Farewell, Trinidad

Trip Start Jan 16, 2007
1
16
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Trip End Mar 01, 2007


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Flag of Cuba  ,
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Weīve been inundated by ants again. Any food left out, bread, peanut butter jar, etc., by morning is home to an extended family of miniature ants. Ants that bite. Last night we hit the hay during one of the frequent power outages here, so didnīt get a chance to double check our packs and ziplock bags. Julie washes the ants away during the morning revolutionary chant that starts the school day next door. Later in the morning, she takes Lucy to visit Sandroīs school, a few streets over.

Schools here tend to be indistinguishable from and next to residences. Julieīs impression is that the austere conditions havenīt inhibited learning. Small classrooms, small library, small resources, but happy learners. Cuba has the best literacy rate in the Americas.You canīt walk many blocks without hearing a classroom or spotting kids in school uniform.

Speaking of which, by their early teens, Cuban girls have their skirts uniformly sheered well above the knees. Itīs just another way the country seems to free the body, invite the sway of the royal palm into a casual stroll. Julie can comment on the men, but Iīve found that beyond having a higher than average ratio of beautiful women here, itīs the lilt that entices. The music of the island might be a result of that movement, not its cause.

The perfect ending to our time in Trinidad comes at the bus stop. Jorge helps lug our bags the 10-minute walk to the station. Even with me loaded up with bags, the extra hands help. Just before boarding, I realize Iīve left the peanut butter in the fridge. Oh well, another casualty, but itīs one weīll feel more heavily. We bid farewell to Jorge and take our seats.

Moments before the bus pulls away, Odalis appears up the steps. Sheīs brought our peanut butter and some other snacks in a bag! We laugh a final farewell, then sheīs gone. Last night, I debated how much of a tip we should leave. How do you acknowledge all the washing, fresh juice, assistance with long-distance bookings, etc.? Any thought that I might have overtipped is totally dispelled. We got a real bargain in the end.
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