The Comedians and I.

image.jpegIn the summer of 1980, after having visited friends of my parents in New York and San Francisco, my mother and I sent my father back off to Europe and continued our journey to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where we stayed at the Grand Hotel Oloffson, a 19th-century Gothic gingerbread mansion, set in a lush tropical garden, a place once described as the darling of the theatre people, the literary set and newspaper men. And a literary place it was indeed. The moment we sat down on the Hotel’s beautiful porch to have a cold drink, we were directly transported into a novel, all of a sudden we were part of the set of Graham Greene’s The Comedians. Petit Pierre approached us, ever so elegantly, wearing a fine suit despite the Caribbean summer heat, his perfectly knotted tie seemed to be mocking the indolent temperatures, and a walking cane with a silver knob gave him even more grandezza, as he strutted from table to table, looking for some material for his columns. Of course it was not Petit Pierre, but Aubelin Jolicœur, so my mother explained to me, the Haitian journalist and columnist, who was the inspiration for Graham Greene’s character, who then took a place at our table, started chatting with my mother, even flirting a little bit, ignoring me, leaving me to sip my icy lemonades for ever and ever. And so I started to write this postcard to my best friend Daniel in Luxembourg, never sent it off though, and it makes me smile, that while somebody taken out of a novel was sitting at my table, I had no other things to tell him about than the beautiful hotel pool and its cool water. But I can somehow get my 12 year old me – this pool situation was gorgeous indeed.