Day 3 – Pigs, pork and rum

17 Mar

We left Havana to head to Trinidad.  It took all day!

Firstly we had an invitation by Ernesto to telling the group about the previous day. Juliet did. Admitting to not paying her room bill.  Oh how we laughed. Then I found my own hotel key in my pocket.  Oops!

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Banana flower in Australia, Cuba

After a few hours driving, our first stop was in Australia – a former mining town that also served as the HQ for Castro during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Currently it does a mean ham and cheese sandwich. I’d skip the guava juice next time.  It’s now just a truck stop with a non existent poster of Castro.  Apparently it was a really good poster so I was sad that they have torn it down.

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Cayman holding

We then moved on to the Bay of Pigs museum at Playa Giron. Small and petite, it described the 65 hours required to defeat the CIA backed operation of the Cuban exiles. As usual, the victor writes the history.

Passing sugar cane and open land we eventually arrived at Cienfuegos, where I managed to haggle buy at an extortionate rate a large Cuban flag.

We then continued to Trinidad, a town in Cuba, not an island – where we were assigned to families who would host us in their houses.  I had the feeling of being picked last for the football team, but I ended up with Ray and Helen in the house of Michael and his mama, Theresa.  The ensuite room with the bright pink bedspread was of course mine. But it had aircon, already on full.

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Casa particulares

We were offered beer or water and spent lots of time on the balcony people watching and discussing the inefficiencies of public services in the UK.

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View from the balcony

After a hot shower and a 30 minute trip to pick everyone up again, we had a group meal near the middle of town.  No real idea where, as it is a maze of nearly identical streets. Sampled most of the cocktails here including Trinidad Colonial which was suitably multi coloured, and Canchanchara which contains rum and thick honey – supposed to help the throat!

A quick trip to the Casa de Musica – an open air spot on the cathedral steps – that was thronged with tourists buying cocktails and listening to Son (the music of Cuba) together with some African music.  I think it was 5 drinks, but these were not UK measures!

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Cads de la Musica, Trinidad

A quick trip back in the bus just before midnight rounded off a very varied day but set us up for a proper tour of Trinidad the following day.

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