pretty good for $2. We ate our food curbside and then went into the heart of town for a beer.
We went all around looking for a Guinness but all the had was their local lager called Prestige. At least it is better than the beer in DR.
There were 3 bars in town. It is very confusing how much things cost. We don't speak the language and they just hold up some finger and say a number but we are never sure if its 5 dollars, 5 Gourde, 50 Gourde or 5 of something else.
The beers turned out to be $2. We thought it was for each but it was for the two. So good news in Haiti, the beer is cheap.
We drank our beers outside the bar to check out the street life in town. The country is so poor, it costs a days wage to buy a couple of beers. naturally we had a few people that asked us to buy them a beer. We just smiled and said no thank you.
The thing we were finding out about Haiti, is that country has been so reliant on foreign aid for so long, I thing the people had forgotten how to earn money for theirselves to improve their condition. We didn't give anyone money when they asked for it unless they had done something useful for us.
There was a little girl selling popcorn in little bags in the city square. I asked her how much a bag was. It took me a while to figure the price out, but when I found out it was 5 cents a bag, I gave her 50 cents, bought all 10 bags she had and then gave everyone one of them to all the kids playing in town. Probably perpetuated the notion that Westerners have money and will give you free stuff, but the kids weren't asking me to buy them the popcorn - so that's the difference. Plus it felt good too.
At the end of town is the Palais of San Souci. It was built about 150 years ago and now its ruins.
We headed back to the hospital and went to sleep in our hammocks. The next morning, visiting the Palace was on our first order of business. Of course, there were no tourist there to share the experience with. This made it priceless in more than one way
A short video at the Haitian border
Camping at the hospital in Milot Haiti
Holy shit this is an epic ride report!
Would you expect anything less from Ed?
There is another Unesco site in Milot called The Citadel. The massive stone structure was built by up to 20,000 workers between 1805 and 1820 as part of a system of fortifications designed to keep the newly independent nation of Haiti safe from French incursions. It was then abandoned 200 years ago this year.
I copied this text from wikipedia:
Near the entrance to Sans-Souci Palace, which is at the start of the trail to the Citadel, visitors may be asked to pay a small fee. Visitors are also encouraged to rent a horse for the uphill trek. The first portion of the 11 kilometre (7 mi) trail is navigable by 4WD vehicle, although infrequent landslides and construction projects sometimes make this unreliable. Numerous people live along the trail and sell souvenirs or drinks, such as fresh coconut juice, to travelers. Drinks are a necessity in the tropical heat. The trail is paved stone, generally smooth and in good condition.
About three-quarters of the way up from the parking lot, visitors must complete the final portion on horseback or on foot. The entire 11-kilometre (7 mi) trail, starting in Milot, is almost completely uphill, but can be walked by experienced hikers who carry plenty of water.
Rad and I wanted to ride our motorcycles all the way to the Citadel. We were repeatively told that it was "IMPOSSIBE". This made us want to try it even more.
The road itself is not difficult. It is very steep - especially for a couple of 100 cc two stroke bikes that make zero torque at anything less than 9000 rpms.
The people at the 3/4 mark told us it was impossible but we said we would have to try.
With a lot of clutch slipping and even running the bikes at full throttle with us pushing them and running along side them, we made it all the way to the top.
And what a sight it was. It was absolutely spectacular. And being the only tourist there, we were already beginning to fall in love with Haiti.
Made it to the top. We might be the first Westerners to ride our own motorcycles to the Citadel.
Stopped for a photo along the way up
Hundreds of 200+ year old cannonballs at the Citadel
The views are incredible from the top
Old cannons donated from many countries to protect the newly independent country safe from French invasion.
Only tourist around for miles
And best of all, we rode our BNW and KTM here