This was not the tourist season, and in any case the island to which we were bound was no longer an attraction for tourists” — Graham Greene, The Comedians

As we puttered along in the bumper-to-bumper Port-au-Prince traffic, rolling over occasional streams of raw sewage, Saíntil explained to us that his favorite actor was Shaquille O’Neal. He particularly liked Shaq in the movie Steel.

Saíntil made a quick shortcut through a dodgy alley and we passed a mangy, rabid dog fighting with an enormous pig — literally paw and snout — over the right to eat a pile of garbage. After the shortcut, we were back to a standstill, surrounded by the vibrant reds and blues and yellows of the crazy tap-taps carrying sardined passengers in the overcrowded streets, windshields emblazoned with “Christ Is The Big Captain,” “Lamentations 3:26,” and “Sylvester Stallone.”

As we pondered Shaquille O’Neal’s thespian work,… More…