Day 3 started out just like day 2; scrambled eggs and toast with fresh fruit and juice. Edinson and Michael were right on time at 8:30 to take us to the mountains for a swim. Mountains is a generous term for Cuba’s hilly area. We were definitely in a different part of the country that was filled with trees, cattle and open roads. Outside of Havana there is very little traffic. Our guide told us that very few people own cars in the city. The government controls EVERYTHING. Edinson said that Huyndis are the most expensive car that a citizen can buy, and a new one is $35,000, for a small one. We learned a lot from our guides on just how controlled the country is.
What was supposed to only be about an hour’s drive, was actually two hours with a few stops here and there. Kirsten took one for the team and sat on the floor of the back seat, while the guides again sat in the 2 front bucket seats in comfort. About half way through the ride her butt fell asleep. The radio was blaring the entire way, even while the guide was trying to talk
to us. The songs repeat about every 40 min. We are not fluent in Cuban pop music. All part of the experience. We did have to stop for gas, and despite being given a price for the day, they asked for money for gas. We finally get to the place and we hike in a little bit to a bunch of rocks and a slow moving river, or stream, it was more a stream than a river. The water was refreshing and cool. We sat in the river for the next three hours. Riley must have thought that you can’t get sunburned in the Caribbean for some reason and neglected to put on sun screen. Her back is now a bright, shiny red. Cubans like to sit and relax, and that’s what we did. We did jump off the waterfall a few times. It was only 8-10 feet maybe, but we got Megan and Riley to take the plunge. Chester and Kirsten’s biggest worry was falling on the climb up and embarrassing themselves. We met some other travelers from Miami and talked with them.
Lunch actually provided some entertainment, but thank goodness we saw it after we ate. Riley
again struggled to eat something authentic to Cuba. Three of us had chicken and rice and beans, while the other three had pork slices and rice and beans. After our meal, Kirsten noticed a worker using a pulley system that had a cart attached to it that traversed across the river. Initially we thought it was some type of zip line. We saw a worker pushing the cart over and when it returned is was filled with . . . fish and pork and various other partially frozen meats. How do we know this, because it was just sitting in the cart waiting to be unloaded. The fish were in white, plastic bags. The pork, well the pork was just sitting there, in the sun, on the cart, no sanitary conditions to be found anywhere. We can see the hoofs sticking out in all directions as it looked like it was just tossed onto the “dumb waiter”. We watched the worker unload everything with disgust. Some other worker just popped up out of nowhere from the river side and grabbed a side of pig and hauled it off to the scale. Don’t worry, we got pictures. It did go into
a refrigerated container after, but the lack of gloves and any type of cleaning made us worry we would have stomach issues that night. But they must have cooked it all out.
Kirsten again road on the floor going home, talk about the world’s best aunt. The ride home was quiet and smooth (if you are in a seat). We didn’t hit any traffic until we got back into the city where they think Raul was so they blocked off some of the streets. The evening from there was quite mellow. We walked down to a restaurant where Megan and Riley ate what they call pizza, but really it was just dough, with probably ketchup and cheese melted on top. We tried to find an ice cream shop but by the time we got there it was closed. He hit the highlights of Havana and are ready to move on. Tomorrow will be another early start while we travel to a new destination.
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