Cuba Page 2

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Trinidad (2/3/07 - 5/3/07)

This is the car we rented to drive around Cuba... first stop (after Havana) Trinidad

On our way to Trinidad. The condition of the road is somewhat inconsistent. The autopista nacional was begun to link one end of the island to the other. It began when the Soviet Union was still around and was about halfway when... well... the Soviet Union ceased to be around... and it kinda stops. Fortunately, our turn off was a considerable distance before the autopista ended, but the quality of the roads between the exit of the freeway and Trinidad itself was questionable.

Trinidad is not the biggest or wealthiest city in Cuba, but it did allow us an opportunity to interact with real Cubans without the hassle of palming off people who were trying to sell us cigars/food/women/etc.

Cuba, being a communist country had a distinct lack of lavanderias - laundromats where we would wash our clothes. So I took it upon myself to wash my own clothes. The towels are there to stop the clothes from dripping everywhere.

The next day we took a cocotaxi, which is basically a very large kinder surprise strapped to a motorcycle, to the beach. On our way, we ran into another cocotaxi whose engine had stalled... so... we got behind it and gave it a bit of a nudge to get it started. I'm sure, from a distance anyway, it looked like two taxis in the act of procreating.

The beach. One of the finest in the Caribbean apparently... and pretty darn nice if I do say so myself. The water was rather cloudy and the sand was quite coarse as it was made up of coral. We were pleased to have finally found a beach which was at least *as* good as some of the beaches in Australia.

We finally got to the task of changing our Cuban Convertibles (CUCs, in other words "tourist money") to the Moneda Nacional (local money) and the difference in prices of things was immediately welcomed with a trip to "Peso Pizza" where we ate for a fraction of the cost of our other meals. This pizza cost us about the equivalent of 20c Australian.

The next day, we had a little day trip to a nearby town to see a waterfall. The hike, through some very lovely bush, took a little less than 45 minutes and was very pleasant, if slightly hot and humid.

This is only a small part of the waterfall. The waterfall cascades from about 60m and eventually comes to this very deep pool where one can go swimming. There's Nick, in the middle, having just dived in.

"Excuse me sir, may we drink some of the water coming out of your Cock?".

By night, Trinidad comes alive with live Salsa music at the "Casa de la Musica" and there is dancing in the street.

In addition to all the "Viva Fidel" billboards about the place, there were also a few... well... interesting ones. Here is an anti-fascism billboard.

After Trinidad we set off for Vinales. We decided to go via the infamous "bay of pigs". Now before anyone jumps to any conclusions, we didn't get lost, we merely took a more scenic route. Unfortunately, along with lovely scenery, the quality of the roads left much to be desired. On the right, is the road, we are not driving on it because it was too bumpy (yes, we are also driving on the wrong side).

A victory for Socialism!

It is a fairly popular thing in Cuba to decorate the front of Museums with tanks. This is an example of a tank.

Not all tanks are so fortunate as to be displayed, out of harm's way, in front of a Museum. Some tanks, like this one, have to brave the everday difficulties of things like roads. This one held up the traffic on the autopista nacional for a few minutes while they tried to flip it back over. They gave up in the end...

On our way out of the bay of bigs, we stopped briefly in central Australia - the town from which Comrade Fidel directed operations against the ill-fated imperialist invasion.

We were in quite a rush to get to Vinales, and the Autopista wasn't particularly heavily policed... and we were in a rental car. Nick had trouble holding the camera steady at such a great speed.

Unsurprisingly, we overshot a turn or two and had to ask directions. We also picked up a hitchiker or two as local knowledge always goes a long way.

Viñales (5/3/07 - 7/3/07)

Vinales is not a big city but quite a small town. We went for a walk around the area as it was very beautiful and we walked past many tobacco plantations. Tobacco is a very labour-intensive crop. Here we see a man picking tobacco leaves and hanging them to try.


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