Sunday, 15 February 2009

Happy Valentines Day Las Tunas


Time drifts slowly here. Dogs lie in the street under small palm trees and waste the day away asleep in the shade out of the heat. The main street of Las Tunas is about the length of a football field with street lamps. Nothing much of notice lines the street, La Cabanas la mirada a la mar (where we rent a room for $15 a night), a small restaraunt with a few tables in some gravel where you order directly into the kitchen, a few baby palm trees, a few more small buildings and cabanas that are private residences and a community center where a married couple who we've made friends with, named Chun and Fanny volunteer, is all. A sea wall that holds a white concrete railing with posts missing like broken teeth, separates the street from the beach. There is a store around the corner that sells a few things like water, pineapples, chocolate, eggs, margarine, beer and the local liquor (a cane liquor), and serves as a makeshift bar on their patio on the weekends where the men will sometimes drink straight through the night and offer me a shot of their sugar cane liquor when I go to the store to get coffee and juice in the morning. I accept. It´s good for the comradery. The older locals eye me with curiosity. The young guys give me the hang loose sign. But for the most part the people ignore me, which is nice. Tattoos don´t seem to carry much connotation down here like they do in the States. Throughout the day the locals congregate along the sea wall and mingle, kids play in the surf and the sand throughout the day. And when the waves come the surfers head out into the water. On the weekend, familiy´s, lovers, and packs of surfers come to town, and music plays loudly from car stereos. Marie and I read and write on our second story deck from our cabana, drink coffee and beer and eat at the restaurant down the street, at another restaurant on the beach called D Jimmy's, at the Hosteria that has the giant wooden boat with the internet, or a local woman´s house who brings us whatever she has made that day for $2.50 each. I eat a lot of fish. Marie eats a lot of shrimp and squid. Most dishes are around $4, and beers are around a $1. When we get bored we walk out to the main road and take the bus to either Puerto Lopez close by to the North of us, or to Mantanita - the party surf town to the South of us - like we did last night, both of us forgetting that it was Valentines day. The place was packed and full of young people walking the dirt streets that began to turn to mud as the rain trickled down. The place was full of bars and hostels catering to stoners, partiers and surfers. It's a party town, but all we really wanted was to rent a cheap room for the night with a television and watch a movie. We had a couple of pina coladas and wandered the streets in the trickling rain through the throngs of people, fire dancers, hippies, rastas and young kids fruitlessly looking for a room, realizing that we´d have to take a taxi back to Las Tunas as the buses had stopped running at nine - a couple of hours earlier. So we ate chicken at a couple of different street vendor stands and bought a few burned dvd´s from a stand for $1.50 each and took a cab back to our place for $20 for the forty five minute ride along the coast, through jungle, along the way me telling Marie about the Chupacabra scaring her as we drove into the night.


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