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Oscar

My dear friend Oscar can be found near the Convento de San Francisco de Asis in Trinidad, Cuba.
He’s a gentle man with a friendly smile who lives out-of-town. Every day this seventy-four year old loads coconuts and bananas onto his wheelbarrow and pushes them into town to “his” spot in the street.
His spot is at a park near the tall tower in town. Here he sells coconuts to tourists. He’ll select one for you and expertly chop the top off by wielding his machete. When just a hint of the white coconut meat is revealed, he will cut it away and insert a straw so that you can drink the milk. When finished with the drink, return the coconut to Oscar and he will again wield his tools to split the fruit and cut out the fresh white meat for you to eat.
He doesn’t like to complain, but after you get to know him he’ll tell you that arthritis in his hands and tendonitis in his arms make it difficult for him to do his job.
If you see Oscar, slip him a CUC for me. Or better yet, buy a coconut.

 

El Tenedor

El Tenedor is a family owned restaurant and hostal.

Stop in for dinner or drinks, watch the sunset, and listen to the live music on the terrace. I believe it to be the highest rooftop dining in Trinidad, Cuba. The food is good, as is the service. It’s all family here.
You’ll pass the kitchen on the way to the dining area and the terrace.
Stop and greet the chef, Emilio. He may offer to prepare a special dish for you on your next visit.
Say hello to Ava and her daughter Katiuska. You’ll feel like a part of the family. Be careful though, twelve-year-old Daniela will try to charm you out of some gum.

Don’t let the term hostal keep you from going. (it’s a Cuban classification). You will not find any difference between the rooms here and a Casa Particular. Both rooms have their own locks and are air-conditioned with private bath.

 

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Pit Stop

I was asleep when the dull thud woke me up. Something didn’t sound right, but no one else seemed to notice, so I closed my eyes again as the bus coasted to a stop. It was then that I realized it was too quiet. The air conditioner was not blowing and the engine was not running. I thought someone needed an emergency stop. After a few minutes I noticed more and more people leaving the bus. Some returned and some did not. Curiosity got the best of me and I went to take a look.

One belt broke and knocked some others off when it left the pulleys. The drivers were on top of the situation. There were spare belts on the bus and a mechanic arrived within fifteen minutes. All eight belts were changed and we were underway in less than an hour.

I was impressed.

 

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One Tough Cowboy

One Tough Cowboy

Yes, real cowboys  still exist.
Thanks to a friend, I was invited to spend some time living on a working ranch and photographing day-to-day cowboy life.

Joe Maher is a tough, but soft-spoken all business cowboy who hires out to cattle ranchers to round-up, rope, tag, and drive cattle. His reputation precedes him. I heard him called a miserable SOB from more than one source, so I was a little unsure about going to live in his house for a week.
I found Joe and his wife Barbara to be kind, genuine, hospitable, and unpretentious folks.
Joe also raises horses for sale. Wherever he goes at least one of his dogs is following, ready to help move cows by nipping at their heals.
Working with young colts and fillies is where Joe’s soft side shows through. Make no mistake, these horses are not pets. They are well cared for, but they spend most of their time outside to condition them to the uneven terrain they will be working in. Even so, the horses come right up to Joe as if to say hello.

Watching Joe work was an experience I’ll not forget. I heard it said that one cannot tell where Joe stops and the horse begins. They move and seem to think as one.

I designed and sent them a photo album with some of my favorite images.

Thank you Joe Maher

 

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