Week of October 26-November 2, 1995
Subterranean rafting in New Zealand
Finding voodoo ceremonies in Haiti
Q: I will be spending a week windsurfing in the Dominican Republic and would like to take a one- to two-day trip to Haiti, preferably by train. While in Haiti, I would like to expose myself to one or more voodoo ceremonies. Can you advise?
A: Before you go, be aware that political instability and crime still make culturally rich Haiti a dicey, even dangerous travel destination. Nonetheless, if you're intent on partaking in a drum-beating voodoo ceremony, your best bet is to let the people at your hotel know, and if you're lucky, a convincing ritual will be mysteriously arranged. Try the storied Grand Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince, a Caribbean-gothic oasis of civilization amidst the chaos that's popular with Haiti's few foreign visitors. They offer weekly performances mimicking voodoo's rhythms and moves, though not its religious fervor. The bottom line is that voodoo ceremonies are generally private affairs, so if you want to observe them, you'll need to befriend (or pay) a local and try to get invited along. For more information and reservations, contact the Oloffson at 011-509-13-4000, or check out "Do Do that Voodoo" in our December 1992 issue. If you'd like to learn more about the religion, visit the comprehensive Vodoun Information Pages on the Web.