CUBA TRAVEL JOURNAL
Into Cienfuegos For My First Look Around
July 1, 1998 3:15pm
Just back from a quick tour of town. We've moved the boat to a more secure area, away from the beach and potential swim aboard theft and begun to clean up from the tuna catch yesterday.
On our first walk about, the first order of business was to stop at a Cuban store for cigars. The cost is the equivalent of $1.25 US for twenty-five and are a very nice smoke, much better than the Cubans we had resorted to buying in Grand Cayman for $10 each after the cigars brought from home ran out!
We hopped onto a horse drawn carriage with hard bench seats, a common form of mass transit and went to El Centro in Cienfuegos. Transportation for most is via bicycle, often with two or three people balanced precariously. Motor vehicles consist of vintage pre-revolution American cars,an assortment of European vehicles and an occasional motorcycle.
A visit to the restroom at the finest hotel in town where rooms run $75 per night was disappointing. There was cold running water and two private stalls but was filthy and no paper goods whatsoever. Over the course of the day, this was the best I've found. Most had no sinks or even toilet seats. Carry your own paper!
Food was on my mind, so Chris and I bought several pieces of 'pizza' through a doorway. Unrecognizable from traditional pizza, this was a piece of round fried dough about eight inches across with some local cheese melted on top and folded over served in a piece of torn cardboard. Not terribly tasty but edible.
Back on board "Defiance", I managed to ask one of the Marina personnel to bicycle off for more ice for us. Clearly to stay provisioned will be challenging. Tapping into a nearby lamp post for electricity seems promising but water is still out of the question.
Tonight we'll walk the town a bit and then partake of the local pastime - sitting on the sea wall (malecon) on the main thoroughfare and watch the world go by.
We've also made an arrangement to have a private car drive us to Rancho Luna to scuba dive and then to Trinidad, Cuba's oldest city for a look around.