April 13. Village life.

I wake up and I think it’s late but it’s not. It’s only 9:30. I pay the old lady and go. Carolina will show me a traditional village, where ecotourism has become the main source of income. I am shown cocoa trees, and taste the sweet pulp. I chew a seed too but it doesn’t taste like chocolate. There are friendly women braiding hats and small containers. There is a bamboo workplace where almost everything is made of bamboo: chairs, tables, wardrobes, the floor, the roof. I see different kinds of butterflies. Lunch: beef, lemonade, potatoes. In the afternoon I walk an interesting sendero and see trees of cacao, papaya, mango, tamarinde, and so on. Chewed a coffee bean straight from the plant – quite an experience for a city boy. So this is what an autonomous village looks like.

Say the word. The word is sycophancy. Enter the room. Come on, don’t be shy. We won’t bite you. You see the contours of people but the people don’t move. Come on, throw yourself at their feet. This has nothing to do with you. These people will wake up when it’s feeding time. Can’t you wait another fifteen minutes? They won’t move, they expect you. Don’t be confused. It’s all good. On my mark you may put your hand on their knees. Look them straight into their eyes, we’ll make some light for you. Don’t forget your pupils must be enormous. Now go away. Get them something to drink, anything, the expenses are yours. Forget about this.

At night, I take a taxi back to Santa Cruz because I have to pick up my backpack. The ride through the cool evening air is very comforting. Paying about three dollars for a hundred kilometer taxi ride, we rich Westerners are the gods of mobility here. Before lodging in the good old Oriente one more time, I eat a steak sandwich in restaurant Picolo in Calle Junin. The waiter with makeup on his eyes recognizes me. “Camilo, how is your writing?”