2 sides to every story
07 January 2012 | Cienfuegos
TORBEN: Berit and Ove left yesterday in a private taxi to Havana organized by our new Mr. Fix it Guy, Daemon. Berit really wanted to take the bus for safety after the last outing Daemon arranged for us, not wanting to ride all the way back to Havana in a 1952 Chevy driven by Tony Soprano! Yep, we actually did go to the Colonial city of Trinidad with a guy who not only looked like Tony with his big cigar, but acted like him too. The Chevy was powered by a British diesel engine, Russian manual transmission and Tony had no problem chugging a beer driving and at the same time point out on a map where his house was. Mind you, the roads are pretty narrow and while there is not a lot of traffic, you do have to negotiate the odd tour bus, smoke belching farm tractor or - more often - a horse wagon or a few cowboy's riding along.
Trinidad was great, we stayed in a private home arranged by Mr.Fix for $ 25 per night, had an awesome dinner in our Casa for $ 10, listened to some good music, did an outing to the beach, checked out an old sugar plantation and climbed every structure in sight, including a 130 foot tower that was used to keep track of runaway slaves a few decades ago.
JUDY: Oh My God, it's so amazing how two people could share the same experience yet have such a different take on how it really happened!
First of all, Mr Fix it is a hustler. We we accosted by him out in front of the Marina one morning before leaving for Havana. He spoke some English so Torben took a liking to him! We arranged , we thought ,to drive with him, in a big car to Trinidad. The car came as promised. and on time. Mr. Fix it, as Torben called him, ushered Torben, I and his sister and husband into a 1957 Chevy. Yes it was roomy, (being the youngest, I had to sit on the hump.) but after a short while, Ove and Berit were soon sitting with me or rather, on top of me, because the seats slanted inward. No biggie. It was cool riding in this car on a two lane/one lane road with a guy who chewed his cigar and spoke nothing but Spanish to Torben who was riding in the front seat. The problem was Soprono would turn and look at Torben while talking. Things got dicey when Torben asked Soprono where he lived and asked him to point it out in his small scale map printed in the tour guide book. I thought his sister's eyes were going to pop out of her head!
Trinidad was beautiful, that much is true. The casa we stayed at was great, though we had some trouble getting past the owners mustache who happened to be a woman! She was a great host and wonderful cook but would benefit from a little MMA. (mustache, management anonymous) her food was awesome and hairless, thank goodness, which is more then I can say for the pork rinds that we bought from a street vender. Torben and Ove gobbled them up but saved me one piece to try. I reached in the cone made of newspaper, pulled out what felt like a large pork rind and low and behold, there between by thumb and fingers was a pigs ear that still had the hair attached! Torben said that's by design, you use that to brush your teeth afterwards!
Cuba is wonderful. The people are friendly, the Officials are official but friendly after they are done officiating. They boarded us yesterday while Torben was up in the dumpster and wanted to see our passports yet again. They then took pictures of all our portable gear. Computers, GPS, SAT phone, hand held VHF, then made us put them in a cabinet which they sealed with some tape! We're still confused why now when we've already been here for ten days!. You get the feeling they make up work as they go along.
TORBEN: OK, that's it for Judy, she is off to have another dream....Now that Berit and Ove are gone we have started getting ready for the next leg, exploring the deserted cay's of S. Cuba - we have a couple of weeks to go SE for our rendezvous with Ross, who will be flying in to help us get the boat up to Puerto Rico - more about that later. T&J