A deep limestone sink hole provided a cool respite during our horseback ride through the Pinar del Rio’s Valley of Silence. In addition, the stop provided yet another opportunity for Elizabeth Jean’s crew to practice its Spanish and exchange important cross cultural ideas.
The sink hole was empty when we arrived and Eric (who had failed to bring a bathing suit) did what comes naturally. He thoughtfully left most of his clothes far from the water and sand.
Fast forward to the arrival of four European women. After waiting in waist deep water for what seemed like forever, Eric grabbed his underwear and beat a hasty retreat. Note the women’s complete lack of interest.
Eric took solace in the well known shrinkage principle. Upon rejoining Juan and Andres, Eric asked in Spanish if they understood “shrinkage.” Their quizzical expressions signaled that the freeze in U.S.-Cuban relations had hindered the penetration of this popular culture meme. After further discussion, including pantomime where vocabulary was lacking, Andres and Juan grasped the concept. They debated whether “contraccion,” “reduccion,” or “el encogimiento” (meaning shyness or withdrawing) best captured the concept.
For those unfamiliar with Seinfeld’s exposition on shrinkage google “seinfeld and shrinkage” and Youtube will answer your questions.