8th November, 2013
One should always allow for shrinkage on holiday.
We filled up with fuel and looking confused (in a CUC garage with red plates it's easy), a youngster on a motorbike offered to help. Rob willingly handed over 40CUC (R400) with Llyris exclaiming "he's giving our money to a total stranger". Quite predictably he bolted with the money leaving us to confront a rabid young petrol attendant, as, once again, the situation was lost in translation!
We went to the very sacred Basicillice del Cobre close to an old copper mine, and home to the Black Madonna.
The nearby pit from the mine is filled with florescent blue water.
We drove to the Sierra Maestra Mountain Range and had a spectacular view over SdC - or Santa Cuba or Cuba de Santiago, depending on Rob's mood.
We headed to the beach at Buanito for Joan to fulfil her fantasy of swimming in the Caribbean. First disappointment was the awful beach – the annoying beach boys, the warm water, the mangy dogs and the old lady washing her dirty plates where we were swimming. We ate at the beach bar and had a good meal of fish and langoustine, all washed down with beers to keep the humour flowing. We learnt that the beaches in the north of Cuba - on the Atlantic Ocean - are far better than the Caribbean side.
Beware: bathroom facilities in Cuba are a little scary at times!
We headed back to town and to the Castillo del Morro to watch the sunset. Built in 1637 it latterly became a prison in 1775. It was smoulderingly hot and we limped around until the sun set magnificently over the placid Caribbean.
On the way home the car came to a spluttering halt in the middle of peak hour traffic. Pushing the car to the side, gasping with the CO2 fumes, a guy offered to help, and to his and our amazement Robbo instantly figured out the problem - half a ton of petrol on the road said it all.
The mad mechanic hadn't put the fuel pipe back on properly.
Carolina and Ronaldo had prepared a lovely meal of rice, chicken and shrimp prepared in layers and covered with mayonnaise.
Luis joined us and we had fun evening learning more about Cuba over a bottle of Havana Club.