|Fog and cold at 7:30 am|
|The destinations are an indication of where the action is|
Arriving at 5 pm local time at Varadero Airport with my backpack-luggage containing neither laptop nor cell phone but 3 books printed on paper, I look forward to my internet-age-detox week with just a little of trepidation. It has been 3 years that I was 'off-line' for a whole week.
|Mirror-Selfie with pictures of Che, and a Cuban flag. What else does one need?|
I've been in Cuba 5 or 6 times now (at my age memories tend to fuse together) and it's getting harder to find something new to experience (Brain needs food !).But I find something. Halfway along the peninsula is this, the 'Muslim's walking path' leading to the 'Caves of the Muslims'.No, this is not way to Mecca; the area gets it's name from pirates that hid in these parts long ago, which were referred to as Muslims. Barbary Coast Pirates?
|I watch out for sudden movements in the mangroves. There is an alligator breeding farm not far from here !|
|It's NOT a tree! It's a 300 year old cactus !|
On the way back from the path, I see them. After loosing sight of them years ago, I had assumed that they'd died. I was pissed of at myself to no have taken the chance while they were still there. Regrets are a very nasty thing; they tend to stick around for a long long time. So much so that it's worth arriving at daily decisions by considering the path of least possible future regret. Some people use other criteria, like least amount of work, least or greatest financial expense, maximum gain in social status, or whatever a confused brain can come up with.
|Something does not belong in Cuba !|
The ride costs 5 CUC (How expensive is that for something one hasn't done yet? ;-). Mr. Red-Shirt is genuinely cheery and friendly so I hand him 6 CUC. I'm here to experience the ride, not necessarily to document it, so I actually am at a momentary loss when he asks me for my camera. He deals with my speechlessness by repeating the word CAMERA more loudly and putting out his hand. Behold:
|OK, so Peter O'Toole WAS a GREAT actor. I takes more than a camel to pull off that Lawrence of Arabia look|
|Think of this next time someone tells you that sinking ships creates more marine eco-space. Garbage is Garbage!|
|Where's me mate ? ....|
|Hace frio !!!|
|Not what most tourists expected|
|I don't mind apparently|
|Want pelicans? Feed them fish ...|
|Where dead fish go|
|There must be some dead fish here somewhere !|
|Not too bad for after embracing a toilet bowl for 24 hours; so far neither cafeeinated nor washed.|
Daytime high temperatures in Varadero this week are 19 degrees. Combine this with the strong wind from the ocean, and for the first time I not only see Cubans wear long pants and jackets, but I see tourists wearing jackets and scarves if they were lucky to have brought any. I was not one of the lucky ones.
Blame it on overeating or a food bug, I loose 48 hours being sick, and only eat 3 dry buns in all that time.
A lot of time is spent with Gunda and Jochen from Hamburg, who I meet after they get assigned the room right next to mine. Very pleasant company ;-)
Cubans are as friendly and cheery as every before; if one met a grumpy person, it had to be a tourist.
My first impression when I get back to Vancouver is witnessed in the taxi from the airport.
The world is passing quietly outside the windows of my taxi.
Around Granville and 8th maybe, I see 5 or 6 younger (25-30ish) men in their Saturday night do and clothes head to or from a bar. A split second later I notice a homeless person with a tuque and a grey blanket thrown over his legs at the next corner has raised himself onto his knees with one hand extended towards the rich young partiers and is shouting something at them. From my vantage point in the car I can't hear a single sound the homeless man is shouting, but as the cab carries me away from the scene, I realize I have returned to a city where not only the outside temperatures are cold as hell and where the homeless person can scream his lungs out with little chance that anyone will help him. Within 30 minutes of having returned to Vancouver I want nothing more than to leave again.
Time to change those beer commercials: Almost as cold as people from Vancouver.