Friday, 16 July 2010

Adventures in Cuba: Trinidad

Cuba is hot - the temperature here in the little town of Trinidad is around the 40 degree mark with humidity in the nineties. It’s the hurricane season and, although the mornings start bright and clear, by mid afternoon the thunderstorms start drifting in from the Atlantic. The vultures circle overhead riding the thermals. Often, later in the evening it rains - hot tropical rain that finds its way into everything. There’s no point in trying to stay dry because the humidity is so high that you’re already wet.

We travelled from Havana to Trinidad by bus, fortunately air conditioned. The buses are all imported from China, like the wheat for the bread and a lot of other goods. There aren’t many vehicles in Trinidad, a few tourist cars, one or two vintage American limos, but mainly horses and carts, rickshaws and taxis.

The small town is about 200 miles - a five or six hour drive - from Havana, on the opposite coast, facing the americas. It has brightly painted single story houses with rough cobbled streets. They sometimes look like a stage set for a spaghetti western - tumbleweed and a lone cowboy riding out of town. Except in this case the cowboys are Cuban. The town in very Spanish, with a backdrop of mountains. We were surprised by how far it is from the sea, but it was deliberately built like that to prevent the town from being sacked by pirates (particularly the notorious Welshman, Henry Martin). The road to the beach meanders like a labyrinth.

We’re staying with a Cuban family and have a tiny bedroom and shower and our own small roof terrace (though it’s too hot to sit on it for long). Not all of them are so nice, but this was found for us by one of my daughter’s Cuban friends.   IT has been a problem in Cuba - we're staying in places where it doesn't exist and the odd internet cafes we've found had download times so slow it was a struggle just to read email.  So my apologies for the big gap since I was last in touch. 

It’s too hot to do much during the day except wander a little and flop into a bar, but in the evening we go dancing. It’s the low season, so there are very few tourists here, but the musicians still play and there are a number of professional dancers who visit the bars and will dance with the tourists and teach them the steps. Contact is strictly controlled. The guy in white is only a week out of jail after being convicted of going out with tourists, but didn’t seem to be reformed! Apparently it’s forbidden to date more than 3 in a year.

2 comments:

  1. A fascinating post Kathleen- it really makes me want to go to Cuba. I especially want to go dancing!

    Avril x

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  2. 40 and humidity in the 90s. Sounds like North Qld.
    Sounds like a fascinating place. It is amazing how much damage the US trade embargo is still doing.
    Like Avril you have sparked my curiosity, but I'd just watch the dancing.
    Have fun!

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