African Friend

by Jimmy Buffett

from the album Son of a Son of a Sailor


Disembarking at Duvalier Airport
Seeking transportation to town
As the purple ink dried on his passport
He could still feel the eyes look around

“Messieur ou y le casino?”
He spoke to the cabbie and smiled
The driver replied “Vieux ou noveaux?”
As he motioned the dark man inside

Business in Aruba concluded
He now had a little money to spend
That’s how I came to meet my African friend

We were rollin’ the bones several hours
Conversing as most gamblers do
We were calling on all of our powers
Hoping to see the night through

But not approving at all of our winning
The pit boss he tugged at his sleeve
Through the whole thing my new friend was grinning
When he motioned it’s time we should leave

With our night at the tables behind us
We were ready just to do it again
That’s when I came to know my African Friend

But I woke up on the steps of a whorehouse
A soldier told me I’ better leave
As I stumbled to find me a taxi
I saw a note pinned to my sleeve

“It was a pleasure and a hell of an evening
It was truly our night to win
But the authorities insist on my leaving
Take care, my American friend.”

With my weekend in Haiti concluded
I now had a little money to spend
That’s when I came to meet my African friend
That’s how I came to know another good friend

Jimmy’s Note:

For the amount of shit that the Haitian people have had to endure over the centuries, they are the warmest and friendliest people I have come across in my travels. This song was written after a trip to Port-Au-Prince and a wild night in the old casino that made me feel as if I were in a Bogey movie. Those damn Bogey movies have put me in some tight spots as I’ve tried to create fact out of fiction.