Outside Tap Tap, there's a truck parked under a palm on a patch of grass between the sidewalk and the street. It's a Toyota that's been pimped with Haitian folk art flourishes: hand-painted murals splashed across the hood and sides, an iron headboard adorned with the word Rezistans, and some rustic woodwork. Tourists pose with the oddity for photos while local scenesters sip, sip in the shadows of the front patio.
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SHOW ME HOW
Inside, Manno Charlemagne and his band jam through "The Birthday Song" stirring up a private party for a blond girl and her blond friends while I sit, hidden around the corner in an adjacent room, taking part from afar. With me, there are two saints and an infant king watching from the walls and three Ayisyen drinks -- a stubby bottle of Prestige beer, one Soley, and a Tropical Rhum Punch -- sweating on the table.
The Prestige is an American-style lager brewed at the Brasserie Nationale d'Haiti in Porte-Au-Prince. A World Beer Cup winner, it's clean and crisp and costs only four bucks a bottle. Meanwhile, the Soley (triple sec, raw sugar, passion fruit juice) and Tropical Rhum Punch (guava, soursop, mango, papaya, passion fruit juices) are $7 Tap Tap cocktails spiked with three-star Barbancourt Rhum -- or, if you're feeling haute, the five-star for an extra dollar.
So I finish my drinks and the blond girls dance, dance, and Manno shifts back to "Birthday" after wrapping one of his originals. I move out to the front patio and the scenesters are gone. But there's always a new batch of tourists with the truck. It's time for another round.