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maandag 24 september 2007

Cuba Update 2

Aah, thank god there is more than one city in Cuba. Habana was an interesting experience, but the incessant harrasment by the jiniteros (hustlers) gets to you after a while. Viñales on the other hand is an oasis of peace and calm. We were able to just stand about on an intersection and talk with someone without anyone trying to sell us something.

We took a bus from Habana to Viñales. During the drive we met a Dutch girl, Santa Lucia, who thought we were speaking South African. And we´ve been hanging out together since. We´ve also met a lot of Flemish people. And, everybody is here for the same reason: let´s go before el Jefe is dead.

Anyway, like I said Viñales was great. A quiet, peaceful village with only one bar with live music, some shops, and a lot of nature. The day after our arrival we went on a horse-back ride through the hills. Our guide was quite talkative, and explained to us the different things we saw, like pineapple crops, and the cooperative farms and such. After about an hour or three we stopped at the house of a local campesino ( farmer), who farmed tobacco. There we smoked a hand-rolled cigar, which was way better than any factory-made cigar you´ll ever have. Next, we took a swim in a local pool, next to a smallish waterfall and some palm trees. In one word: the bomb.

The next day we went up to the local beach, for a day of relaxing (and unfortunately a lot of mosquito bites). There I got a serious sunburn. You win some, you lose some I guess.

After a day or three, and great mojito´s, we had seen enough of the (nonetheless beautiful) environment of Viñales. Next stop: Trinidad. There are only two ways (besides hithchiking) to get there: bus or taxi. The bus goes to Habana, and after a 2 hour lay-over there is another one to Trinidad. This takes about 11 hours. By taxi, it takes 6 hours more or less. If you can pool a cab it costs a few CUC more, but it´s a lot easier. So, Hammy, me and Santa Lucia hooked up with two guys from Antwerp we met by chance and booked us a cab. This makes 5 people, while a normal cab only takes 4. So, we chartered a minivan. Since Cubans don´t like to waste anything, they filled out the bus with 2 Austrian girls and 1 Israeli girl (who were going to Cienfuegos, which is on the way).

Trinidad is a Unesco Heritage site with a lot of colonial houses, a church and some museums. We got around the center in half a day. In that time you get to see pretty much all there is to see (including of course jiniteros). Here again the country-side is amazing. There is hiking to be done, horse-back riding, a great beach, a trip with a steam train (if it didn´t break down about a week ago), etc. Yesterday evening and the day before we got together with the Belgians we met at de Casa de Musica, where (you guessed it) there is live music to dance to, and cocktails to be had.

Today we went up to the amazing pearly-white beach we dreamed about. Unfortunately it started raining hard after an hour or two. It´s peculiar to see the blazing sun over the water, and extremely dark clouds over the beach. After an hour or so, it cleared up though. Tomorrow we´ll be going for a Seafari, which is a catamaran trip to an island, where we should get to see some coral reefs, beautiful fish, and iguanas strolling on the beach.

The most amazing part of Trinidad is our Casa Particular though. Our hostess is extremely friendly. Her husband is a musician (trovadores in Cuba, or Mariachi in Mexico). One morning he sung a serenade at our window to wake us up. Yesterday we had lobster outside, just the two of us. Before our meal he sang us several classical Cuban songs. How cool is that!

So, on wednesday we´re driving up to Varadero, via the mausoleum of Che in Santa Clara. Thursday we´ll head to the beach one more time to watch the all-inclusive-don´t-want-to-know-the-inland-tourists (just like a zoo). Friday it´s off to Habana again, for some live jazz. The day after, we´ll be taking a last stroll in the town center, and then (boo hoo!!!) our time here is up.

2 opmerkingen:

Calypso zei

Wow, klinkt mega-cool! Hoewel ik nog niet begrijp hoe Santa Lucia Nederlands kan zijn, klinkt eerder local, niet? :-D
Amuseer jullie nog, drink er eentje op mij :-p en ik kijk alvast uit naar het volgende verslag!

Anoniem zei

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