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
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 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
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.
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
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!