Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The Cuban adventure continues.

Yesterday we got up at a reasonable hour, my friend Dee and I, and had a go at logging onto the hotel wifi before breakfast. No luck! We had been told that it might be problematical in Cuba but we had not thought it would be quite so early impossible. Frustration-city!

So off we went and had breakfast and had another unsuccessful go after that.

Then it was time for the meeting with our holiday company representative in Havana. Lots of information, some useful and some not. Before the meeting we had a chat with a couple about this and that, including the wifi problem. “You need to be really careful when you put in the username and password,” the gentleman of the couple mansplained to me. I do love it when random men decide that they need to condescend to me.

 But I was not letting that get in the way pf our enjoying ourselves and we set off to explore the city, or at least part of it. The multitudinous photos of old cars and old buildings, some decrepit and some restored, will have to wait until such time as I have access to a proper computer. My iPad still stubbornly refuses to access photos for me!

This city, Havana, is full of people who want to offer help and advice but, whereas in Spain I am frequently asked for money from the ramshackle ones you see around, here lots of people look ramshackle and yet they just greet you, ask where you are from, offer advice on where to go and that’s that. Only once, this morning in fact, has anyone suggested I might give them a little present from England.

So yesterday morning we went exploring and eventually had some lunch at a place recommended by our holiday rep: La Moneda Cubana. I am considering sending a note to Charles and Camilla that they might like to eat there on the rooftop terraza!

Returning to our hotel, we went and investigated the pool. I must say that swimming in a rooftop pool in mid February is not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

For the evening’s entertainment and activities we had booked a table at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba to see the Buena Vista Social Club. This is not the actual Buena Vista Social Club as filmed and promoted by Ry Cooder but a very good tribute act who put on an amazing show. They had a couple of very impressive dancer, the male partner of which set about embarrassing ladies by inviting them to dance with him. Some of his new partners proved to be excellent dancers. All to the good! And in the end we all danced. A good time was had by all.

Today we set out to find a craft fair, taking in different monuments en route, including a nice bit of Che Guevara philosophy on some graffiti: Sean realistas pidan lo imposible - Be realistic, ask for the impossible. Stopping to photograph this got us into conversation with a Cuban and an Argentinean. 

We never did make it to the craft fair. I suspect we took a wrong turning after sheltering from the rain which decided to come down heavily.

Giving up on the handicrafts plan, we sought and found a tapas place we had not found yesterday: Esto no es un cafĂ©. Quite a little treasure! Hardly had we arrived than the rain came agin, what the Galicians would call “la tromba”. This led to a flurry of activity as the cafe people brought tables inside and relocated outdoor eaters. Serendipity struck again as we got into conversation with a Parisian and his eastern European girlfriend. It’s a good job we all got on as we were stuck there for ages until the rainstorm moved on.

We shall see what this evening brings!

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