My MtbAyiti Experience (Part 1) by Brian Cowie

(**This is the first in a series by Brian Cowie exploring his journey throughout Haiti**)

Day 1 – Travel

My trip to Haiti started on Sunday January 27th and ended on Monday the 28th. I left Vancouver Sunday afternoon and arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Monday morning. As I stepped off the plane I was immediately greeted by the heat and humidity of the Caribbean Island. The ride from the airport was chaotic. The traffic was crazy and there seemed to be no order; lots of trucks and small motorbikes with as many as three passengers. The roads were a real mess with potholes everywhere.  Our first stop was the Oloffson Hotel where everyone had been staying for the past few days. Here I met up with my tandem partner Eric Miller from Pueblo, Colorado.  Eric was here as the medical director and also my tandem pilot. The Oloffson, built in the 1800’s, is a historic landmark in Haiti. It was a favourite destination for a number of celebrities including Jacqueline Onassis and Mick Jagger.

Photo of the outside of a hotel

The Oloffson

Photo of the inside lobby with a white stair case

The Oloffson

Photo of the bar inside the hotel

The Oloffson

Image of the mural painted on the inside wall of the hotel

The Oloffson

close up of the mural on the wall in the hotel

The Oloffson

From there we headed to the Plaza Hotel where we would stay for the nest three days. A nice North American style hotel, I heard that it used to be a Holiday Inn. One of the first people I met after Eric was Hans “No Way” Rey, www.HansRey.com. He is a legend in the sport of trails.

Photo of Hans riding a biek down the side of a mountain.

Hans “No Way” Rey

The rest of the day was basically spent meeting the other riders, staff, organizers and video crews who had arrived. About half had already arrived here and the other half would be arriving on Tuesday. More to come…

Photo of a swimming pool

A luxury that would soon be a distant memory…

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