Published: April 13th 2008April 13th 2008
Time to update you on the thrills and spills from Cuba.
I think Amy last wrote on our last day in Trinidad. Reluctant to leave Trinidad but feeling we should move on we continued east to a city called Camaguey which is the biggest city in central Cuba.
Camaguey was again very different to Havana and Trinidad. The most obvious difference was the lack of other tourists and to be honest, after a quick whizz round the city´s few sights, there wasn´t a huge amount there to do except to soak in the Cuban way of life such as waiting for an hour to get into a bank etc. I reckon the Cuban´s enthusiasm for queueing might even rival ours and they have an ingenous system "el ultimo" where you can just ask who is last in the queue, wait until there is someone after you, and then you are free to wander off in the knowledge that your place in the line is safe
Anyway, enough of the chat about queueing. Having run out of sights to see pretty quickly and having just about recovered movement in our legs after the horse riding we
Our "taxi" breaking down
We had tohelp lift the car to replace the tyre
decided to put right our inability to dance and spend an afternoon learning Salsa in some old lady´s house who claimed to be the director of dance at the city´s accademy. I think she particularly enjoyed me regularly stamping on her toes as her instructions of "1, 2, 3, pause" and "feel the music, move your hips" were strangely hard to follow (I didn´t think she was ready for the genius of one legged dancing so I left that for another day). I think we still need a little more practice before being ready for competitions but we´re well on the way
What else did we do in Camaguey, hmmm, we escaped the city to Santa Lucia beach, one of cuba´s longest stretches of sand and reefs and in the evening went to see one of Cuba´s biggest stars strut her stuff at some concert and dance thing ' all a bit random and tricky to understand in Spanish still no other tourists in sight, but quite fun
Happy to move on from Camaguey, we got up early for the 6 hour coach journey to Santiago de Cuba and then particularly enjoyed waiting in a deserted bus terminal
for a couple of hours until a bus, which didn´t look anything like ours, finally arrived and assured us they were going in the right direction. Good to there word, 7 hours later we arrived. People had warned us about the hassle you get here and sure enough the hustlers sensed some new flesh as soon as we stepped off the bus. Its actually not too bad and its all pretty friendly stuff just a bit of a change from what we were used to. Apart from the usual city stuff our big fun here was to finally track down a baseball match. Having turned down the $25 tourist ticket (the tourist prices are crazy here) we opted for the locals section and for a bargain price of 1 Peso (about 4p) we found ourselves jam packed onto a concrete bench surrounded by shouting, dancing fans. It was the semifinal off their league championship playoffs so important stuff. With a mixture of our dodgy Spanish and some basic English we just about worked out what was going on from the guy next to us, although after 4 hours of play and about half way through, the novely of concrete was
The Ron museum
The museum was all in spanish so we still don't know much more than when we went in.
definitely waring off and the regular mexican waves were a welcome respite. Santiago ended up thrashing the other team so celebrations all round.
Apart from that, we´ve been to La Gran Piedra, the biggest rock in the world apparently, which is in the mountains nearby and today have been to Castillo del Morro which has a slightly less impressive claim of being the best castle from 1872 used for military purposes in the whole of the square mile around it, actually the claim was a bit better than that and was worth it as it looks right over the carribean coastline either side, really beautiful under a baking clear blue sky. We also had the adventure of our battered out 1950s taxi with all its inside trim missing breaking down on the way back which added a great Cuban flavour to the trip.
So our adventures in Cuba are almost at an end. A flight back to Havana this evening and then our flight to Cancun and Mexico tomorrow. I´ll wait until Mexico to give you our final thoughts on our cuban experience and the country as a whole (something for you all to look forward to) and
hopefully in Mexico we´ll have more luck uploading photos (like everything here, it seems surprisingly tricky)
Adios mes amigos
There are more photos below