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I’m tired.  I’m so, so tired. It’s like I need to go on holiday, which is a joke considering I only just got back from a 12 day road trip in Cuba.  It must be the jet lag playing tricks on me.

So,  here’s a map to give you an idea of the journey me & my amigos took:

cuba2

 

Now, I didn’t drive on the trip, but , I learnt some important things about driving etiquette  on Cuban roads:

  • Cyclists are El Presidentes on the rural roads.  They have right of way and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. (Unless you overtake!)
  • Horse drawn carriages are Kings on rural roads.   They also have right of way and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. (Unless you overtake!)
  • Although the dogs in Cuba have nothing in terms of being revered like Cows in India, I double dare you to drive over one when it’s crossing the road!
  • If you’re thinking of relying on sign posts to get you to your next destination, you might want to rethink that strategy. For some weird and misguided reason, there’s an acute shortage of proper sign posts. I mean: what’s up with that?!?!?
  • While driving in a Tourist Hired Car, you stick out like a sore thumb. (Tourist Number Plates start with a ‘T’). And  so you also don’t forget you’re guest, local drivers on the other side flash their headlights at you. (I’m not sure how true that is, but I’m going to stick with my theory!!)  Cubano people just know when tourists are in town, even without a Yank accent!

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I had a really, really good time in Cuba.  Yes, there were some annoying aspects, especially with guys appearing out of nowhere offering you ‘the best Cuban Cigars in Town‘, or people trying to get more ‘C.U.C’s (Converted pesos!) for any reason they can out of you. I don’t blame them, really.  Although it’s a Socialist Nation, poverty is out there big time, and people have to hassle anyway they can.  Makes you appreciate how well we have it in the West.

Oh, a couple of more tips and observations before I put the pictures up:

  • They love their Pork in Cuba.  If you happen to be a Vegetarian, then you are fresh out of luck.
  • Hot water is not a constant. Come to think of it, nor were the hot drinks most of the time or the showers.
  • The coffee is damn good!
  • Some hotels are mirror images of Old Soviet Bureaucratic offices.  
  • I don’t drink or smoke, but you have GOT to try Bucanero beer and puff a Cubano cigar. 
  • Should anyone offer to sell you a 25 year old rum, you best run for the hills!
  • You have to try and eat at least at one ‘Paladar’.
  • Use a Spanish Latin phrase book. Take an European Spanish phrase book with you and suffer the consequences.
  • Let sleeping dogs lie. Nuff said.
  • Apparently, the Calle L is the popular Coppelia Ice cream parlour in Havana which is also supposedly the world’s biggest. Whatever the claim, don’t believe the hype!
  • Spend less time in Havana, but more time in the towns. You have more of an authentic feel of the lands.
  • For the love of God, avoid resorts!! But if you really want to  slob it up, then have 8 CUCs ready for every night you stay!
  • Have more CUCS!!
  • Go to ‘Papa’s (Ernest Hemmingway) old haunt, the El Floridita, just for the drinks. 
  • Of all the places we went to, Santiago de Cuba wins hands down.  If you find yourself in Santa Clara, Check out Che’s final resting place.
  • It’s one of the very rare countries that the people are impressed if you’re from Nigeria, especially if you’re Yoruba!
  • If it’s a cool hotel you want with flamenco dancing, outstanding food  and great staff, then I highly recommend El Meson D la Flota, at Plaza de San Francisco, Havana. If you want something, affordable & homely, then try Hector & Ely’s B&B. (if you want more info, drop me a line!)
  • Watch out for professional ‘posers’.  If you take their pictures, be prepared to part with some CUCs.

Ok, enough with the chatting. Here are some of my favourite pictures from the trip:

Old men at Trinidad, Cuba. 2008

pixgremlin_aworan_cuba_2008_2

Stray Dogs in Havana.

pixgremlin_aworan_cuba_2008_4

Cuban Cigars at Santiago De Cuba, Cuba. 2008

Cigar Chomping woman

Old woman on street, Havana. Cuba 2008

Hat Maker in Trinidad.

Street in Trinidad, Cuba. 2008

Statue of Che at Santa Clara, Cuba 2008

A big thanks to Elmo, Baba, ‘The Accountant’, My laughing buddy, and of course, Iya, for making this a memorable trip.

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7 thoughts on “El camino recto en Cuba!!

  1. Nice review, bud! Looks like you had a lot of fun off the beaten track. Great set of shots too. Love the sleeping tramp and is tiny little friend sitting on the floor on the right.. 🙂

  2. I said you would love Cuba!!!! I’m loving you pic of the 3 old men! I was a bit nervous about taking my digital SLR out so I left it at home and shot everything on my canon G9!!!

    I agree… avoid the resorts!!! we spent all our time in Havana and loved it! We were lucky cause it was their independence day and so there were parties everywhere!!! We paid 30 cuc for a day trip to Varadero, huge beach resort… it was soo beautiful and all food and drink was included for the day plus watersports, so for just that one day it was bliss, but defo wouldn’t spend more than a day on a resort… sooo damn boring!!!

    We were lucky cause everywhere we went the locals thought we were Cubano!!! they looked at us with two heads when they realised our Spanish was very limited!

    yeah we queued for 45 mins in the blazing morning heat. did we get any ice cream… no! My lil cuz almost fainted so had to rush some grub down her! I still do not understand what the fuss is about for that ice cream, the Cubans seem to love it?!

    We stayed in a Casa Particular… private house, which was amazing!We had our own little garden and kitchen, plus usual amenities they gave us fresh towels and sheets everyday and we used the hotel lobbies for internet and changing our money. if you can avoid using a cash machine do!!! They take you GBP’s convert to US$ then into CUC so you pay a load of interest and fees etc… better just to take a load of GBP’s cash and change them in the banks.

    ahhh I’m dying to go back and see the rest of Cuba…

  3. WOW – I AM NOW THINKING I SHOULD RE-THINK MY NYE HOLIDAY PLANS AND GO TO CUBA!!! ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS AND I AM SOOOOOOOOO TEMPTED! YOUR PIX ARE UTTERLY AMAZING….

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