Blogs from Cuba, Central America Caribbean - page 59


Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana October 22nd 2007

The European colonizers of South America wiped out entire indigenous populations with what we know in the UK as the “common cold”… well now it seems those ghosts of the Americas past are eventually getting their revenge on an innocent group of European students in La Habana. Almost everyone has had some kind of flu-stomach-fever virus… I wont go into too much detail but several of my friends have tested out the highly acclaimed Cuban health system… Corina was “lucky” in that she got to go to a private clinic (basically for tourists, in Miramar, the district where all the embassies are) although this was in the middle of the night with a fever and after being rejected from a Cuban hospital. Tomas on the other hand got to stay a couple of nights in a ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Centro » Trinidad October 9th 2007

Trinidad Road Trip Wow, what a weekend… its gonna be a mission to try to fit in all the stories but I’ll give it a shot. After much indecisiveness and guilt, I abandoned 2 sick friends, missed another friend’s (possible) afternoon birthday dancing outing, hopefully made it up 2 her by going out 4 peso pizza and getting her a cute prez, missing my 2nd yoga class in a row… I finally decided to go to TRINIDAD on another “excursión” which seemed ridiculously cheap with a group of other European students. (Not my usual lot, they were all very ill, hospitalised or chasing a Cuban girl). The ridiculously cheap bit of course had its reasons as we found out… actually seemed ridiculously expensive at times as some of the following stories will reveal. The craziness all ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana October 3rd 2007

La Habana Journals 4 It seems the manaña attitude is seeping into my blog writing…sorry! Will try to fill in a little without writing a boring list of what I’ve done. Briefly ive been mostly… partying, drinking rum, going to the beach (in maquina - 50’s old American banger), queuing, eating ridiculously cheap ice-cream (and getting sick 1 time from it), hanging out with too many Germans and trying hard to socialize more with the Cubans! Of course, studying and doing cultural stuff 2… Monday was a shit day… I was so looking forward to taking advantage of not having classes… and then so pissed off with dead ends! It started with a pretty hilarious run down the Malecon… it had rained the nite b4 and the waves were mini-tsunamis… crashing over the wall and soaking ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana September 11th 2007

First experiences in La Universidad de Habana 05.09.07 Everything. Here. Happens. Very. Slowly. If it happens at all. It seems one of the favourite pastimes of the Cuban population is queuing… waiting… waiting… queuing.. and … waiting some more… and then actually… mañana. That’s what happened on Monday at uni - we went to enrol but we couldn’t do so until the next day because Magaly, in charge of foreign students, felt ill. Tuesday then, we went in again… I went to the first class that I was interested in - Estudios Afro-Caribeños - turns out the profe is away for two weeks so another is covering, but he teaches Arte del Caribe, which I was also interested in but I think I will only do one of the two. Four of us “extrangeros” (me, Rob ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana September 8th 2007

Cuba no es facil (Cuba is not easy....) that’s what the locals will tell you. And they are right. We left Lima, sad to finally say goodbye to South America after traveling there for 6 months, but we excited to be going to Cuba, home of Salsa, Cigars and all things Castro…. We spent all afternoon flying from Lima to Havana (locals call it La Habana) with a stopover in Costa Rica Airport. Costa Rica seems to be full of Americans, all lining up for their hit of Burger King…. Anyways we arrived in Habana at midnight. Felt a little strange getting there, immigration was full on, worse than what you get in the US. Eventually they opened the door for me, stamped my tourist card (for some reason they didn’t stamp my passport) and I ... read more
Stuck In Time
Plaza In Habana Vieja
Varadero Beach

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana September 2nd 2007

I’ve moved into a new casa particular, owned by a lovely couple, Anita and Jorge - they live below Yamelis and Federico and but also have this house… some kind of loophole so they don’t really live here but can rent it. It’s a much better deal for a permanent stay than Casa Federico, which is really set up for tourists. Here I pay $CUC 450 a month which includes breakfast and dinner (huge tasty portions, there’s lots of fresh juice and she even manages to get hold of tomatoes which I haven’t seen in any of the markets!). There’s a German girl living here too, Corina, here for a semester to study psychology. The apartment is on a main road, Infanta, opposite a Catholic Church, near the uni and the Malecón. It’s on the ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana August 31st 2007

What they say is true. The food in Cuba is terrible. We managed to find a Chinese restaurant amongst the garbage strewn streets of Havana. The broken neon lights blinked halfheartedly and a man in a white shirt and dress pants sweated as he waved a menu at us. As we trudged up the dimly lit stairs I wondered if we would live to regret this. An elderly Chinese men showed us to our table and leant an air of authenticity to the place. Fidel and Raul had eaten here and beamed from black and white photos, their chopsticks poised over bowls of rice. We ordered from a menu that featured horse and I later learned that what I ordered was listed in the dictionary simply as being ´meat from beast´. Outside, people hung from narrow ... read more
The three musketeers
Street art
Local lunch

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana August 28th 2007

The dustyfoot traveller is back, literally. After just one day in Habana I’m immediately regretting not bringing a scrubbing brush, blister plasters and a lot more chocolate, especially as I severely doubt the postal service! Other than that, I’m loving it. Arriving alone at the airport last night, I waited nervously for my luggage, which I was happily surprised to be reunited with. In the taxi to my casa particular (room rented in a house) we passed posters proclaiming the joys of Castro’s regime, many unlit cyclists and crowds of people waiting at bus stops. At Casa Federico the couple I am staying with are lovely - Federico and Yamelis (who is 7 months embarazada). The flat is just off the Malecón - the 8km road along the seawall, where waves crash against the rocks and ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Viñales August 15th 2007

The old man chewed his tobacco in a slimy clump and then spat it in a drooling mess to the ground. The pig laying next to him didn't move but the cat was quick to give it a lick. He was aged somewhere upwards of 100 years old. They think 120 but noone knows for sure. Found as an 11 year old boy in the bush in the Vinales mountains, his rescuers were long since dead but he lived on. His feet were tough as leather as he had never worn shoes and he looked pretty good for someone who had never been to a doctor. In fact nobody around these parts had ever been to a doctor. The local people believed in the healing powers of the mineral rich waters that flowed through the mountains. ... read more
A little old house in the mountains
Who are you kidding?
Local transport

I woke up at 5.30am and had asked for breakfast at 6.00am. I think Julia and Pena got drunk on the champagne last night because they were pretty rowdy and they didn't get up until 6.30am, the time my taxi was booked for. Julia wrapped up a tomales for me to snack on. I'd never been up at 6.30am in Santiago, it was definitely the best time of the day with the temperature just right. I literally spent all day in airports - from 6.45am to 8.00pm - Santiago de Cuba to Havana to Cancun to Mexico City. I was so happy to arrive in Mexico City. I'm familiar with the airport, I know where to get taxis, I trust the people, I can go about my business without being harrassed. As I was searching for ... read more

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