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Published: September 13th 2007
I have had the most beautiful environment to relax in but the universe is paying me back by striking me down with a stomach bug. I drank a bottle of 'purified'water instead of bottled spring water so maybe that's the culprit. I've managed to swim and relax with a few magazines but I had to cancel my diving. Bummer.
I bumped into an Aussie couple asking for directions on the main street. Please don´t let me turn into one of those wanker travellers who thinks they know everything about a place because I've been there overnight. Apparently Cuba is really cheap if you share a room (yes, a room) with three other couples. Yeah, fat chance I'd do that as a single female traveller. For some reason, and it appears the case with a lot of Aussie travellers, some people think that you're not experiencing the 'real' country unless you get dysentery and travel in squalor conditions. I have no regrets spending half my time in beautiful hotels and the other half in budget accommodation and family homes in Cuba.
When I tell other travellers I'm travelling partly on my own and partly with tours I get the strangest looks and comments follow along the lines of 'why not do it yourself for a real experience?'. When I explain to them that it's not safe to get off the beaten track when you're a female travelling solo, I get a blank look off the men. How do you explain to an idiot who doesn't want to listen that one in four women are sexually assaulted and travelling alone in a third world country puts me at greater risk than if I were travelling with a partner or in a group. Sure, I'd love to hire a car and do it myself, coming and going as I please. But I'm travelling through countries where law enforcement is corrupt, a large proportion of the men are sleazy pigs who think western women are easy, and where weather is unpredictable. So why would I put myself through the anxiety of attempting it by myself?
Part of me wishes men could live in the shoes of women for just one week. To have to look over your shoulder every few minutes when walking down a dark street, to experience the sexually inappropriate questions asked by taxi drivers, to be travelling on an empty bus only to have some sleazy pig insist on sitting next to you and to take up the seat so your legs have nowhere to go but to touch his, to be going about your day and have a handful of men try to chat you up but then hear nasty comments as you walk by because you ignored them (um, excuse me, you compliment me and I'm supposed to throw myself at you? Idiot). You don't have to be a supermodel for this to happen, you just have to have breasts and a pulse. Yep, welcome to the everyday joys of being a woman.
After my dive was cancelled I took a taxi to Zipolite. The beach is beautiful but has a wicked undercurrent and I read has dangerous rips. There are restaurants on the beach and while not packed, there were quite a number of young backpacker types on the beach and in the restuarants. I'm glad I chose Puerto Angel, there's nobody on the beach there. I have it all to myself 😊
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