After our flight to Havana, we spent quite a long time at the baggage claim in Cuba waiting for a luggage again like the first time we flew in. But once we got it and got to customs we managed to find our ride from the airport. I am really glad we booked a pickup car because our hotel was an hour from the airport so I don’t know that the taxi drivers would have found it.
Dec 31 and Jan 1
Our next two days were beach days. We spent the days on taking walks and drinking icy pina coladas.
The hotel is an all-inclusive package the kind of place not designed for individuals to book. But they did put on a pretty decent New Years celebration. We sat at a table with a French couple, who were fun to be around, and watched a performance at the end of the pool. It was sort of a drumming Flamingo group.
After a bit of confusion, we finally managed to make it into Havana by taxi. We tried to meet up with Ivan, the guy who picked us up at the airport, but we never found him. So we went to the cruise ship terminal to the information desk and met a nice lady who gave us some tips on where to go and a map.
First, we bought tickets to the “hop on hop off” bus and road it around the town. Then we came back and found the Chinese district for lunch. After lunch, we wandered around a little bit more looking at some of the shops which there were not a lot of. We ended up down at the main Fort and took some of my dance pictures. Then we went back to the ferry terminal and called Victor our taxi driver to come pick us up.
One of the things I noticed about Havana. The shops have very little and them. What you imagine from the pictures of Russia during the Cold War. After walking around we tried to find a shop to buy a bag of potato chips and some candy but that seemed to be nonexistent. We did find a market which had seemingly random things in it. Like super large cans of pairs and super large cans of beans and a few other can foods. It also had laundry soap and household items but not a lot. And we had a small butcher section which did not have much and mostly only processed meat. It made me wonder what the reality was for the people living outside of the tourist areas.
Along the bus route, there were places that were bakeries that seem to have quite a lot of people standing outside but not much obvious on the shelves. I wondered if what we saw was normal and where the locals bought food because I didn’t see a lot of places to buy food. I wondered where the restaurants get their food because they seem to have a good selection. But, even our hotel has no snack kind of food no chips, no candy and nothing to eat in between meals, not even fruit.
The other thing I noticed or that the buildings were all from a similar timed, colonial or art deco. Many are falling down. I wondered about the ones that are maintained and who pays for that. Are the ones that are falling down abandoned? Evan many of the public spaces seem to be old and run down old such as stadiums made out of concrete and old parks.
Another thing I noticed is that the people we encountered were all very nice and friendly. They seemed happy to try to communicate with us. Josie even got an impromptu music lesson in one of the souvenir shops! If I was ever able to go back I think I would try to find a way to get out of the tourist areas and hang with some locals (which is usually my plan anyway!).
Another thing I learned is that I am not an all-inclusive resort sort of girl!
We had a good time winding down from the traveling that we had done in Peru, walking along the beach each day and just chilling out, which was our goal.