We were standing outside the ticket booth that sold tickets (naturally) to Citadelle Laferrière in northern Haiti, the largest fortress in the Americas.
“Here is the cost,” said the lady behind the glass.
We looked over the chart showing the prices to visit the largest fortress in the Americas. $5 for just a ticket, $20 for ticket and guide. $30 for ticket, guide and pony.
“Two regular tickets, please,” we said, handing over a $10 bill.
“We want just two tickets. No guide. $10, yes?”
“You need a guide. $40.”
“We don’t want a guide. We can go up on our own.”
“No you can’t. You need guide.”
“I’m sure we’ll be fine. It’s one path, yes?”
“It’s your first time here, yes?”
“No, we come to Haiti from New York every other weekend.”
“You are joking with me. I can tell. You are funny,” she said.
“Thank you,” we said. “But no, we haven’t been here before. It is our first time.”
“OK. You need guide.”
We sighed. With old age fast approaching we volunteered the remaining $30. She checked the money scrupulously. Apparently we looked like the kind of people that had only come to Haiti to splash out and spend $40 in counterfeit currency buying tickets to visit a big castle.
Finally, finally, she handed over the tickets. We started walking away.
We turned quickly, angrily. “What is it?”
“Do you need a pony?”
Additional note: in hindsight, a guide was probably a good idea. While it was mostly a straightforward walk up, we did need someone to get us to the right path, and the information given by the guide as he showed us around the citadel was interesting. So, thanks, lady in the ticket booth.