Today I’m to collect my Rental car. With my Voucher or a 7.00am collection.
In true Cuban fashion I arrive to the rental desk to be told it doesn’t open till 9.00am. I’m happy to wait but the gentleman at the desk tells me that no cars are available, so lets see what happen next. Maybe it will be available at 9.00am!!
I’d written the last paragraph while waiting for the car. I ended up getting my car at 3.00pm so Cuban time passes slower then Mexican time.
That afternoon I drove to the Town of Viñalas towards the west end of the island.
I spent that night in a Casa, which in Cuba is a room attached to someone’s house and is like a B and B. I shared the casa with 3 young Swiss German Travellers and we had both arrived at the Casa under the same marketing system. I had been flagged down as I turned off the motorway and told by a young man that the road was washed out that way and the bus was late and could I give him a lift to Viñalas as I was going that way. I checked him out and he appeared to be safe and spoke very good English so is said OK. Also he didn’t look strong enough to overpower me.
As we drove along the subject of where I was staying for the night came up, and since I had nothing booked he said that I his Aunt had a Casa with a vacant room. It was getting on in the day and I wanted a bed for the night so I took up his offer, and its all part of the Cuban experience. It was just funny that the other guests had been attracted with the same marketing system not really a scam, as I don’t think we got ripped off too much????
Viñalas is an area of limestone formations and the centre of the Cigar Tobacco industry in Cuba. After I looked around the area that morning I headed further west through more faming to visit the National park at the end of the island to a resort called Maria La Gorda, I had been told it was the best diving in Cuba.
23 years ago I had learnt to dive in the Caribbean so I wanted to reignite my diving after about 8 years.
I arrived in time for the afternoon dive and it was that good I decided to stay a couple nights.
The whole area is a National park including the reef so there is no Fishing. The reef was just teaming with life unlike where I had learnt to dive at the other end of the Caribbean 23 years ago
Day 5 and 6.
I spent the next 2 days doing 3 dives a day and not a single dive was disappointing with clear water with lots of fish both big and small on fantastically coloured walls.
A lot of people on the dive boat spoke about how below average the resort food was. I got talking to a young couple that had stayed at a casa about 10 k’s away with wonderful food and we could go there just to eat if we had transport.
I had a car so that was the eating spot for the next 3 nights and the fresh Seafood was just so fantastic and well prepared.
Another high light of eating out was on the drive home as that area has a massive population of Land crabs. With it being breeding season, after dark each night 1000’s of crabs head to the ocean across the road to deposit there eggs. It was just an amazing spectacle and made the trip home for about a kilometre quite slow as we had to clear the road of crabs to get through. The few locals with cars don’t worry so the road the next morning is littered with flat crabs and vultures feeding on the remains.
Was an uneventful drive back to Havana delivering an Israeli couple I’d meet diving to the airport on the way.
The food at the start was not good but buy the end I had worked out where and how to find good food and have had a week of the most wonderful meals of Lobster and Fish.
Getting to the airport on my last morning at 3.30am was another Cuban experience with my transfer not collecting me. Hence the night watchman got me a very local taxi, so the ride to the airport was in a 60’s Lada.
I don’t think he was supposed to go to the airport as we stopped on the way and he removed the taxi light and all of the signage form his car and put it in the boot.
Thing I have noticed:
Rural Cubans don’t have cars just horse and bullock carts.
When the Internet works its great but connecting can be the problem.
Time has no meaning.
The people of Cuba are poor but there is no real poverty.
There appers to be no Homeless people.
Everyone is very happy and helpful.
I only saw one person begging for money.
Has the lowest mobile phone ownership of any country I travelled to.