(All photos by Vicki Brand)
My horse was called Regaton…
Victoria’s was called La Ganga. Vicki’s was called La Goya.
La Ganga was a bit of a brute. La Goya looked pretty dishevelled. And my one was a bit slow. He didn’t go faster when I kicked him. He’s not like an English horse.
Our guide kept telling us they were semi-automatic. Think he’s recycled that joke a fair few times. He also joked about being our boyfriend. “6 girls, all for me!!” Bla bla bla.
The valley is stunningly beautiful. In fact, the entire horse ride (about 4 hours, including stops) allowed us to absorb the beauty of the natural landscape. Mountains framed the valleys; the earth of which is rich red.
Vinales is where all the finest tobacco comes from; we visited a farmer and heard how he make cigars. Then we smoked one that was dipped in honey (nice way to do it). Of course, it was all in aid of a sales pitch – but at 3CUC per cigar, it’s not surprising that he sold a few.
They have to give the government 80% of the tobacco they grow. The man told us that fact with an expressionless face. But I was angry on his behalf. All that work for 20%.
We also visited a cavern – a welcome relief from the heat of the day. The cave was really cool – as were the waters of the natural pool within it. We chickened out of having a dip but most of the tour group gave it a go.
It was boiling hot by the time we returned (around 2pm) so we slowly made our way to yesterday’s paradera – but it was closed so we made our way to another one which was opposite. We had fish and tried to hold our tempers with all the annoying school children who were throwing things at a sleeping woman on the street. Little shits.
For dinner, we went to El Olivio – there was a queue outside which is usually a good sign. And it was. Good, I mean. I had duck. It was L-U-S-H. The Vickis’ had chicken. My duck was better.
We couldn’t go back to the dancing place last night because a certain Cuban was lurking (I won’t go into detail). He spotted us in the queue for dinner and said he wanted to talk to me. It was all in Spanish but I got ‘I go riding on my horse at night and look at the stars’. That was enough to put me right off.
So we went to the Polo Martinez Centro Cultural Salvader (try saying that ten times fast!) and we met up with two Spanish guys; both of whom were on our horse-riding tour. I couldn’t stop dancing (the blokes here are very persistent) so I left the four of them to it while I [dis]graced the dance-floor. And I kissed Jesus. Again, I’ll spare you the detail… but he was an acrobat (I feel like that’s an important & necessary detail). Then I met a really sweet Columbian girl. And we had a whole conversation in Spanish. At least I think we did.
Needless to say; there was a lot of rum.
(All photos by Vicki Brand)