13th of January, 2017
8:40 AM. I know it just because I set my alarm to the breakfast. But anyway I woke up a few minutes earlier. I put my sweat-pants and a t-shirt on, washed my face and went to the living room, where the prepared table was waiting for me. 4 sets of plates and cups, so most probably there is 3 person in the other family. Grandfather came, “Buenos Tardes, como estas?” “Buenos Tardes, muy bien!” and after my Spanish answer he thought I’m a guy from Spain or something like this, and started to speak Spanish endlessly. I’ve understood the main point what he was saying, but couldn’t reply, and I indicated it by a simple “No hablo Espanol”. He stopped speaking, I see that he’s a little disappointed, but okay with this, shaking his head and smiling. In front of me, a table with everything what you could wish for breakfast. Ketchup-mustard, sugar, salt, teabags in a beautiful handmade box, oil, a little cup for the coffee and a bigger one for tea. Papi is coming, asking if I need coffee or tea. I’d have a coffee with some milk. I could put this together in Spanish, and the old men gave me a smile, “Si, si” and he left to the kitchen. Until my first course arrive, I was looking around, checking the interior, taking deep breaths and feel the place, like in a dream.
Within a few minutes, the freshly made coffee and baked bread has arrived. In a next round the milk, some cheese and the fruit plate as well with banana, pineapple and two unidentified red fruits. I said okay, first thing first, let’s prepare my coffee, drink a little and then realize what’s going on here today. I pick up the bigger cup, and under it, the surprise, a muffin!!! Noooooo waaay, it’s not true, yeay! And like a little child, I started stamping on the chair 🙂 I have no idea, what this city had done with me, but it’s like another me, who was hiding until now in the back. And to really prove it, after I ate the banana slices, I went for the pineapple!!! Attention, these were my first pieces of pineapple on my own will. Not because earlier they forced me to eat this, just as a FYI thing. And what made me more surprised, I tasted good, I really enjoyed it! Like I took some kind of drugs, and I haven’t spend 24 hours here yet. In the same time Jorge and his family joined me to the table. He and his wife took a seat next to the table, their daughter went to watch TV. Papi – to make it easier, I’ll call him like this, but only here, not in real life – turned the TV on, brought the fruits to the others, for me my omelette, and set down next to the small girl. They’re laughing at the show, which was about a little girl and a bear, I’m sure about it! It was a quiet breakfast, since my Spanish knowledge is very poor, I couldn’t really communicate with them. But let this be the biggest problem, that it’s quiet at home. Camilo is coming, asking how was my first night. I said fine, really well. The bed is a little harder than the one I got used to, but you feel it only for first, after that doesn’t bother you.
We’ve finished with the breakfast, I grabbed my book and went to the terrace to read through the morning time. The host came and asked me what I was reading. Shortly I explained to him the story, after that he left for shopping. I stayed there until 11:30 AM, then I closed my book, went back to the room, changed my clothes and hit the road.
This much photos, videos what I’ve shoot about one thing, I’ve never had before. I walked to the sea coast, which means 5 minutes. Simply down on the road, and there we are. If you’ve ever seen the Dirty Dancing 2, than a few second could be familiar here. Like the scene when they’re heading to the Country Club to dance, and just before that, when the ocean has such big waves, that the water comes out to the street. This really happened, it wasn’t just another movie effect. I went down to the coast, the weather was a little windy, but a nice 20 degrees temperature, friendly and smiley people, and the sea. Beautiful blue, salty, you could taste it, feel it, smell it. And today it’s not very calm. I climbed up on top of the wall and walked there all the way down, sit down at some places and took many many videos and pictures. The phone’s memory didn’t last long, the sign that I have only 250 more pictures left, appeared shortly. But the flight and the sea is really, truly picturesque. That rock-wall, which is just behind the actual concrete wall, breaking the huge waves – or at least a part of them – and the rest, which hit the wall directly, sometimes come out to the street. I’ve spent there at least 1-2 hours waiting for the bigger and bigger waves to hit the wall and come through the wall. And yes, sometimes I also got a little water. And it’s really salty, but not cold at least. During this time I got thirsty, so I went through the road and had a beer to an outdoor place. Not a simply terrace, but a whole garden with chairs, tables and umbrellas. And with good music, really good latin music, so I could got the feeling, how is it to sit next to the ocean, listening such good music – reggaeton, salsa, son – and drinking beer, listening the locals and just watching everything around you. This is what I was waiting for, this is what I wanted to hear, see, feel.
After that I went further next to the ocean, more and more beautiful squares and places came into my way, I passed by – most probably – the American Embassy, there I took a right turn and headed to the city center. I didn’t bring a map with me, so I was alone with my instinct, if I got lost, I just have to go back to the water, and from there I can make it home. But fortunately, I didn’t get lost.
