Cite-Soleil, Port au Prince Haiti — In the outskirts of Port au Prince, Haiti is Cite-Soleil (“Sun City”), a foul slum ruled by gangs and sitting in a pool of its own squalor. On a good day. Cite-Soleil has no sewage system and is composed largely of hovels. Garbage and shit sit in stagnant, mosquito-infested puddles. AIDS is prolific, and the life expectancy hovers in the low 50s, which is fantastic when comparing Cite-Soleil to places like Djibouti’s and its delightful 43 year average lifespan. Cite-Soleil’s motto is: well, at least we’re not Djibouti.
If you are planning on vacationing in Cite-Soleil, remember, there is no police force and for years vicious drug lords and kidnappers controlled the streets. According to the Red Cross, “the shanty town of Cite-Soleil is a microcosm of all the ills in Haitian society: endemic unemployment, illiteracy, non-existent public services, insanitary conditions, rampant crime and armed violence.”
Cite-Soleil weathered Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake well, with many of its structures still standing, but the nearby National Penitentiary was damaged, and 3,000 deadly inmates flooded out in the resulting chaos. They returned to Cite-Soleil with a vengeance, riding motorcycles with assault rifles at the ready. They burned all their arrest records and took back the slum, setting back the progress made by the United Nations. Whoops!
Being a tropical location, the weather Cite-Soleil is generally warm and humid. If you happen to be there when there is an earthquakes or a hurricane, you can be certain that you will die. And who doesn’t like that kind of certainty in such an uncertain world?