The morning of our horse riding trip started well enough when a woman collected us from our casa particular (our lodging house), but we were soon to discover we were in the hands of cowboys! We were left standing at a street corner to await the arrival of the other tourists. They took so long that eventually a woman who lived nearby let us sit in her living room to get out of the already intense sunshine.
After some time, everyone had arrived and without so much as a "This is a horse" we were cajoled to mount our steeds, and off we all trotted. This part wasn't too bad but soon we came to the top of a large hill, nay, mountain. The path narrowed to a mouse-run overhung with nasty looking bushes and low-lying trees, then dropped suddenly down into a fast flowing river which the horses wisely didn't fancy crossing and had to be smacked from behind by one of the cowboys. This proved to be a favourite pastime for as soon as we entered out onto an open piece of land the horses were thwacked and off we would gallop with any loose body parts shaking
in all directions!
Our destination was a beautiful waterfall but to get there we had to cross mostly open land, that is, open to the sun. It was well over 90 (33) in the shade and we were beginning to burn and dehydrate in equal measure. However, we made it close to the waterfall and tied up our horses, then we had a fairly arduous walk up by the river to reach the waterfall. We quickly got our clothes off and dived in to the cool, refreshing waters of life. Some local guys sold us some coconuts to drink and so feeling refreshed we set off back to base. By this time the girls (Denise and my sister, Ruth) were getting more and more annoyed with the cowboys whipping their horses, and demanded that they stop it. The cowboys being true men got the huff and left the girls behind to their own devices! When I looked back I could see smoke coming out of the girls' ears in small gusts like red indians on the warpath! Exhausted we finally reached our lunch spot which was in fact a hut a few hundred metres from home, belonging to a
mate of the cowboys! We all stopped to have a drink, some time later the Lone Ranger and Tonto came round the corner sporting the sourest faces you're likely to see west of the Mississippi! I have to say I had to smile although I made sure I was facing the other way!
Trinidad is a great old place and we loved it. Founded by the Spanish in 1514 it is full of old colonial buildings and cobbled streets, and is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also a thriving centre for Cuban music, which can be heard throughout the day and on into the night. We enjoyed several impromptu gigs accmpanied by some Cuba Libre cocktails and salsa dancing (I managed to resist the dancing, still bound by the tentacles of repressed West of Scotland Calvinism!).
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