I realize that something awful could happen at home or in world politics and I would not have a clue.  We simply cannot connect to the internet without going way out of our path, wasting a lot of time and then having no guarantee of success.  But I feel compelled to try; at least once in a while.   

After 6 days of travel we had to not only take care of the internet and laundry, but of our digestive systems as well.  We utterly confused our AirBnB hosts when we ordered breakfast in two stages:  8 AM coffee and juice.  9 AM food.  But by noon we were on track in all of our domestic departments.  Some of our laundry had dried before we even had hung up the rest of it;  it was yet another gorgeous, warm and sunny day.

Today, the Western Union office was open for business but only one at a time.  The police officer who had guarded the office yesterday was doing crowd control today.  When we arrived nobody was in line.  But the time we finally got our turn, 10 minutes later, a sizable cue had formed behind us.  You can’t be in a hurry around here.

The Western Union clerk almost did not exchange our money as neither one of us presented our original passports.  I carry a copy at all times, Celi only had her driver’s license.  We got away with a warning this time.  But everyone seems to have their own rules.  In Havana my passport copy did not even raise an eyebrow.

Wifi cards were our next item on the agenda.  There is one telecommunication office in town selling these cards and the line in front of it had already formed when we got there.  What took them so long inside, one by one again — was anyone’s guess.  Government workers just don’t have to work fast, I guess; same old story everywhere. 

Some of the tourists in line did not take this pace very well.  Two Australians in front of us got really grouchy and three French ladies in back of us became outright rude.  It’s Cuba time!  We tried to cheer them up; but to no avail.  Five computers to do internet — google seems to be blocked in large parts — are all that is available for this entire town of 10,000…  Somebody should start an Internet cafe around here!

Once again, the central plaza was a public wifi zone.  Once again, it took me nearly an hour before I was able to connect.  This is getting really, really old.  I can easily live without the internet for a week, a month, no problem.  But what about the people “out there” who expect me to be in the know or respond, once they send something? That is the problem.  In so many ways, we have put ourselves onto a leash in the Western world.  I am sure Cuba is only a few short years behind fully catching up; for better or worse. 

Celi went for another salsa lesson.  She is getting really, really good.  She would prove within hours how you capture the Cuban heart(s) when you know how to dance salsa.

Before sunset we took a taxi to the most famous viewpoint in town.  Two guys had invited themselves to share our taxi with us, one of them immediately moving in on Celi. He would have given just about anything had she agreed to spend the evening with him…  The Horizontales des Jasminez Hotel is one of the fanciest places in town.  An Olympic-sized pool floats atop the valley and the views from there are the postcard views you will see of Vinales; nothing short of spectacular; except for the sun which was setting in the wrong direction, making that postcard picture impossible for us to take.  People were sipping drinks and snapping photos.  A mime was performing his act at the terrace. 

After we had sipped our own mojitos, chatting with Katie from Spain and her Cuban boyfriend, we headed for the banjo where the mime happened to take off his makeup.  One look at Celibeth and he was a goner!  Before you knew it, the two were salsa-ing along the terrace.  He was the most gorgeous, skinny, tall young man you could imagine.  And an artist, a musician and a master dancer on top of it.  And to nobody’s surprise it was Celi now, who turned into the smitten one! 

After a lovely dinner in town, she headed for the Central Plaza where the mime was waiting for her.  And that’s where the official story ends.  I headed home to write my blog.  What a boring alternative!   But I have no regrets.  My wild and crazy days are over. 

Good night.

4 comments so far

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  1. In spite of your frustration with lines and such, this was a fun blog to read and personally, I would have gone for the Salsa lesson. Time slips by just too quickly and I have regretted some things I missed out of on our travels, like having a snake around my neck.

  2. Really good juxtaposition between natural beauty and struggling to maintain basic everyday functions. Kind of explains why some people leave the “paradise ” of their home countries to emigrate to rust belt cities.

    • Not a struggle, Joe! 🙂 Thanks for reading along. ET

  3. Laundry in the shower…beats taking a Salsa lesson. Ha ha ha ha…