Max in Haiti

You want me to go where?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


The streets of Port-au-Prince just got a whole lot more dangerous. A roaming menace has hit the streets and threatens every driver, passenger and passer-by. His car is old and decrepit and his tires are bald. He rolls with the windows down because his a/c is busted. Discordant sounds emanate from the interior’s worn-out stereo. He scans the streets with his beady eyes searching for his way among the mass of humanity and machines and changes directions erratically, a drunken sailor in an ocean of people. In the early morning and at dusk, beware Port-au-Prince ! Max is on your streets.

That’s right, I am now the not-so-proud owner of what was once a 1993 Isuzu Rodeo, or so I am told. To see how this purchase fits into the evolution of my life, please refer to the chart below:

But it is great to have some measure of freedom once again. And the streets of Port-au-Prince are actually a blast to drive, what with no traffic laws in effect whatsoever. You jostle for position with UN troop carriers, try to dodge pedestrians, stray dogs and potholes the size of craters and overtake pick-ups loaded with dozens of passengers. So far I have seen one working stoplight, which seemed to fulfill its purpose by stopping drivers through sheer curiosity more than respect for the traffic code.

Of course buying a car was no simple procedure. While finding a car to purchase is not too hard, that is only the start of a process now on its third week. And I’m still not technically the legal owner. Or acknowledged user. As far as I can tell I’m more of a formal borrower. That is until I obtain a Haitian driver’s license. But first I must be granted a fiscal ID number, which can only be granted after receiving a valid residency card, a document whose delivery must be preceded by notarized attestations from the Embassy, my employer and the Ministry of Immigration. I fully expect to be a legal driver in the spring of 2009.

The other big news is that I will be moving to an apartment this Friday (the move was delayed for five days) so that by this weekend I will be fully settled in. Pictures will definitely follow.

‘til next time,



Blogger Nick said...

Whaddup Yo! C'est Nique-olas, and I wanted to wish you a happy New Year and a very happy upcoming Tet. I'm glad to see you've stolen your first vehicle, and the Isuzu is quite a catch! Mine survived three years of hard chinese delivery driving and various college experiments resulting in an odd mixture of persistent smells embedded within the cloth seats.. Nonetheless, those cars are built like a brick merde house. Anyway, glad to see you are doing well, give a call when you get back in town! Stay safe,

11:40 PM  
Blogger KSoFM said...

nice, man. can't wait to see pics of the new crib. am about to sign a lease on a place in OC.

also, if you can get away, maybe we can hit vegas in may for oscar v. floyd junior

2:25 PM  
Blogger tradebabe said...

Hi - this is Mariano's mother. your little friend misses you. I AM NOT KIDDING - he talks to you on the phone daily! His conversations go like this "max,,hee-yoooo, max, max, hee-yoo." Further, I was ordered to sing a song about Max last night. It went something like "i love max, he is my friend, till the end. So, please help out my son with some appropriate words that rhyme with Max in order to improve the lyrics.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Max said...

I should track down the lyrics of "Max Likes to Talk About France" by the Joe Swanson Experience. Maybe Nick has a copy of the track.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Actually, the song is online at: (just find the track on the player).

4:15 PM  

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