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Sunday 13 Apr 2008
Trinidad, Cuba

Playa Ancon

We went off snorkelling today at the nearby Playa Ancon which is a beach I'd heard many people raving about. Indeed it was a pretty little beach and full of pretty cubanitas too Wink

The snorkelling requires that you take a boat out since the coral isn't reachable from shore, so we took a boat out for about an hour but the visibility was so-so... and the coral formations (while nice) were not terribly colourful. In fact they were all bleached from the sun.

Spent most of the day just relaxing on the beach after the past few days of hiking/partying.

That afternoon went back to Trinidad and I did some exploring around the art galleries. You can get some great works of art in both Trinidad and Habana for next to nothing. We got a lift back to Trinidad in a genuine huge 1950s Ford 52 which we shared with a young deaf Cuban couple (who we offered the lift back for free). The couple were great fun and very genuine (the guy at first refused to accept the lift since he didn't want to impose, but eventually we persuaded him), and the car was cool to drive in. Like being brought back to the 50s!
Usually tourists are not permitted to travel in these unmarked old car taxis for some reason, but when you get the chance go for it!

Markus and I met up for a quick cocktail at a great location near our casa which is a bar overlooking a small plaza. The bar is in fact located in the officer's quarters of an old prison and has that "true Hemingway" feel about it (whatever that means exactly!). See the pics for an example.


Later on we hooked up with Karen (an ozzie chick we met the day before) and Marco (the photographer), and ventured out to the touristy Casa de la Musica. Not really getting much of a thrill from that place we eventually found our way to the much more genuine Casa de la Trova which was packed full of locals, and practically no tourists. This night was the most genuine son music night I would experience on the whole trip which culminated in a spontaneous intimate singsong while seated in the middle of the cantina -- the lady singing, while a man played the typical 3 string Cuban guitar, the audience sitting around them. Magical.

I also decided to book a one-hour salsa lesson the next day with the brother of one of the local guys, Israel, we befriended there.


Later on as we wandered back to the casa, we bumped into an elderly lady that recognised my Irish accent. It soon transpired that she had an odd arrangement with some guy back in Ireland whereby she would go to Ireland for 2 months each year to work in a private bar that he had in his house in Ballinteer, and in exchange, he would come out to Cuba for a month.

She didn't get paid for the two months work though... just lodging and a chance to get out of Cuba (and probably a few things bought for her).

Additionally the Irish guy was "holding" on to her passport, but would come out to Cuba to pick her up and then they would go back together.

Odd I thought... sounded a bit like he was using her for free labour. Then she showed me a letter in English and it became a bit clearer ... signed off on the bottom was "... and soon we will be together again. All my love, Brian".

I guess it could be some sort of long-distance romance. The situation in Cuba means that people cannot leave the country unless they are musicians or doctors and have been specifically invited by the host country's government. Maybe in this situation "Brian" pretends that he is married to the lady, or maybe he has an Irish passport for her.

Odd... yet interesting. Additionally her 80 year old companion with her that night was wearing a Special Olympics Ireland hat which just made my day Laugh

Israel, 28, had only recently gotten married to a 50 year old woman from Brussels who was present that night as well... He was young a good looking, she was not so.. but I guess some people will do anything to get out of the country!

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Perdido en Cuba de Fidel

Travel blog by peterforan

Swish antique

Swish antique

2 weeks in which I crap-dance salsa-stylee in my own inimitable way; terrorise the Cuban people after one-too-many mojitos and visit bars where they actually ENCOURAGE people to smoke cigars as big as your leg. If I get time I'll take in some culture..

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