Sunday, July 15, 2012

Climb Every Mountain

Buenos Dias...

Once a month, the public works people feel that they need to shut down the electricity for the base. They choose Sunday mornings. Certain activities have generators – the chapel, the commissary, and the gym, just for example. I feel sorry for the lady at the front desk of the lodge. Some piece of machinery is supposed to beep if the power is cut off. The beep works well.

Anyway, I thought it would be a good morning to take a bicycle ride. So I did. Up behind the lodge, there is a tall hill with windmills thereupon. I decided to ride up to the windmills. I made it about two-thirds of the way up. Then I pushed the bicycle up the rest of the way.

Some years back, my Marine unit was sent to Bridgeport, California for mountain warfare training. The first morning of training, we pushed off with 40-pound packs. We started from our base camp at about 6700 feet. We hiked roughly four miles to the training area. I could barely keep up. This is not unexpected, as I do not train like Marines. Still, these chain-smoking, weighted down Marines simply marched over hill and dale in thin air at a speed that would embarrass most of us on a city street.

The memory of trying to keep up with those Marines has stayed with me. As such, there was no way I was not getting to the top of that hill this morning. So huffing and puffing, half walking, half riding, I did it. The payback was lovely. The view was magnificent, although I forgot my camera. As well, I got to ride down.

Jennifer and I have a fun disagreement. She seems to think that riding downhill is the time to rest when on a bicycle. I think it is the time to pedal. I pedaled. I slowed down dramatically for one switchback. Otherwise, I would have gotten down much more quickly than I wanted. By the way, I always wear my helmet. Today, I even remembered sunscreen.

There is one other tall hill. I did not ride up. On that hill, the American flag flies 24/7. Some of you might not be aware of flag rules on a military installation. The base officially has one flag. It flies at the base headquarters. The flag always comes down at sunset. The base flag here does come down at sunset. The only time the American flag flies at night is on a Naval ship underway. There are other limited circumstances as well. If it flies at night on land, it MUST be lit up. On Guantanamo, there is another flag.

On a remarkably tall hill, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay flies a flag 24/7, lit up for all the world to see. More importantly, it is lit up for Fidel and Raoul to see, any time they so desire, or not. Apparently, the Cold War is not quite over.

Now I am back in my room, waiting for the power to come on so that I can be socially acceptable.

Have a good day.

Now I am finally posting this, as I do not have internet in my room. Have a good evening.


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