Prepping for Hiking in Cuba—and the most relevant scene from the Wizard of Oz… (Part 6/9)


Packing for tomorrow’s “6 hour hiking experience with Dennis.” Last week I was religious about washing my clothing out in the shower every night. This week, not so much. With 5 days left, it was apparent my lack of clothing (due to a ridiculous amount of art gear) was going to cause problems.

Setting out my clothes for tomorrow, I realise the last time I saw most of them was in the back of the Casa I’m staying at, hanging on a clothes line, after having asked this morning how to do laundry. With prayers someone is around, I find the daughter of the owners of my Casa who very proudly hands me a bag full of my clean clothing. I can’t remember being this excited about clean clothing since my days of trekking as an earth scientist (dare I say ,quite a few decades ago? Okay, maybe even more than a few???)… And to have someone else do them? Pure heaven!!! 7 CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) later, all were happy.

Big question, am I more afraid of heat stroke, or Zika? Basically, shorts, or long pants. I go with the shorts, and will pack the DEET, and wash in lavender soap, and spray myself and all my clothing with this lavender/witch hazel concoction I made before leaving the UK. It’s been my saviour on many occasions, as not only does it keep the bugs away, but it’s refreshing, and takes the rank smell of melting bodies out of everything.

Melting bodies. I’m here during a heatwave that even the local Cubans find oppressive. I’m drinking at least 4 litres of water daily (ok, maybe I’m counting Daiquiris and Conchoncharras as part of my liquid count, the ice does matter you know…) I’m in chronic combat with my “I’m mellllllting” body that evokes scenes of the Wicked Witch from the East in the Wizard of Oz. I literally feel like I’m melting into a fluid puddle of body most of the sunlit days here (aka all of them.) Potential art visual????

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