Monday, 2 December 2013

10th November, 2013
Cuba is astonishingly clean. Africa could take a lesson or two from this.

We have now been here for a week and starting to learn the ropes. Cuba is an experience and home stays are an eye opener. It is important to either book through someone like Sergio or to get referrals. But question the type of accommodation, although that too can be deceptive. Make sure you take soap, a towel and linen is often a bit shabby (and towels are small). If you forget your flannel or sponge - beware you will spend the rest of the trip washing with a pot scourer (as I have done). We brought bottles with charcoal filters to avoid littering the place with plastic bottles. Most of the time you can drink the water but it has a distinct chalky flavour, and it can sort out the most stubborn bowel. We opted out of breakfast at Santiago's house, he was a little intense and we wanted to flee his crowded apartment. They charged 5CUC (R50) - pricey - and it was a good decision. Cafeterias along the road are cheap, we bought 4 rolls, 2 coffees and fresh pawpaw juice for less than  2CUC (R20). Try and exchange CUCs for local pesos.

Cuba is also astonishingly clean.  There is absolutely no litter anywhere. Horses have sacks to catch manure and although there are no visible dustbins, plastic and papers are not part of the landscape. Africa could take a lesson or two from this.

Road signs are erratic. GPS don't exist and the best way around is to ask locals who are more than willing to run, drive, cycle ahead until to 'arrive at your destination' and be rewarded with a CUC or 2.

We drove 6 hours from Holguin to Moron, staying at Marcel and Roberto's very smart casa. We arrived at lunch time and headed straight for the beach at Coya Coco. Moron is small and not that complicated, but I think we were all brain fried and it became like a Douglas Green ad. We passed the same bunch of loitering youths about 3 times who were eventually rolling on the floor laughing.

To get to Coya Coco you cross over a man-made causeway that's 20kms long. Locals have to get permission to cross and there is a 2CUC toll each way. The beaches are polluted with fully inclusive hotels pumping with overweight tourists. We managed to sneak onto a beach and slip onto a veranda where Alberto snuck us beers and Cuba Libras, surely pocketing the money. He also produced 2 rather average pizzas, for which we were grateful as we were starving. The sea was beautiful, although milky, and the beaches white and narrow.

Dinner was at the casa, another meal of prawns and pork. Marel had invited Miguel, a geography and history professor who now teaches extra English lessons, and thrilled to practise his English on us.

Address: 77 Serafin Sanchez, Moron. 
Hosts: Marel and Roberto.

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