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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels across country in my mobile billboard truck as I attempt to engage in dialogue with people in hopes to wake us up and inspire action to change our country and communities and selves. And it is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society and life we want

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Afternoon 9: Pinares de Mayari here I come!



 The first thing I need to do this morning after breakfast  is see the medical person about my big toe – the toenail of the next toe is rubbing against it and I forgot to bring bandaids or nail clippers! There is a medical office right here in the hotel on the 2nd floor, the same floor I stay on.
I knock on the door and enter a freezing cold little room. I feel like I’m back in grade school, going to the nurse: she is a smiling, competent, calm petite 40-ish year old womon dressed in a white uniform complete with white stockings and white shoes! She wears nothing on her head, thank goodness, cause although the room is freezing, the journey here must be excruciatingly hot – unless she dresses once she gets here.
She does wear a little costume jewelry pin that looks like a gold leaf with green rhinestones jauntily perched just below her left shoulder. There is a small desk facing the door and behind her on one side of the room is a bed covered in white sheets with the same pleated white fabric rectangular screen on wheels offering a small degree of privacy I remember from grade school, then there is a glass-doored cabinet with medicines along the back wall, and a shelf on the wall opposite the bed that has bandages, scissors, ointments and the like. There’s a small modern-looking digital white scale and a blood pressure kit with stethoscope looped over the back of her stainless steel rolling stool.
 I show her my foot and she has me climb up on an old small, green metal stepstool I envy, and sit on the sterile bed. She has no small bandaids so she tapes my large toe instead. She attempts to cut my nail with the scissors there but they don’t work. She tells me to return the next day & she will bring clippers from her home.
I leave and head to the market to pick the brains of a couple of vendors about getting to Pinares de Mayari.
I’m sooooooo excited! I see a silver blue relatively new-looking jeep that has a “taxi” sign in the window parked right outside the market while I’m sitting down talking with Manuel. I jump up and point it out to him & head over. Another taxi pulls in, this one an old 50’s u.s. car. Manuel thinks I’m talking about that taxi so goes to talk with him, while I approach the jeep.
 The taxi driver agrees to drive me to Pinares de Mayari 7:00am tomorrow for $100 – for the entire jeep. The cheapest I’ve found thus far has been $96/person… this one is 100 for the entire jeep so if I find 3 more people to share the jeep, it will be $25 each or if I find 4 people, $20 each!
Muy barato! Very cheap!
I think it should be easy, after all this is a hotel full of maybe 6 or 7 hundred tourists many in Cuba for the first time, just like me. I go around to people sitting at tables, hanging out on the beach, eating in the restaurant and realize the men look extremely fat and the womyn are in appallingly high heels with the most elaborately painted fingernails and extreme makeup.
I don’t want to have to rush back from exploring Pinares because people don’t want to or can’t hike, so I realize I must look for those that at least appear to be robust or physically fit.
Unfortunately, not many do. After talking with several people, I realize most people are content to merely hang out in the hotel, drink themselves silly, or burn on the beach. Not many are into exploring different parts of Cuba.
Even the people I went with to Holguin were people who lived there or were on their way to other parts of Cuba.
One strate couple I talked with thought that 80 kilometers was so very far away. Of course, they came from across the Atlantic. Another person said she didn’t want to sit in a car for an hour – even if it meant seeing Cuba.
Two younger guys I asked, who looked very fit, told me they go to bed at 6a.m. I suggested they stay up and then sleep in the jeep before they go hiking. They were too polite to say hell no, but told me they’d let me know in the morning.
I made a sign on the cardboard back of my notebook in Spanish and English that says: Do you want to go to Pinares de Mayari? For cheap? Talk to me! I was too shy to walk around the beach showing people my sign but I did put it next to me when I ate, on the table in the computer room, and at the bar while I wrote.
No takers….grrrrr…..yet!
So now I have to figure out a plan b of how to get $100 pesos together for tomorrow a.m. I should have bargained with him but I was so happy to get such a low price, and I didn’t think it would be hard to find people to share with jeep with. Then I guess people here don’t care what they pay to go anywhere and would rather have a tour guide then strike out on their own.
It will be better to go by myself anyway – I might get stuck in the car with asshole tourists or folks that want to helplessly stick with me. I just want to hike up to the top of the waterfall and go to the museum there. I’m hoping to stop at Banes also, the next large town east of here.
Well, I can go to the bank to cash my last 100 canadian, which is not enough money but I’m banking on someone, anyone, coming along.
If not, I’ll have to figure something else out – maybe I just can’t go, although that would make me so very sad!

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