A September 1991 trip
to Port au Prince by Robert Raymond Ingledew
Quote: I do not like to be negative, but some experiences can be really frustrating. I was visiting the island as representative of a non-profit organization, people had been advised, but no activities had been set up for my visit, no one was waiting for me at the airport.
I understand that I cannot judge a country by the way a dozen of persons took care of me, but when you read my final remark you will understand why I believe that their way of handling things was representative. I had advised my trip some weeks in advance, and they had received my letter. The Association I was working for at that time was involved in the distribution of the Bible (I was their representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, and was normally 200 days in the year out of Argentina, but visited each single city about every two years. I had asked them to set up some churches for giving reports, a meeting with the pastors for informing them of our activity and looking for new members, some distributions of Bibles in schools. Nothing of this had been set up. I asked them to wait for me at the airport, in a country where French Creole is spoken, a language I do not know, but nobody was waiting for me. Fortunately an immigration officer kindly assisted me to get a taxi and asked him to take me to the Holiday Inn at Port au Prince, that was OK, and that I would classify as a 3-star hotel.
Once in the hotel I asked over the phone what activities had been set up for my visit, and the answer was: No activities, we thought that you were sightseeing. I reminded them that in my letter I had told them exactly what I wanted to do, and the answer was: "But your letter only arrived two weeks ago...", as if they had had no time to read it yet. What I saw a week later at another hotel gives a graphical picture. An American tourist arrived at the hotel with a taxi driver, who had been touring him over the island for the past week. The American had bought a gift for the taxi driver, but had it in his hotel room. The tourist was waiting for the taxi driver to come up the staircase to receive his gift, while the taxi driver was waiting for the American tourist to come downstairs to give it to him. They stared at each other about fifteen minutes, until finally the tourist, completely bored, threw the gift from his bedroom window, and the taxi driver picked it up.
Robert Raymond Ingledew
Villa Carlos Paz (Cordoba), Argentina