My colleague, Paul Waldie, and I were on our way back from the police station by the airport, the nominal headquarters of the nominal government of Haiti, where we had interviewed, Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassègue, the culture and communications minister.
Returning, we encountered a body on the side of the road, which is now unusual. More unusual, his hands were tied behind his back. We stopped the car.
He was a teenager, not more than 18, his face lying in the gutter. The back of his head was caved in, the stone still in place.
"He was a lazy boy," said Reggie, our driver. "He would not work."
Instead, he stole, or did something else to offend the crowds of people who now live on the streets, and they meted out their own rough injustice.
Interview a cabinet minister. Examine a corpse.
For a reporter accustomed to the comforts of a political beat, covering the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti is an exercise in managing, and containing, emotion. Not horror or grief, for we are only watching this event, not living it, but guilt at finding it so fascinating.
The damage is actually worse than it looks. Many facades are still standing, so some streets appear normal. It's only when you look closely that you realize there's no roof, or one wall has collapsed, or the building is tilted. In many parts of town, though, you can drive block after block through utter ruins. It is then that it sinks in that as much as 10 per cent of the population of this city died in the space of a minute.
Yet Port-au-Prince, despite everything, is powerfully alive-almost festive, in a perverse way. The homeless fill the parks, the parking lots, the sides of streets with tents, lean-tos, whatever they can find.
The better-off on the hillsides will go into their homes to cook and use the bathroom, but many, perhaps even most, of those houses are also fatally weakened, and unsafe. Port-au-Prince has become a city of people who live, eat, sleep, sing and pray outside. It looks and sounds like a carnival.
But it isn't. The Haitians are suffering horribly. The people living in the tent cities live as miserably as any human beings on this earth-defecating in public, relying on foreign aid for food and water, with no hope that anything will change anytime soon.
A few days ago, I was visiting one of the camps, when a young woman with a baby started pleading in Creole. The interpreter said she was asking me to take her baby. I just shook my head, said sorry, and signalled we needed to move on.
At moments like this you feel that everything you are doing is pornographic, that you are not a journalist telling a story that needs to be told, but a tourist dropping in to have a good look at an apocalypse. Such a thing would be evil, and all of us grapple with the ambiguity of this mission, with what we are doing here, and why we are doing it, and what we really feel about it.
Last night the dogs began howling. This, an old hand said, was a sign that things are returning to normal. The city swarms with dogs, and at night they form into packs and their baying fills the air. But the earthquake mostly silenced them. Now they're running together again.
Haitians won't clear away the rubble and start over. They'll build around it, or on top of it, and carry on, whatever those who are watching them might say or feel about it.