Two scary travel stories
Travelling isn't always good times and fun stuff. Travellers sometimes experience horrible situations that are beyond their control.
I can only think of two situations that really shook me and made me apprehensive about certain things.
The most recent situation happened in 2005, on my way to my grand-father's funeral.
I had travelled from Ottawa. A long, tiring trip: bus from Ottawa to Montreal to NYC, plane to Port-au-Prince and another flight to Port-Salut.
I should have asked to get off the plane when I realized that the co-pilot spun the propeller to get the plane started. I should have opt out of that flight when I realized how small the plane was, the smallest I've ever been on so far (and, I hope, I'll ever be on). I should have asked about the plane before heading to the airport.
Out of the 10 people on the plane, this number includes the pilot and co-pilot, 6 of them were my family members. The universe conspired to get me on that plane. There weren't enough room in the cars for everyone. Plus, there were floods in the South, and we weren't certain about the state of the roads. Making sure that at least part of the family made it to the funeral was important. Hence having a group of us flying to Les Cayes and then driving to Port-Salut.
I still feel like I drew the short straw.
The small plane jolted into the air. It was loud. The wind. The sound of the propeller. But we were silent. If you've ever met my family, you know that we are a cheerful, loud, talkative bunch. Especially when we're hanging out together. Our silence was heavy, we exchanged looks. There were a few bouts of nervous laughter. Hubs and I held hands. I remember squeezing his fingers.
The oddest thing was that one of my aunties had a smile on her face during the entire flight.
We felt the plane drifting towards the northern coast of the southern peninsula. I remember thinking that we hopped on the plane to Jérémie by mistake. When the wind let go of the plane, the pilot corrected our course. My heart dropped.
I began to think about the flight back and doubted that I'd be able to.
When we landed, we hurried out of the plane. Firm ground. I felt as though I was holding my breath since we left Port-au-Prince. We all spoke at the same time. Relief was the common sentiment.
My auntie still had a smile on her face. We asked her why. "At least we would have died in the presence of a good looking man." She nodded in the co-pilot's direction.
My cousin (her daughter) and I exchanged a look and laughed. We didn't have the energy to discuss her shallowness.
Leave it to my aunt to spot a good looking man while on the cusp of death.
The other situation also involves Port-Salut. But it took place in the late 80s.
My mom thought it would be cool to boat to the beach (Pointe Sable) instead of walking there. She hired two fishermen to take us (her, my sister, my mom's friend and her 2 kids, one of my childhood friends who's a Port-Salut native) via boat. A boat similar to the ones pictured. We made it to the beach OK, and had an awesome day. On the way back, the weather was miserable. It was windy and the waves had grown in intensity and height. I started to be scared when one of the fishermen started to pour water out of the boat using a kwi (half of a calabash). The kid who came with us without her parents got sea sick. Meanwhile, on the beach pictured, our grandparents were feverishly waiting for us to come back. As fishermen started to come ashore, my grandparents asked about the boat with the women and the kids. The only news they got was that only one boat remained in the ocean. That boat was having a hard time, they said. We made it to shore when things calmed down a little. Grann forbade my mom to ever pull a stunt like that. "Do whatever you want with your life, don't risk theirs." My Grann was something. (I say was, but she's still alive. She's just no longer herself.) What's your scariest travel experience?