This blog's title means "Cuban-hearted woman" (very loosely translated!). I settled on this name because it had a nice ring to my unschooled ear and, more importantly, because I think the Cuban people seem to have so much
heart, and they're in my heart for that reason. In general, the people I've met in Cuba are quite consistently open-hearted and big-hearted in the way they relate to each other or to visitors in their beautiful land. A piece of my heart now resides in Cuba, with the warm, wonderful friends I've made there. This blog is not intended to be a guide to Cuba, just a forum for my eclectic bits of writing – poetry, opinion pieces and information gleaned from my personal experience and reading.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tale #3 - Picking up friends on the Cuban byways

When in the rural region of Granma, where I love to travel in Cuba, if you rent a car, you frequently find yourself picking up friends on any roadtrip. In fact, it seems almost rude to roll with an empty car. However, Harvey, I play it safe – when I'm driving alone, I only pick up people I recognize, and women.

One afternoon, I stopped for a young man I remembered from a previous trip, and he remembered me too. At that time, he had wanted to practice his English, and he proved quite pleasant to chat with. Since returning home to Canada, we have become virtual penpals, and I am helping him with his written English. He's got a good head on his shoulders, even though he's never lived anywhere but Pilon in his 22 years, and doesn't particularly want to live elsewhere.

On another day while returning from Pilon, heading back to the resort, I invited a woman to sit in the front passenger seat. As I drove, I glanced over at her and saw that she was holding a dark blue cloth bag in her lap. Emblazoned upon it was my store logo: "reVIBE! ~ reclaimed clothing and eco-eclectics." I had taken about three bags there in April. What are the odds that I'd come across a woman I didn't know, happily using one?

Turned out, we had an amigo in common – Agustin! She pointed to her shirt and pants, explaining that he had also given her some clothing...from my store. Instead of going directly to the resort, I drove all the way into the village of Marea del Portillo, so that this new amiga and I could pay a quick visit to Agustin's  home. A delightful encounter!

It can prove quite intersting to pick up hitch-hikers and discover how frequently they become friends. And, you haven't truly lived unless you've dodged endless potholes and random goats with a full carload of sweaty bodies in a tin box with no shocks and wonky air-conditioning. Woo-hoo!

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