Around 3:00 PM I’ve got hungry, so I stepped into one of the nearest restaurant – like I knew the way. I just followed the music, and my ears didn’t lie to me, it was live music! The restaurant was on a busy corner – where was no traffic lamps, so everybody sounded their horns if they were approaching the junction point, and then crossed it – and the live band was playing there, in the Sofia Restaurant. It has terrace, in the middle the band, and the feeling was something phenomenal. When I choose my table and sit down there, they’re playing Polo Motanez – Un Monton de Estrellas. I could realize it immediately, they were so clear and good. There was a guitarist, one older guy with electric-contrabass (???), one with maraca, the other with clave, another behind the drums and the conga, everything what you need for a great Latin band! It was simply magnetizing, brought everyone there. Or at least it pulled in me, as soon as I set down and ordered a water, beer and some chicken breast with rice, I’ve started to dance in the chair and sing with the others. If I say that it was beautiful, I didn’t say anything about it. It wasn’t familiar, not intimate, something totally different from another planet, unbelievable. And the band was dancing, the waitresses were dancing, everyone was moving! Unforgettable memory, that’s for sure! Then they brought out my meal, in the meantime the live music was on, that kind what makes you really happy and don’t let you sit in one spot. That’s how I’ve spent my lunch, eating really slowly my meal with a beer, and left the water for the end. I did not want to go anywhere from here, I wanted to stay all day long until they’re singing. But also I wanted to go, there’s a lot to see, since I’m here in Cuba! So I headed to the Main Street, from where I could reach my street (Calle No. 11) and which one’s heading to the Plaza de la Revolucion. Today I visited just a little part of it, the rest will be tomorrow, or maybe another day. But the point is, that this square is in a middle of a 3-lane roundabout, without any traffic lamps or crosswalks. So like a nice obstacle, on the way in and out as well. Have fun! 🙂
If you’re ready with this, my Dear Reader, than please have a walk with me along the main street. 2×3 lanes, with pedestrian pavement and parks in the middle. The atmosphere is fantastic, like everything was built for only one purpose: to kidnap everyone’s mind and soul and keep it for himself, and never let it go again. This road goes until the seacoast – the name of that street is El Malecon – but I didn’t really want to go back to the house in the same way I came, and of course, my phone’s memory was about to be full, so I had no space for more water pictures. So I took a left turn into a smaller street, and headed back home. On the way, I could see, how they live here, a little further from the city center. The whole place is like it’s been brought here from an Arabic town. Towers, terraces everywhere, high, castle-style houses next to each other, in million of different, bright colors. Mesmerizing, and the trees, how they’re covering these buildings with their shades, just make it more amazing. Because it is, who has never been here, can’t understand it. There are billions of pictures, but doesn’t mean anything, none of them can give the feeling… Thanks God, I could make it back to the house, I put the pictures from the phone to the laptop, washed my face, and headed to the small market, I need some sparkling water and beer for the writing nights (like this night was). After the shopping, I set down to read a little, and prepared myself for the run! I’ve changed my clothes, turned the GPS on – luckily it measured the speed and the distance, but the map – gave the keys to Camilo and went down to the coast. Until I’ve reached the end of the street, I did the warm-up and set the music as well. It was already night time, but everything was lighted up, and also, the top of the waves were white. If during day time I thought that the ocean is not peaceful, what could I say now? It was angry, hard, fast and merciless. Where I was sitting a few hours ago, now every single time a huge wave came up and fall down on the pavement. After a few minutes I started to the left, and within 1 kilometer I realized, that I have to go to the other side of the street. Everything was wet, the waves came out in every second, I’ve got a lot to my back, and once I didn’t see a huge hole and almost broke my ankle. But on the other side, it was in good condition, so I could speed up a little. All together, in the end it was 6k with an average 5:01 mins/km. What is not so bad at all, in this wind, in unknown places. I want to go 2-3 times more, or at least that’s what I’ve planned.
What I experienced today, that’s fantastic. This place is breathtaking, you immediately fall in love, calm, quiet and noisy in the same time. Paradise on Earth. You can still see the effects of the socialism, communism and the regimes of the past times. The old buildings, the environment is the same, but you still don’t feel like you could have been killed in every single second. They live in love here, to themselves and to the others as well. With a smile, a nice word, a wave. On my way back to the house, a local guy shouted to me from his motorbike “Happy Holiday”! Since them I’m a real tourist, thank you, and that how nice, kind and happy is everyone. I’m really jealous of them, for everything they have here.
It’s time to sleep, I got tired. I’ve gut sunburned, or just a little tone, hopefully the second one. And I realized it only when I changed my clothes for running. It seemed to me like I had it just in a few spots, but after a shower, it looks good, and not so red anymore. I forgot the sun milk at home with the hat, but for sure I can buy them somewhere. I’m still good with the financial part, I didn’t have to use my card yet. This place is not so expensive, so if you’re here and don’t want to spend on every single thing, that you’ll be fine. The taxi, public transport, the mojito, the rum and the cigar are still on the list, but not for long anymore, I still have a few days here 😉
Okay, that’s it for today. The time is 3:38 AM. Home, again. Here, it’s just 9:38 PM. Good night!