Thursday, October 19, 2006

All Hat No Cattle - Part Deux

pos·tur·ing - v.
1. To assume an exaggerated or unnatural pose or mental attitude; attitudinize.
2. To assume a pose.

Better explained as, All hat, no cattle. (When someone talks big, but cannot back it up.)

The longer we live here, the more we learn about posturing. It is the key to getting things done here. As long as you act in charge, well then ... you are in charge. Troy need only keep his head high and act informed, and voila he is in fact informed and in command. Even though he is not a Canadian Ambassador, he can fool most of those around him into believing he knows what he is doing.

This is a borrowed trick. It's the Haitian way. Whoever seems the maddest, gets their way. Whoever drives the most aggressive gets where they're going fastest. Whoever best intimidates other people, gets to be the boss of the village. It is all about posturing. We cannot get away with it nearly as well as they can. But, at least we have figured out the system. That is helpful.

Our friends, Jamie and Sharon are coming Saturday. They are well-traveled individulas. Sharon grew up an M.K. in Africa and Guatemala. They are both Doctors. They were just in India working a few months ago. The point is, they're smart, worldly-wise kind of people. Knowing that about them, this is the airport advice Troy sent them. Save this for when you visit. (You ARE visiting, right????)

Hi guys-
You’ll exit the airplane down the stairs, proceed to your left along with the crowd through a doorway into the polebarn/airport. The flock will be going down a hall and then turning left into a room with lines forming at four or five wooden booths for passport checks. Hop in line, defend your position, and forget about respecting “personal space bubbles”. Lines in Haiti are a proving ground. It’s a very Darwinian test of survival.

Anyway, when it’s your turn, just hand the agent (who is underpaid and doesn’t give a darn) your passport and form from the airplane. They’ll look at you disapprovingly and stamp a few papers and your passport. They will give you your customs claim form and a green card inside of your passport and send you on your merry way. Keep the green card – you’ll need it to exit the country.

Head for the baggage claim area – it is on your left after the booth stamp experience.
Enter the area and act like you own the place to avoid being accosted by desperate guys trying to make money by finding your bags. (It’s really not that bad.) At this point one of my peeps (Alexis, or myself) should accost you instead, and help you get your bags. There is a guy who checks your baggage tickets against your claim stickers on the folder from the airlines as you enter the line to get out. Then after you fight for your life in that line ;) someone will look at your customs declarations form before they let you exit and pass the tables on the left side with customs officials. Just sail on by them and don’t make eye contact. Remember, you own this place. There will be an immediate turn to your right after the customs tables…down a short hallway, and then to the left out the doors to the waiting area where we will give you a shout out from the crowd. Alexis or myself will get your bags past all the other guys fighting to help with your bags and to our truck. I’ll take care of the necessary bribing/fighting after that. Just go with the flow. It’s ridiculous, but totally harmless. ~Troy