Monday, May 08, 2006

Who are the people in your neighborhood?

Set this to Sesame Street music -
OH, who are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neeeeeiiiiigghborhooood, oh who are the people in your neighborhood --- the people that you meet, when you're walking down the street ... the people that you meet each day. (If you did not watch Sesame Street in the mid/late 70's maybe you don't know this song.)

The people that you meet when you're walkin down the street are WAY interesting here.

Recently we met a guy who owns/operates a paint store in Petionville. This is the area where almost all of the wealthy people in this country reside.

He was friendly enough and we are curious enough, so we asked him about himself.

He has a Finnish mother, a Moroccan father ---- he holds a passport from France but he has lived here in Haiti for twenty years. He speaks many languages.

He tells us all sorts of things. He knows where we live, he drives by our road on his way to his beach home. He knows our vet, he brings his attack Rotweillers to the same vet. He tells us where five good restaurants in Port au Prince are located, he says these are the only five worth visiting.

We stand in his fairly nice paint/interior design store in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and he offers us an Espresso. We accept and continue to chat.

After a little more small talk and pointing out the paint colors we are interested in purchasing he looks at the customer ahead of us in line and says "Hey, let me take a look at your gun."

The elite looking Haitian guy non-chalantly unzips his fanny pack and pulls out a serious looking hand gun.

The Moroccan, Finnish, French-Haitian store owner waves it around and checks it out, he opens the barrell and drops the bullet out onto the counter. We think how nice it would have been if he had done that PRIOR to waving it around.

We stand watching with mouths gaping open. There is nothing boring about this meeting. We finish our Espresso, take our paint and leave pleased with the experience.