Even now, I’m sure, so much of Haiti is breathtakingly beautiful. There is something of an upside to the country not having had enough money or cachet to get utterly overdeveloped and paved over. The mountains up above Miragoane, for instance, with their breezes that arrive from both sides of land, are cool, misty, piney, and clear-skied; meanwhile I’m sure that many of the little pocket beaches along the southern coast near Jacmel are still as magically warm and blue and seaweedy as I remember.
I’m sick to death of hearing about the ugliness of Haiti — and so much of the beauty goes beyond anything natural and is deeply cultural. There is, of course, the painting tradition for which Haiti is rightly famous, and the sequin art is something staggeringly rich and imaginative, especially the beaded flags with their overlays of Catholic and Vodou imagery. The language, too, is quick and sly in its varigated meanings — Kreyol is a language stitched through with idomatic sayings, aphorisms and little riddles and English, with its sawdusty seriousness seems emberassingly awkward and stilted– and frankly, poorly developed — in comparison.