Skip Navigation

Port au Prince: Street Photography

Community Highlights Photography Port au Prince: Street Photography

Today is set aside for some street photography; again to compensate for the fact that last time we came many of the streets in Port au Prince were out of bounds for security issues surrounding the political demonstrations taking place at the time.

Bus Station

We start the day at the bus station, to see some of the many painted buses that are unique to Haiti. The chassis is imported (mostly from the US), whereas the body work and decorations are added here to create the ubiquitous Haitian style; with popular themes featuring religion, history, politics and local celebrities.

large_Painted_Buses_2.jpg

large_Painted_Buses_4.jpg

large_Painted_Buses_5.jpg

large_Painted_Buses_7.jpg

large_Painted_Buses_13B.jpg

The bus station also houses one of numerous street markets found in and around Port au Prince. With jobs being scarce, selling what little they can helps to supplement family income. There always seem to be way more stall holders than customers though, and most vendors sell very similar stuff.

large_Bus_Station_1.jpg

large_Bus_Station_2.jpg

large_Bus_Station_3.jpg
I love this guy's T-shirt slogan:

Eat a little pig
Take a little swig
Do a little jig

large_Bus_Station_Pharmacy_1.jpg
Mobile pharmacy

Marché de la Croix des Bossales – the Slave Market

Situated in the place where the slaves arrived in Haiti, the Marché de la Croix des Bossales is the biggest market in Haiti and one of the largest in the Caribbean.

large_Street_Sce..u_Prince_14.jpg

large_Street_Sce..u_Prince_16.jpg

large_Street_Sce..u_Prince_18.jpg

Today parts of the market are a chaotic mess, a huge jumble of second-hand clothes imported from the US for resale.

large_Dockside_Market_9.jpg

large_Dockside_Market_12.jpg

The import of second-hand clothes has all but killed the once-thriving tailor businesses in Haiti, as it is much cheaper to buy used clothing than to have items made for you by a craftsman. The few remaining tailors now specialise in uniforms and alterations.

large_Dockside_Market_13.jpg

large_Dockside_Market_14.jpg

After commenting on how we seem to be as much of attraction to the locals as they are to us, Serge replies: “They don't see many foreigners, I never bring tourists here, only you!” I take that as a compliment.

large_Dockside_Market_1.jpg

large_Dockside_Market_2.jpg

large_Dockside_Market_3.jpg

large_Dockside_Market_4.jpg

Pouchard drives slowly past the market stalls for me to carry out my 'trademark' drive-by-shootings (photographically speaking only, of course). Given the almost-stationary traffic, this is not a difficult task.

large_Dockside_Market_5.jpg

large_Dockside_Market_8.jpg

large_Dockside_Market_16.jpg

large_Dockside_Market_17.jpg

large_Dockside_Market_23.jpg

Livestock Market

Since the earthquake, cattle is rarely seen at the markets in Haiti, these days it is mainly goats and chickens for sale.

large_Goat_and_Pig_Market_1.jpg

large_Goat_and_Pig_Market_2.jpg

large_Goat_and_Pig_Market_5.jpg
Never sleep under a defecating goat

A somewhat deranged woman gets most upset about me taking pictures, thinking I am photographing her. She does not calm down despite Serge's reassurance that I am only interested in pictures of the animals, and continues to shout obscenities even after the other workers try to calm her down.

large_Goat_and_Pig_Market_4.jpg

We make a swift exit before she gets over-exited, photographing the pigs on the way out. They don't seem to object to having their photo taken.

large_Goat_and_Pig_Market_8.jpg

large_Goat_and_Pig_Market_9.jpg

large_Goat_and_Pig_Market_11.jpg
How to transport your live goats

Slums

Leaving the port area, we travel through some serious slums.

large_Street_Sce..u_Prince_20.jpg

large_Downtown_Slums_1.jpg

large_Downtown_Slums_2.jpg

large_Downtown_Slums_3.jpg

The area may be a ramshackle shanty-town, but their immediate surroundings are mostly tidy and I am impressed at how the residents have made the most of their situation and tried to brighten up their surroundings with a few plants.

large_Downtown_Slums_4.jpg

Bel Air

Serge takes us up in the hills for a better view of the sprawling market below. The Bel Air area is said to be a notorious hot spot of crime and poverty.

large_Bel_Air_1.jpg

According to Wikipedia, Bel Air is a “slum area of the city... Crime is widespread, and kidnappings and killings have created panic among the local population.... the murder rate in Bel Air reached 50 murders per 100,000 residents ”

The British Government doesn't have a much better view of the place either:
“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to the ... Bel Air neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince due to the risk of criminal activity”.

