Breakfast was had in the casa overlooking the ocean. Simple fare but delicious, eggs, fruit, coffee and bread. They have jams here that I would say are more like a puree but still delicious as they are all home made. We had to call the embassy to see if our money had arrived and were told it would be there by tomorrow morning and we could go and pick it up then. Things always to manage to work themselves out in the end!
We also had to sort some things online and in Cuba there are only certain places you can use wifi and you have to do it via a prepaid card so we headed to one of the fancy hotels and sat around with every other man and his dog. But they had comfy couches and drinks so can’t complain.
After that we literally just walked around for a while. It’s such an easy place to lose yourself. We keep saying we feel as if we are on a movie set. It is just so stupidly photographic. I think on three separate occasions we took a photo of the same street as every time it looked so picturesque. We also wandered around an old fort which still has its original mote. It kind of looked out of place in the city as it reminded us more of an English castle.
The heat really settled in and we decided to go for some lunch. It wasn’t long before we found a cafe with outdoor tables for people watching and a band cranking out salsa tunes. Not too bad at all even if the food wasn’t the best.
We then headed to the Revolutionary museum. We didn’t really know what to expect and were interested in hearing the Cuban’s story. Before I go on I must admit growing up I only really saw Fidel as a dictator as that was all I really saw in the news. I have been reading a little about the revolution and suprise! suprise! America played a big part not only post revolution with the Bay of Pigs and the trade embargo but also Pre Revolution. So in the 40’s the country was run by a small percentage of very rich men under the presidency of Batista. Who was backed by the US. Even before Batista the country was not going too well with mass corruption and violence. There was mass poverty for the rest of the population and an estimated 50% of the population malnourished. After knowing this you can see where Fidel’s socialist ideas took root. I also didn’t realize that he only threw his lot in with Communism after America enacted the trade embargo and tried to invade, so Cuba needed an ally to trade with. That ally was USSR.
I am by no means saying that I am on Fidel’s side by any stretch of the imagination, just trying to see things from both sides. Illiteracy rates dropped to virtually zero and the healthcare system that was put in place was second to none. You really notice the difference from here to Central America where you constantly see cleft lips, club foots and bad teeth. Not here. On the other hand rules such as repossessing land over a certain amount at no cost, paying a ridiculously low wage and not allowing any private enterprise seem pretty dictatory to me. They also reclaimed all American owned industries, they are particularly proud of reclaiming the Hilton and renaming it Havana Libre!
So back in the museum it painted America in a pretty bad light. Even on one poster saying that they poisoned the clouds so the sugar harvest that year was low. I kid you not. A lot was not translated so it was hard to know what was going on but there seemed to be massive holes in the displays especially around the Bay of Pigs where it pretty much said America invaded and was completely defeated and around the Cuban missile crisis. Two topics we were really interested in learning more about from the Cuban point of view.
That night we met up with Piata who was on the San Blas Adventures with us. She has been in Havana for a week and was absolutely loving it. It was great to catch up and swap stories about where we had been and what we had been up to in the last month apart. It’s crazy looking back on how much we have done in such a short space of time.
We ended up in a bar in old town solely because of the live salsa band. We sat back and sipped on mojitos and straight rum, smoking a cigar and listening to the amazing music. Occasionally one of the band members would come to the front and dance salsa with some of the ladies. Mesmerizing. It made Tim and I really want to learn. Funnily enough Piata has been doing salsa classes every day since being in Havana and has given us the details of the studio so we will definitely be doing some when we get back to Havana. We also discovered that Piata was heading in the same direction as us so we ended the night deciding on sharing a taxi to Vinales tomorrow. S
The view looking out our back window.
Tim poked his head out our window and captured this shot. A man fixing his Ford Mercury Comet. Such an amazing shot. We just kept saying we are in a movie set as it seemed as if everywhere you looked there was just the perfect shot and too good to be real life.
And here is another.
Sitting on the sea wall along the Malecon. That first high rise on the left is our apartment block where we are staying with Mercy.
This pedestrian street stretches from the sea wall right through the centre of Havan to the Capitol building. We walked this road to and from the old town and every afternoon there were kids on skateboards or rollerblades having a great time.
Couldn’t get enough of the old buildings and cars. As you can see from the next few shots! Makes you think you have been transported back to the 50’s
Daily flea market in one of the parks selling everything from old cigar cases to revolution books and posters.
The fort and moat.
Some of the books being sold at the flea market.
The cars! The fancy done up ones where the one you got for the city tours or hourly hire. The beat up ones whose doors didn’t open properly etc were the everyday taxis which you could get cheap. Especially if you got in a collectivo. I sometimes found the old beat up ones more fun!
The Revolution museum which once was the Presidential palace and you can see bullet holes in the picture here of the failed 1957 assassination attempt on Batista the then president.
Quite a lot of this which was to be expected. Though intestinal you around Havana there are no statues of him but plenty of Che and a few of Camilo.
Enjoying a cocktail with Piata.