3:00 pm

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Fortunately, after just one day there, I hop in a taxi colectivo with a friendly American couple and their 12-year-old daughter, and we rumble down the highway in an ancient Ford in the direction of Viñales.

It is hotter here, if that is possible. The driver is thorough in his hand-off of me at my casa — he waits until my host and I physically connect before he takes his leave.

My cousins -- also traveling in Cuba -- have left me a note to meet them at the church at noon. They are leaving Viñales today, in an untimely turn of events. It is almost 3 p.m., and though I'm sure they're gone, I wander by the church anyway. We find out later we've missed each other by half an hour.

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