CUBA TRAVEL JOURNAL
A Trip to Rancho Luna and a Visit With a Cuban Family
July 2, 1998 7:45pm
Last night was quite entertaining, though quiet by local standards as it was a Wednesday. We walked to "Malecon" (a concrete embankment facing the sea just outside 'El Centro de Cienfuegos') and enjoyed observing the Cubans taking advantage of the much cooler evenings. This is the social area and time for the town.
Before long, a number of acquaintances of Chris' from his previous visits approached us. Friendly conversations and inquiries of life in the United States ensued. There is only one tourist hotel in town and the guests seem to stay on the premises unless on tour in a brand new air conditioned bus. They rarely venture far and I wonder what impression of Cuba they will leave with. Almost without exception, they are Canadian or European. I haven't met another American here and my presence seems to be quite a novelty.
Everywhere we go, we are watched. Occasionally, I believe it is the secret police but more often it is locals, looking for an opportunity to strike up a conversation. Usually they approach to inquire about the time of day or ask for a light. The conversation eventually turns to where we are from and when the US is mentioned, endless details are explained.
Everywhere we go we meet people from another day or Chris' last visit and we are approached "My friend, my friend, how are you?" accompanied with vigorous hand shakes.
The heat in midday is horrendous and we went to the Casa Particular for a shower and ended up sleeping the midday away.
We've returned to the boat and found no ice delivered and our stores going sour rapidly. Chris has tapped into some electricity which will help the situation but we still have no water.
We've decided to rent a car and drive to Trinidad ourselves tomorrow. Dependable transportation and flexibility will be worth the price of $80 US per day.
On the way back to the boat we met Omar, manager of the dive shop in Rancho Luna. Though closed for the season and renovations, he welcomed the opportunity to dive with us Saturday.
A conversation with another boater at the marina who has a weather radio provides us with the news of another tropical wave expected Sunday. We'll be lucky to start east for Casilda, Cayo Blanco, Zazar de Fuera and Cayo Breton by early next week. We've also learned of a boat race and carnival (festival) here in Cienfuegos on July 17, 18, and 19th that we would very much like to attend and will try to return for the event.