Around the World a Bit at a Time

Travels: Past, Present and Future

Posts Tagged ‘afro cuban rumba’

On the Hill Top

Posted by Leanne on January 21, 2011

Jon and Robin weren’t due to arrive in Trinidad until early afternoon, so after a pleasant breakfast at Casa Juan we decided to do what all self respecting tourists do anywhere in the world – find a high place to look down at the town from.  Fortunately there was just such a hill a short walk from our Casa, so we set out in the glowing warmth of the early morning to climb it.  On the way past a church, near the cave with a nightclub inside it(!), we were accosted by two women, who wanted small change, money in our currency or decent clothes, which they seem so desperate to have in Cuba.  We didn’t have anything to give them – so they recommended we climb back up the hill at sunset – when they would be waiting, and we could hand over our worldly possessions then.

After shaking off the women, we climbed higher up the hill towards the radio tower, where we could sit for a while and look over Trinidad in complete isolation.  After sitting there for about 5 minutes, a man, dressed in casual trousers and a T-Shirt started walking towards us from the direction of the radio tower.  We thought he was going to shoo us away, but instead, invited us to walk up to the top of the hill for a better view.

“¿Cuantó cuesta?” I asked suspiciously, having learned my lesson that nothing comes for free in Cuba.

“Es libre.” he replied, and so we followed him towards the tower.  He asked me if I spoke Spanish, and I told him I did – then he told me some things about the surrounding areas and stopped, telling me to translate for Paul – so I did.  Once I had proved myself, he went on for several minutes without giving me the chance to translate again, obviously satisfied that I’d been telling the truth about the understanding Spanish thing.  Though there were moments where I got lost in the   beautiful rhythm of his rolling rrrrs and forgot to extract the meaning from what he was saying.

Half way through our tour of the hill top, a man on a motorbike started riding up the hill, so our new friend asked us to wait where we were for a moment, and ran back to his post at the tower.  As the motorbike man arrived, we looked around to see that our casually attired friend was now wearing a shirt and tie.  When he finally returned to our sides, he’d changed again back into tourist friendly clothes and told us more about the land around the town and offered to take our photo:

On the Hill Top above Trinidad

At the end of our conversation, he explained that, as well as working at the radio tower, he also did guided walks for a small price, and that we were welcome to meet him at 8am the next day when he was meeting a French girl to take her on a walk.  I told him that we’d talk to our friends about it and maybe see him tomorrow.

Later that afternoon, we met up with Jon and Robin, found them a casa and popped into a bar for a few mojitos while a dance group rehearsed on the stage behind us.

After dinner, we went to a bar to see some Afro Cuban Rumba at Palenque de los congos reales:

We also won a CD in a raffle.

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