That's OK then.

large_Bel_Air_2.jpg

Raram No Limit

We meet a local celebrity: the main man behind the band Raram No Limit.

large_Ra_Ram_San_Limite_1A.jpg

He shows us some of the street art he and others have painted to brighten up the neighbourhood.

large_Street_Art_Bel_Air_12.jpg

large_Street_Art_Bel_Air_11.jpg

large_Street_Art_Bel_Air_10.jpg

large_Street_Art_Bel_Air_4.jpg

Central Market

We head for one of the many other markets in town, to look for a belt for David. The market is crowded, with mud and debris everywhere and some interesting stalls.

large_Central_Market_4.jpg

large_Central_Market_5.jpg

large_Laptop_Shop_1.jpg

The beauty of shopping in a place like this is that you don't have to go to the vendors, they come to you.

large_Central_Ma.._Belt_Man_1.jpg

More Street Art

David gets his belt, and we return to the down-town area of Port au Prince for some more street art, this time on the walls of the fence surrounding the University.

large_Street_Art..niversity_6.jpg

large_Street_Art..niversity_9.jpg

large_Street_Art..iversity_11.jpg

large_Street_Art..iversity_14.jpg

large_Street_Art..iversity_20.jpg

Lunch

After taking a lot of ribbing over the last week from my Facebook friends about always posing with a drink in my hand, I decide to prove that I don't normally have alcohol at lunchtime.

large_Look__No_Drink_1.jpg
Look, no drink!

large_Fresh_Lime_Juice.jpg
Only fresh lemon juice

It doesn't seem to convince my friends much though.

large_No_Alcohol_at_Lunchtime_1.jpg

large_No_Alcohol_at_Lunchtime_2.jpg

large_No_Alcohol_at_Lunchtime_3.jpg

large_No_Alcohol_at_Lunchtime_4.jpg

Packing

Time to get ready for the return to the UK. Packing shouldn't take long, although we need to ensure the new mask goes in the case first and everything else can be wrapped around it. There is only one 'slight' problem – the sculpture – who we have named Ram Ram – is way too big for the bag. Oops. It didn't look that big when I bought it....

large_Ram_Ram_2.jpg

The guys on the hotel reception kindly let us have some newspapers and cellotape to wrap him in, but it soon becomes apparent that he needs more, especially if he is to travel in the cargo hold of the plane.

large_Ram_Ram_3.jpg

I send a text to Jackie, our local agent Voyages Lumiere, asking her where I can get some bubble wrap, and less than an hour later her driver Pouchon turns up at our hotel with a huge roll of the stuff! Now that is what I call great customer service!

large_Ram_Ram_4.jpg

I think Ram Ram is now ready for his journey of a life-time to his forever home in England.

Drinks and Dinner

Just to keep my Facebook friends happy (believe that and you believe anything), we order some 'proper' pre-dinner drinks: Plaza punch (with plenty of rum) and some white wine.

large_Plaza_Punc.._White_Wine.jpg

Everyone makes sure their cocktails match their outfit for the night, right?

large_Grete_with_Plaza_Punch.jpg

After an interesting dish of chicken in red wine and vanilla sauce, it is time to say goodnight as we are getting up very early tomorrow morning for our flight home.

large_Chicken_wi..nilla_Sauce.jpg

Thank you to Voyage Lumiere for yet another fantastic holiday in Haiti. You guys are the best!

large_4BD89330F9796BDD238FD294E4CE33A3.jpg

This featured blog entry was written by Grete Howard from the blog Grete's Travels.
Read comments or Subscribe

Travellerspoint's guide to Haiti provides more information on the country for those interested in visiting

By Grete Howard

Posted Tue, Dec 06, 2016 | Haiti | Comments