Going to the Boca Toma (part 2)

by Stefmanovic

We get back into the car, David tells me that I should actually do this on motorcycle, but since we don’t have them we shall do it by car. He grabs some of his duct tape and places it on some parts that look rather fragile. “For the counter-revolutionaries”, he adds as he puts some of it on the interior of the door that looks as if it might fall off.

We head off to the river. David warns me that I should avoid this part once the sun goes down. The other side of the Rio Ica is rather different than the side from which we came. Houses are improvised constructions of brick and adobe; most of them are totally brown and still have hay sticking out of them. “Go here after 20:00 muchacho and you might not get home! Did you know that this is where I first lived when I in Peru for the Peace Corps?” Apparently during the Kennedy administration the US government introduced the Peace Corps as some sort of alternative to military service. The idea is that young Americans are sent off to developing countries to help out the local populations over there. Many have argued that in Latin America the Peace Corps was nothing more than a means of the US to protect its interests in the continent. Furthermore, it is believed that it, together with the ‘Alliance for Progress’, was meant to isolate Cuba from other Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Back to the story…

I take a sip from my bottle of almost frozen water. “You know you shouldn’t drink your fluids that cold, it totally messes up your body.” I tell him I’ll be more careful with it next time, but that it’s simply too hot for me to stick to warm drinks. David stops the car in the middle of traffic. Fuck, I must have pissed him off! “Muchacho, look at the river!” Behind us cars are honking and drivers are cursing. I look down the bridge and see nothing but garbage and a tiny stream of water, as if somebody left the tap open. The river is slowly moving down south, all is visible is the bottom of the river that is filled with the waste people have thrown in it. We quickly get back into the car and drive on. It didn’t take long for us to be outside of the city. Bye to the asphalt streets and say hello to gravel. The car is bumping up and down whilst making sounds if it is some mechanical beast that is being tortured. “This is why we need bikes muchacho!” I wish we had some Vincent Black Shadows.

Dust clouds surround us; it is practically impossible to see anything around us. David tells me that his wife’s family has several chacras in this area. For those of you who don’t know what chacras are, they are small plots of land people use to grow crops. ‘Chacra’ is also an expression used to describe the countryside, as in “we are going to the chacra for the weekend”. Apparently his in-laws grow lots of mangos, pomegranates, and grapes. Every once in a while they bring a part of the harvest to David and Rosa’s house, which means we have a rather stable supply of fruits. The dust kind of clears off and we can once again see our surroundings. We are entering hacienda area. Haciendas are simply put large plantations owned by wealthy families. “They are still going asparagus, one day they will destroy this entire region you know?”


Here is a random picture of my great-aunt since I couldn’t find any other fitting picture for this part of the story. For some reason she is currently known as ‘gorda’, meaning fat in Spanish which is rather odd since she isn’t that fat. Oh yeah, she likes Slayer!