Thursday, 5 June 2008

Hasta luego...

Charlotte has left us and returned to England. It has been lovely to have our family with us for such a long period of time but it is equally disrupting as we have become so accustomed to just the two of us on board! Although the boat copes admirable with the greater numbers I think that TBH and I are not so adaptable. Must be something with getting older...!

At 40 feet we feel that we have a vessel that is the ideal size for comfortable cruising, and with two of us aboard there is a place for everything and everything is in it's place. Add a few more bodies and that all goes to pot! From being a pretty disorganized person ashore I find that I have morphed in to an order obsessed martinet. Actually TBH would probably describe that as demanding and impatient!

So now we have our space back it is time to regain the order and prepare to return towards the Rio. As the hurricane season is upon us we watch the weather with a more than usual eagle eye. We plan to be safely tucked up back at Mario's in early to mid July which, hopefully, will leave us time to have a week in the Cayman's and then a leisurely sail down to Guatemala, maybe stopping off in Belize before we enter the river again.

Of course that all depends on how hard and from which direction the wind blows...

We have both indulged in an orgy of book reading since the family arrived with a bag full of new books for us. A couple that we have found outstanding are 'Blood River' by Tim Butcher a travel book set in the Congo, Africa. TBH said it was a real and accurate portrayal of the hopelessness of Africa. It bought back clear memories of his childhood in Malawi and the years that he spent in South Africa. I am about to begin on that one.

I have just finished another travel book about Kazakstan, 'In search of Kazakstan' by Christopher Robbins. A rather more accurate portrayal of that ex Russian province so cruelly satirized by Sacha Baron Cohen in his alter ego of Borat!

The interesting thing has been a description of the long term effects of Communism on that country. Makes me think more deeply about what we have been experiencing here in Cuba. Our first impressions here were very positive and it is interesting that as we have spent longer and become more familiar with the country the problems become far more apparent. the constant surveillance is wearing and the stifling of initiative a sad thing to observe. Individuals are eager to be helpful but the rigid system of bureaucracy simply does not allow them, often, to accommodate out of the norm situations. There is certainly still a strong feeling here that everyone is looking over their shoulder. I will be interested to see how the country changes over the coming decade. Will they be able to take the positive attributes of a communist system and adapt it to the realities of the technologically changing world? Do they need to?

The more we travel the less I know that I know. In many ways its disturbing as I try to come to grips with my changing points of reference and in others it a magnificent mind stretching challenge. It has altered my relationships with other's, some of whom find my observations and opinions too strong for their liking whilst, on the other hand, it has opened some fascinating cultural discussions that I relish!

TBH was so right when he said that I would never see my home country through the same eyes again, damn him!

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