Friday 7 December 2012
Highlights: Government Internet Restrictions, Romantic museum, Trinidad Street Market, Palacio del Valle (Cienfuegos), Trishaw ride.
While a lot of our group set off for a visit to the beach I had decided to visit the sites in the town. Before that however I lined up at the local Government telephone company to access the Internet. Only foreigners can access the Internet which is dial up speed (on the slow side) and you can not download and open email attachments. I had to do this as the dates for my next stay in Cancun were wrong but I managed to get it fixed and book a shuttle.
Today was extremely hot and humid. One of my missions is to find some deodorant which is proving impossible in Cuba :(. I did manage to buy a replacement cap. By the end of the day I also realised too late that insect repellant would have been a good idea. Bin expecting similar conditions in Central America so hopefully I learn this lesson.
During the day I visit the grand local church, almost a cathedral in size. While this is a Catholic Church the sermon is delivered up high like in an Anglican Church. Next door was the Romantic Museum which is an old grand mansion which gives you an insight into how the rich lived before the revolution. Good for them until they were kicked out 🙂
A also visited the local street market bargaining for some necklaces. I liked how they were not pushy in the market. If you showed interested they then engaged with you but otherwise let you just look.
We then drove to Cienfuegos and until a magnificent hotel with an amazing swimming pool which Ines, Julie, Harley, Gareth and myself made the most of later. A quick orientation tour by Dady lead to taking a trishaw ride down to the Palacio del Valle. I last did a trishaw ride in Malaysia from memory.
The Palace was incredible set right next to the ocean. While here they lost power for a short time. This lead Dady to point out a nearby nuclear reactor which was never completed when the USSR collasped. This reactor would have solved a few problems here since all power is oil generated. The majority of the oil comes from Venezuela heavily subsidised making the two countries very close to each other.
On the roof of the Palace we enjoyed drinks while watching the sun go down to an awesome sunset. We returned to our hotel by trishaw, how riders having waited a few hours for us, this only cost 10 CUC or 5 each (less than 5 AUD).
A refreshing swim at the hotel, a quick change and it was off to a Tram themed restaurant for dinner. Most of the group had the lobster which wasn’t on the menu as it is strictly illegal since the Government doesn’t sell them you have to buy from the black market. The trams went in the early fifties but the tracks are still here. And there is a push to bring them back.
Most of us had a drink in the main square to close off a long day.