We arrived near the Champs de Mars in central Port-au-Prince a little after six for our night of music and light-soaked adventure at Carnival. Given the fact that there are very few tourists in Haiti, we had hired an additional security person for the night to help us arrive safely at our stand where we would watch the festivities from above. I admit that I was a little nervous about getting to the stand safely as the streets were already packed with people and getting across the street proved daunting.
We lined up in single file, placing our cameras and anything of value inside our shirts and wormed our way into the mayhem of a crowd-filled street. It wasn’t as bad as I anticipated but knew as time went by, the streets would only get more crowded and getting out of Carnival would be a challenge. But I decided to not think of it at the time and simply embrace the experience.
We made it across the street to the entrance of the Minister of Tourism stand, where we passed through a group of armed guards who insured we had our Minister of Tourism Carnival t-shirts on and a wristband. If you didn’t have one on, you were not let in.
The stand was already crowded with people and we found a crammed spot in the front overlooking the street below. By standing on a chair, I got a bird’s-eye view of the festivities and realized that it would never have been possible to attend Carnival if we weren’t in a stand. The streets were so crowded that it resulted in a lot of pushing and shoving and I’m shocked that more fights didn’t break out. The atmosphere was festive but intense. There were smiles across the faces but unfortunately my amateur photographic skills especially capturing movement and night scenes do not depict it.