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Haiti earthquake coverage: Sleeping to disaster soundtrack

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Thursday January 28

The sounds that I wake up to have a direct correlation with the kind of sleep I have here – and, to a degree, the changing conditions.

At my home in Miami, I wake up early because of the sun or an internal clock that goes off to ensure that I meet my regular triathlon-training partners. Here, I barely remember going to sleep before some irregular noise reminds me where I am.

It’s just been two weeks that since I was sleeping on the conveyer belt of Mais Gate’s international airport. My slumber soundtrack consisted of: airplanes, jets, and helicopters landing and taking off; Chinese, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Spanish, and French soldiers and aid workers and journalists chatting as they passed by; cargo rumbling past in containers, and the incessant, deaf-defying engines.

Then, I moved to the relief of the Ibolele Hotel, where at least I was on grass and in a tent, even though I didn’t know who was snoring at the other end.

I camped next to the entrance of the hotel. I fell asleep listening to car engines, loud, annoying diesel trucks, four-wheel drives, and buses. The night was punctuated by the drivers, whose animated conversations seemed like they were fighting but in fact they were just trying to enjoy themselves after long workdays ferrying journalists up and down the hills.


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