Our bus arrived into the capital, San Salvador. We took a taxi straight away out of there to Sunzal, near La Libertad on the coast. We got dropped off at the Surfer’s Inn, where we were very warmly greeted by Antonio and his wife. For $6 each we got a simple but large private room. This became our new home for the next 2 weeks. It was just a 5 minute walk to the rocky beach with the main point break. We hired surfboards and went out almost every day. The almost was because of some huge waves for a couple of days, up to an estimated 12 foot. That wasn’t enough to stop Joz going for a paddle though. It was generally good, particularly in the mornings before the wind chopped it up, but the weekends were too crowded and I could hardly catch a wave.
Obviously the next logical step after Cuba is Nicaragua. Dasha and I flew into Managua, jumped on the internet at the airport and started doing some research about the place. We read lots of warnings about how dangerous the country is and particularly not to share taxis with other people – ok, that’s good to know. Our search for cheap accommodation was not going well. The information desk didn’t speak English, but much worse than that, they didn’t have any information! A taxi driver was paying me plenty of attention so I thought I would see if he could be of any assistance. Eventually information found me a phone number for the hostel I wanted to stay at. I called them, they had plenty of space and our mate the taxi driver drove us there. Nice place with a kitchen, swimming pool and wifi – back in civilisation! We walked down to the food court. It was horrible. Full of every American franchise you could imagine. I can’t believe the atrocious effect America has on surrounding countries who imagine one day living the American dream.
Entonces, after a long ride on the bus, we finally got to Cienfuegos. At the bus station, people started jumping on us offering accommodation straight away, they would push and drag you by the hand, even though you are trying to get your luggage off the bus. After questioning what were the prices around this town, I called the number of a recommended casa and made a deal to stay there cheap. I wouldn’t recommend staying at any recommended casas – if you shop around you can find really nice casas, for a good price and with good friendly people. The place we stayed at was ok, but nothing to brag about.
Yesterday we celebrated our one year of crazy awesome travelling in style- we went surfing (as you can see), had cold beers in the afternoon followed by delicious dinner with equally delicious rum, accompanied by our new friends. Great Success!
Thanks to everyone, who has been following our adventures! The “old” friends are greatly missed. 🙂
We left Vinales in a collective (shared taxi) to get to Pinar Del Rio, where we stayed with David’s family on a tobacco farm. It was quite a unique experience and I don’t think many tourists get to stay on a proper Cuban farm. The experience would have been a lot better, in my opinion, if we knew Spanish at least a tiny bit better. Maybe we would have even been able to do some work at the farm, but ah well..It’s hard enough to understand people speaking fast, left alone country people speaking in their own accent/way. Nevertheless, it was super sweet and lovely. The first day we spent just wondering around the farm and trying to save a little chicken, but he died…We’ve seen piglets and bulls, roosters and chicks and how Cuban’s spend their day working in the field.
Next day we woke up after 2 hours nap to catch a morning bus to Vinales. Arriving at the bus station 40 min before the buses scheduled departure, we got stuck in a queue to buy tickets for our touristy expensive bus waiting for locals to buy tickets for their locals bus. By the time we reached the cashier, she spontaneously stood up and went away to solve another passenger’s problem. 20 min until bus…15…10 min…She returns just to let us know that there are no more seats on the bus…Very rudely. What a b…! Never mind, we went out of the station, found two germans and caught a taxi for 2 cuc more and got there at least an hour before our full bus got there, which gave us more time and opportunities to shop around for a casa. Our casa in Vinales cost us 20 cuc per night for a room. The cassa owner would advertise it as a very friendly place with a pool, where you cn relax in hot weather. Sure thing you can, but it doesn’t mean the pool will save you from the heat, since there is no water in it. Eventually the pool would get filled with dodgy soapy non transparent water. Not very inviting. Anyhow, we didn’t have much time for a leisurely sit in a pool, because beautiful Vinales waited to be explored.
Finally I am here. After dreaming about this country for about five years if not more, I am here. Lying in my bed. In arguably the best casa particulara in Havana, staring at the phosphorous stars glued to the ceiling, I lie here mesmerised by the atmosphere of this city, by beautiful people walking the streets, by my super lovely and welcoming hosts, by couch surfing (again! 🙂 ), even by this old peeling window blinds that separate me from the ever beautiful, rough, romantic and incredibly sexy city- Habana…
Everybody in Negril tries to sell you something, Danny from the local market was no exception. He got a bit excited when I said I was going to Montego Bay that afternoon because he lived there and would be driving home in a few hours. I told him I would only pay $6, the same as the taxi fare. After some time he accepted. It worked out really well for me, only having to take one car from door to door instead of 3 taxis. I stayed the first 2 nights at Bethel Court Guesthouse (hostel), $20 for a dorm. Was a nice friendly atmosphere. I checked out the yacht club and put up a notice, hoping to find a captain sailing to Cuba in a few weeks time. I’m not the biggest fan of the yacht club scene. It seems that yachties hardly leave the marina complex and their impression of a city or even country can be based on such a small area. Of course the prices are inflated too.