Lonely Planet Lied!

We’ve given Edgar the day off the next day – enough swimming for now. As it happens he meets up with his family back in Cienfuegos for the day, tp ce;ebrate Mothers’ Day.

As for us, we head off to see Julio Munoz the horse whisperer. Unfortunately, he is suffering from a hernia, and is not able to do any whispering at the moment. We spend half an hour talking to him about horses and photography. He started his love affair with the horse when he deecided he’d have better opportunity as a professional to take photos of the campo around Trinidad rather than the town itself – every man with a dog has been photographed already, or wields a camera with or without selfie stick.20160510-IMG_3326-12

To get to photograph the countryside and the local cowboys, he needed to be on horse-back, and thus he fell in love with them. He tells me he has had little success trying to teach the locals how to treat horses; they use the usual retro-grade savagery and just think he is loco. He tells me that five people will hold down a tied-up un-tamed horse and strap a saddle tightly on it’s back, then just leave it on for 24 hours until it’s exhausted….. Ugh

Julio shows us his latest magazine article on photography, published in an international journal; beautiful photos of Trinidad, and he shares one of his tips with us – use autofocus to fix your focal point when you’ve framed your picture, and then wait till the moving object comes in range. Good suggestion if you have time to wait, most of the time I’m dashing off after a non-photographer….

We mooch off to promenade around town, visit some art galleries and whatnot. I’ve got an umbrella; the sun is so scorching, it’s even too hot for a hat.

It’s a pretty town, but somewhat over-run. There are tourists everywhere (what a travel snob I am), and for every tourist there is a local trying to sell me something – a taxi to the beach (no thanks I have one), the best mojito in town (no thanks it’s only 11 am), embroidered hankies (no thanks, I consider them unhygienic), a horse drawn ride around town (no thanks, I don’t think your horse is happy), a photo of a donkey (no thanks, your donkey looks more depressed than you).

By the time the evening sun has lost a bit of it’s heat we try out the photogenic tour recommended by Lonely Planet. Unfortunately the sun has already dropped so far that any photogenicity is nearly gone, and our route takes us through some of the poorer sections of the city where the local kids play football in bare feet on an equally bare patch of ground, the women are scouring out their houses, local dogs patrol their rooftops, and generally everyone is coming out for the evening conversation. Not much in the way of brilliant photography to be had, I am afraid, and the light is gone.

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We try again to find a restaurant recommended by the book, but alas, this one too is full tonight. It makes sense that every other tourist is going by the guide book, but it is still disappointing. Several other travelers are also looking for the same place, and they are equally disappointed.

By this time my stomach is making angry noises, and I am not inclined to wander the streets of Trinidad looking for the next gourmet place – the food is mostly the same in every place we have been, and I am not enough of a foodie to really care. Sorry to my companions. Eventually we plump for a roof top terrace to eat, nice breeze, but the food is mediochre even by local standards. I offer to put myself in the dog-house, but it’s not necessary – my chagrin is enough.

Some more wandering around the main square to see if there are any local musical entertainments, and there is the Casa Musica – at the top of the steps next to the church. Two cuc admission to get close and personal with the blaring sound system that actually sounds better the further away you get.

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We consult the book for the next option, which advertises impromptu jazz. We find it around the corner, but guess what – It’s FULL. Not a skerrick even of floor space to be seen, so we hang about in the street, but it’s not particularly comfortable, and improv jazz is not totally my cup of tea either. Give me the resounding crash of Beethoven’s ninth, and I’m in heaven…. I guess my musical tastes solidified sometime before Bartok was born – these days Jazz for me is “What a Beautiful World” by Satchmo.

Mind you, my contemporary art tastes are similarly stunted – I can’t make head nor tail of some of the splodges of colour that appear on modern canvasses. Post-cubist Picasso and it’s all Greek to me… What a philistine. Go straight to bed!!!

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