Friday, 29 November 2013

6th November, 2013

Oi vey but that was a long way.

Santa Clara to Santiego de Cuba (or as Rob calls it Cuba de Santiego, or Santa Cuba depending on how muddled he feels). We seemed to travel the whole world to get there, Venezuela, Florida, Colorado, Uruguay and yesterday we saw Australia, reminiscent of our drive from Pongola to Johannesburg which we did via Amsterdam and Belfast. Everyone seems to borrow names – so who did come first?

But, boy, did yesterday fell like a whirl wind tour. 9 hours with Rob and Llyris sharing the driving. The road was fine, until Llyris took over when she went crashing into the worst pot holes we have encountered. The shocks on our Gleagle are just that - shot. Road signs are a little dubious, with Camaguey (pronounced Camaway) changing its mind on a regular basis dropping or adding kilometres when it feels like it. How we have ever found our establishments is a pure a miracle with no maps. The trick is to pick up a runner who either literally runs in front of the car or hops in - with Llyris growling from the front "who is this man?"

People along the road have not been particularly friendly, in fact viewing us with disdain. It can be disconcerting. You have to be careful where you take pics. Our hosts have all been great and cannot do enough for us, but the average guy on the street glares with almost hatred at our red number plates (clearly indicating we are foreign). The double currency also lands up costing us a premium as everything costs CUC1 ($1) no matter what it is.

It is quite fun being in a place where buxom is beautiful and people certainly aren't starving. Their status quo is also a little confusing with some saying it’s impossible to travel whilst others have family 'in the States' who they see regularly.

Our hosts in SdC are very embracing. Carolina is a professor of architecture at the University and her husband, Renaldo, is 'the best chef in town' says Carolina as she pats his rotund tummy. Tonight we shall eat with them. Last night we went to a casa particular and had mojitos (finally) and I stuck to shrimps, knowing I can't go wrong. It was an excellent meal for CUC 34 - half the price of Santa Clara and 1/3 of Havana.

Address: 556 San Francisco Street, Santiago de Cuba. 
Hosts: Carolina and Rolando.
San Francisco Street. One of the main roads - 
and, gasp, so narrow!
One of the many nerve wracking moments in 
San Francisco Street -
trucks rushing down a whisker away from our Gleagle!
Roof top view by day....
.....and by night!! A stiff G&T before dinner.

5th November, 2013

This is unashamedly Che country.
His statue stands proud - 
and guarded in Revolution Square (there's one in every town!)
Horse power in Santa Clara
Horses and old cars obeying traffic lights.
The lights have a count-down system - such a good idea.
Our home for the night: Valdez Perez, 106 Luis Estevez St, Santa Clara. 
Our hosts: Teresita and Roberto
Breakfast! Note the creative use of a shower curtain.
Sunflowers - cheerful sight on a dull day!