Well with less than 15 hours to go before takeoff my darling wife decides to start the adventure early. Around 3:00pm Sunday afternoon (we are due at the airport 8:00am Monday) Deb starts collecting all the little things we need in one place. You know what I mean…tickets – check…money-check….maps-check…itinerary-check…passport-……PASSPORT…. OMG! That’s right folks the little lady has misplaced her passport. Now being used to things like this I decided not to panic straight away and wait patiently while Deb frantically started searching all the usual places. But after about 20 mins of futile searching the poor thing was disintegrating into a mess. OK, I thought, now is a good time to join the hunt. So I tried to calm her down and retrace all her steps since last seeing it. It seems she had taken it with her to Eastgardens thinking she would need it to obtain travellers cheques & foreign currency (she didn’t). So we phoned Travelex, St George, Westfield & the police…no luck. We turned the house upside down for the 3rd time and I started calling QANTAS and Canberra to find out what happens in these cases. I had the none too envious task of telling […]
First Deb loses her passport then she loses her eldest son! By the time we got to Cancun we were pretty exhausted, the only thing that kept us going was the knowledge that Adam was on the plane coming from Mexico City to take us to Cuba….that is until we received an SMS from him saying that the American Airways flight he was on from Calgary had been delayed and missed his connection in Mexico City so they were putting him up there for the night and he would arrive in Havana the next day at 3:15 & gave us the flight number. Disappointed we continued to Havana where we were met by Rosa, the lady that runs the Casa where we would be staying. As we had been now travelling for about 30 hours we collapsed into bed 11:00pm local time and didn’t get up til 11:00am next morning. Feeling refreshed we started out to find a bank to change some money. This was a small adventure by itself, but nonetheless once accomplished had some lunch and taxied out to the airport to meet Adam. Well after an hour when I was sure there was no-one left to come […]
When we last left our intrepid travellers they were frantically trying to find their long lost son, Adam. Meanwhile in Mexico City, Adam, having had a restful night care of American Airways was determined not to miss his Mexicana flight to Havana via Cancun, so he arrived at the airport 3 hours early! He then sat himself at the gate and started reading. Everytime people around him got up he checked his watch to see if it was his flight. Finally after finishing a really interesting chapter he realised it was 15 minutes after his plane was schedule to depart and no-one around him moved because he was sitting at the wrong gate!!!…..What is Spanish for schmock! He of course sent an sms to us but by this time we had changed sim cards from our Oz one to the local one. Boarding the later flight he managed to let his Paul know what had happened. Back in Havana we sent Adam an sms with our local number just in case then we found an internet cafe and checked our email to find one from Paul confirming he would be on the later flight. At this stage Deb dissolved into […]
We started out on the Wednesday by going to Plaza De Revelucion. This is a huge tower with a giant statue of Jose Marti in front. Marti was an early advocate of Cuban independance in the late 19th Century and despite being killed in an attempted revolt he is best remembered for his poetry. There are busts of him everywhere. Next it was on to the Malecon in a coco taxi. The Malecon is a seaside drive leading into Havana from the West. From here you can lookout slightly to the right into the Atlantic Ocean or left for the 90 miles to Miami. A coco taxi is a little motorbike with a 3 seater bench behind it and the whole thing is encased in an open egg-shaped fibreglass shell. Then we arrived at an Artist market, this place was amazing as there were many stalls selling paintings in a variety of spanish orientated styles, most of which had heavy Picasso influences but with a Cuban twist. The rest of the stalls were taken up with the usual schmonzas (Spanish for bric-a-brac). The Market fronts an area called Habana Vieja (4.5 square km; pop. 105000) which is colloquially defined by […]
As the coach pulled into Vinales, a very small, sleepy but scenic town, the heavens opened and about a dozen of us gringós were dropped off in the town square with only an awning for shelter. Before we could even get our bags we were besieged by about 30 women all pleading for us to come and stay at their casa. They would shove little pictures of their place (or the view from within) in your face and jabber on in any number of languages hoping they would hit one you understand. I started talking to a cute little blonde number but Adz & Deb had already started negotiating with a dumpy little mama, nothing to look at (I thought) but at least the foods gotta be good. As the rain was still teeming I suggested Adz go off and look with her as I didn’t want to drag the luggage only to find out it was no good. It so happened that while they were gone Deb started talking to another one which sounded good so when Adz returned and said it was so-so we grabbed the other one and by now the rain had subsided to a downpour […]
This town has lots of charm. There are restaurants & music wherever you go. We spent one day at the beach a 15 minute taxi ride away and the rest of the time checking out the local bars & clubs. A lot more tourists here than Vinales but not too many.
Can’t upload any more pics at the moment maybe later. Cienfuegos is just another city but there were a few intersting buildings to look at. The most memorable part of the stay was dinner at casa, lobster again for $7. Followed by entry into a nightclub on the water $1 and drinking Pini Colada’s $3. What a country!!!! The show on at the club was 4 guys doing a cuban rap type show. It was like backstreet boys meets the wiggles. No kidding it was fantastic. There were about 300 kids there and Deb & I weren’t quite the oldest….but close. Ok finally got some smaller pics to post.
Before we leave Cienfuegos I forgot to tell you that we booked a 1 day tour and 2 guides picked us up in a Suzuki Sierra and took us for 1.5 hour drive to a national park high up in the hills. There we went on a 2km hike stopping at some breathtaking waterfalls where Adz and I took a swim. We then continued a little more taking in some beautiful rainforrest, rivers and caves. That day was a humdinger. Before dropping us home we asked them to stop at the bus station so we could find out when to catch the bus the next day for Santa Clara. When we arrived Adz went in to ask the questions and left Deb and I by the car with the 2 guides. Now before I continue you need to be aware of a few things. It is illegal for locals to have foreigners in their cars or transport them – other than official taxis, etc. It is illegal for foreigners to take non sanctioned transport. Our 2 guides are from the government – in fact one of them had been with the army as a civilian engineer in Vietnam and Angola […]
The first time in Havana (was it only 2 weeks ago) we stayed in an area called Centro which is inner city a little like Surry Hills but with all the class of Redfern (without the tension). This time we stayed in an area called Vedado which was absolutely beautiful and out along the water. It reminded me of the old parts of Rosebay off of O´Sullivan Road, very green and housing with lots of old charm. This area also has an abundance of shops and nightlife and we enjoyed more cheap cafes and as usual wonderful Cuban music We spent the last day back in Vieja revisiting the market and some of the beatiful old colonial squares we had missed the first time thru. Our last meal was at the Hanoi again and it was just as great. Adz and I sat around contemplating another revolution against the feelthy american pigs but we had to have an early night ´cause we had to be up at 4:00am for an early flight, but it was so hot we only got about 2 hours sleep. No dramas making the flight this time and we landed safely in Cancun where Deb had […]
Of course nobody showed up and we were left standing in an empty terminal 6:00am in the morning in 90% humidity pondering our next move. We changed back to our Aussie sim card (which works here) and made a few fruitless calls. After nearly an hour a girl came running toward us in a tizz holding a signboard with our name on it. With no english she managed to make it clear she apologised for being late and a car would be here *soon* to take us to her office…..*soon* in Mexico is not the same as home! We only ordered a small Jap car but were pleased to be presented with what I think is a Jeep Cherokee. I say think ,cause the badges are different and I´m not that familiar with their models, nonetheless its a beauty. As the tank was empty my first job was to pull into a gas station 100m away on a VERY busy motorway. May i now remind you it has been over 30 years since I have driven a left-hand-drive and I had had only 1 hours sleep. Somehow I negotisated it safely and was pleased to find they had driveway service. […]