CUBA TRAVEL JOURNAL
A Fine Party It Was & We Secure Ice!
I gave Belkis the rest of my batteries for the cassette. Her sister came to me later to give me a present. She handed me a 1962 Cuban centavo piece. She explained the currency is no longer good but some people say the coin is good luck and she wishes I should have good luck.
Yasmell suggested we go next door to the "Palace". This building apparently was literally a Palace over 200 years ago but now is in complete ruins. Even so, it is home to several families though it quite clearly is about to fall down and it is a wonder they are able to move through the structure without falling through the floors or stairs.
We talked and practiced our Spanish and English until quite late. I suggested it was time for the children (and Chris who was bleary eyed) to sleep and we left in the company of Yasmell and Alexis.
Back at the wall we chatted with passerbys and finally retired absolutely exhausted.
I've slept until 10:30 and came to the boat. I think Chris is still asleep at the Casa Particular.
I'm quite frustrated at our ice and water situation and have decided to take matters into my own hands. I left the boat and cycled around until I found a restaurant near the hotel. Though it was closed, a young man came to the door and invited me in. Michele had difficulty understanding me when I explained I was looking for a large block of ice. Finally he got the idea and brought me to his boss who agreed.
I was led to a walk in freezer through a kitchen that can only be described as frightening and offered one of three large blocks there. There was little I could do with it on a mountain bike. As Michele and I discussed how I was to leave with my prize, I spotted a tricycle with a wagon in back. He immediately agreed to ride to the Marina with me.
Once the ice was safely in a cooler I asked him "how much?". He said nothing, it was free. He was delighted with the three dollars I gave him.
An average month's wages in Cuba is from seven to twenty dollars and it was explained to us last night that the meal we had organized would take three to four months of labor to save for!
Chris still isn't here, I've run the engine for an hour to charge the battery and will leave to check on him. I'm sick since yesterday and he didn't look well either last night.
Hopefully our water situation will be sorted out this afternoon. Yasmell and Alexis have agreed to come to the marina and help us try to fix the marina pipes enough to fill our holding tank.
Last night when the water came on at five, I watched Yasmell use a pump from an old washing machine to draw water from the street into several fifty-five gallon drums at his home. Maybe that could work here and I've asked him to bring it.