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View topic - 2 weeks in Cuba

2 weeks in Cuba

Canadian Expats and travelers in South America can communicate with each other here!
leodoceNew Member
{ AUTHOR_TOPIC }
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 1:02 pm

2 weeks in Cuba

Post Mon Nov 24, 2003 1:14 pm

I remember Cuba with very warm feelings. When I decided to make that trip alone I felt worried a
little about the possibility of becoming weary traveling alone.
But it was one of the most harmonious holidays I ever had. It was very entertaining to sit in the rocking-chair in a porch in a house at Trinidad and do nothing that watching people on the street around and talking. Always came to my mind the someday possibility of living here. I was very much impressed from my snorkeling trip to Cayo Blanco.
When talking with people who have been in Cuba themselves I was very surprised to learn that not all of them had the same impressions I had. They sometimes complain about having felt uneasy because of people asking for money. We never felt uneasy during our whole stay and never felt edged by local people. I thought about why people you know and who are not so much
different from myself can get quite an opposite impression. Maybe one of the reasons is that normal tourists going to foreign countries about which they do not know anything are one the hand eager to see and know more about the foreign (and therefore al little bit "hostile") country and its people, on the other hand they are on the alert not to be cheated. In this situation of insecurity they overrate the intentions of people asking for money and cut contact "for their own defense" which seem necessary to them. This suspicious mood is a trap which prevents them from enjoying their holiday in the extent they could do.
Retroactively I think, that I was lucky of knowing a person like the teacher I met and keeping me away from this trap by organizing very nice and caring hosts it was one of the most important benefits of his guidance. Of course I also have come in contact with people who tried to
cheat a little bit, but this I found more amusing than dangerous.
We had a very nice experience on a roof terrace in SanDiego. When I was for the first time I was the only guest and had a live band playing for me and a Canadian I met. I felt like a very rich lord sitting on his terrace and having his private band (...I dreamt I was a millionaire..) and I gave a tip which was a little bit higher than usual. It was very welcomed and the bandleader asked us to come back the other day. When they left one of the band members came back and tried to sell us their CD. I was amused but as we were in a very good mood and liked their music, we bought it. So far nothing special to report. When we came back two days later, the terrace was full of guests and we got a table a little apart from the band. During a break the bandleader spotted us, came to our table and offered other CDs for free. He apologized for the one ("he has joined our band just recently) who had taken money for the CDs the other day. This conversation was done in a mixture of Spanish and English and the whole band participated in it. I was really impressed by this evidence of Cuban ethics, because I did not felt cheated myself the other day.
I got to know Cuban people as very friendly and open minded and the Canadian girl felt sorry not to be able to talk with them due to my lack her Spanish knowledge.
I am full of admiration for the Cuban cuisine. Especially the meals prepared by the ladies in the houses where I rented. They are outstanding in all respects ( in taste and presentation) Havana is the only city I have ever visited where going out to dinner sometimes becomes a sort of mystery and hidden adventure.
Tourists are often approached on the streets around mealtime by local touts asking, sotto voce, if they would like to try the marvelous food at certain restaurants.
In other countries choosing a restaurant based on information from a stranger on the street doesn't seem like a smart idea. In Cuba your chances of getting a decent meal at one of these private restaurants are better than what you will find in most state-run establishments, where the service tends to be indifferent and the food often not so good.
Since 1995 it has been legal to run restaurants in private homes, and they spring up daily.
In any case, tourists don't go to Cuba to eat (or to shop). But prices are low ($15 to $20 for dinner), service is pleasant, and wine -- mostly Chilean and Spanish, perfectly drinkable -- and beer are always available. The food in all these restaurants reflects Spanish and African influences. There are no hot spices; garlic and onions are the seasonings of choice. If, like everybody else, you go to Cuba for reasons other than the food, even the meals can be fascinating. And eating in paladares provides an opportunity to visit neighborhoods in Havana you would be unlikely to see on a tour and visit homes that would not otherwise be open to tourists. Some of the houses are so large and elaborately furnished that you will marvel at these signs of financial success in an otherwise very poor country.
I put this message in this forum as a way to thank my Cuban friend.There is something as human beings they have and I have not found in my country, at least not so obviously. Thanks once again for his assistance, for the love he transmitted to those who go to him like me. I would be very pleased to share my experiences and pass the information I have.
nchangNew Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 12:31 pm
Location: Georgetown, Guyana

Cuba bound

Post Tue Dec 21, 2004 12:40 pm

It's nice to hear this story as I am also about to embark on a two-week trip to Cuba. Though I will be going with a Cuban friend initially, I will be travelling alone for most of the time. I don't speak much Spanish, so it will be a real adventure I think.

Nellie
ksbrandonNew Member
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:26 pm

Cuba

Post Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:44 pm

Cuba is beautiful. I will never forget the time I spent there. My experiences with the cuban people was equally positive. Thanks for sharing your story!

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