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Published: October 21st 2008
It is very true that this is the land of the very, very good looking...especially the men. We stopped in a cheap hotel on the Malecon , south end, for the first night to get aquainted with the city.The view from the balcony was amazing , i couldnt believe what i was seeing. There is an unusual beauty in a city in a constant state of repair. It was mesmirising as was the ocean.
Our surly reception and tacky hotel and budget sent us to the streets to grab a bite for dinner. This is when our culture shock really hit us. It was such an extreme leaving the over commercialised beaches of cancun to the very non existant commercial or consumation society of cuba. It was evident as we walked stunned that we werent in mexico anymore todo!! I felt that not only had we arrived in a different country but a different time and different world. Culture shock! It is a photographers dream but a chefs nightmare. We walked in hope of finding food but only stumbling on a spattering of uninviting restaurants and very few shops with bare shelves. Our spanish was improving but was hard to understand
the new accent so it was back to square 1. No entiendo!!! My lack of knowledge of these new surroundings sent me straight to my only book for research(lonely planet 2004). It touched on most of the subjects but not much and im not very politically minded which left me still confused. Really new to me to see people line up for food rations although everyone was looking healthy. I guess we being new to them aswell as its hard to ignore being constantly and intensely stared at.
We walked the next day to our casa particular but our host had double booked but she had organised with her friend for us to stay there and she would cook meals for us. It was a house in between the baseball stadium and the big Jose Marti statue. I think she needed the money because she wasnt really set up for casa particular and we only recieved one meal . We took over her bedroom and shared the bathroom with the only other room where her 18 yr old son lived with his girlfriend plus her now. She was friendly enough but our no entiendo spanish contributed to a uncomfortable few
At an already 30 degrees at 8 am we thought we would start our museum hikes around town early. Walking along the beautiful malecon just wondering what cuba was like in its hayday. Unfortunately the only friendly cubans we spoke to was trying to fleece our wallets. The museum of the revolution was really , really good.Lots of documentation and pictures and artefacts(is that what they are called?)
In the afternoon sun we came across some friendly cubano women , the other museum was closed due to renos so we chatted about mojitos and we took them to the local bar to shout. It wasnt long after my second sip that they were trying to get money off us. We were happy to pay for drinks and stuff but it got really intimidating so we payed our overpriced bill and scampered. Gosh it was a long day and found a little bar near the casa and drank our day away with sweet beers. We are travelling with an open mind and on a budget but found Havana as pretty as it is it was to be hard work. I guess they have more worries than us like not enough
The touristic places we found the bueno music. Was funny to see the nurses uniforms aswell, what they wore looked not short of a seductive fancy dress costume.
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