Round the world without odour eaters
Easter Island (7)
French Polynesia (11)
Hong Kong (8)
New Zealand/Aotearoa (50)
* The End
* Day 189: London baby!
* Day 188: Museums
* Day 187: MTR
* Day 186: Kowloon Park
* Day 185: Peak tram
* Day 184: Central and Admiralty
* Day 183: Fly away
* Day 182: last day in Kiwiland
* Day 181: Auckland
* Day 180: Bouncy pillow
* Day 179: Christchurch
* Day 178: Christchurch
* Day 177: Fairlie
* Day 176: Hooker valley
* Day 175: Mt Cook/Aoraki NP
* Day 174: Oamaru
* Day 173: Dunedin cafe culture
* Day 172: Taieri Gorge Railway
* Day 171: Otago Peninsula
October 15, 2004
Day 6, Living dangerously
Today, we went with Pedro, our teacher, to Habana Vieja, the old city centre. We took a taxi particular, which basically means just hop into a car that is going in the same direction and pay them.
This is how the Cubans get around cheap, but for tourists, itīs very much a big mystery. There is no way of knowing which car will stop, in fact, if you look like a tourist, they wonīt as itīs illegal for people to take tourists. But of course, with Pedro, a lot of doors open... Well, on this car they sort of did. It was an old Lada, of which you see loads in Havana. It nearly died at every red light, so I suppose itīs lucky in a way that there arenīt many in Havana, or that they are ignored when there are.
We visited various places, such as the PLaza de la Catedral and the Plaza de Armas, which are very nice and respectably old. The Plaza de armas has antique bookstalls with books in about every language. There is also a little temple commemorating the foundation of Havana, with murals from a French guy called Vermay. There is a tree there and if you are superstitious, you can walk around it three times and make a wish.
We also went to Bar La Floridita, where Hemingway used to drink one too many daiquiris. There is a statue of him lounging at the bar and the touristy thing to do is to stand next to him grinning sheepishly and have your photo taken. Which we did, of course.
Pedro bought us a few Cuban snacks, such as churro, a small portion of a potatoelike vegetable, yucca I think, with sugar on it. He also bought us a Cuban cola, which tastes a bit like coughing syrup with lots of water. An acquired taste...
I wanted to spend my first Cuban pesos and buy a helado but the woman had no change for a ten peso note. The icecream was 1 peso...
Afterwards, we walked through Obispo, which is like Havanaīs Oxford Street or Meir for the Belgian readers. Then we took a Panataxi back to Vedado, the area where we live. At home, I ate a guayaba, or guava, like an apple. You are advised to peel all fruits but my stomach seems to be feeling just fine, so I risked it as there is lots of vitamin C in the peel. It was very nice indeed.
I had a quick catnap and went out to find the Plaza de la Revolucion. In the process, I must have killed quite a few braincells, because the avenida I needed to take was a main thoroughfare through Havana. Havana stinks anyway, but this was like putting your mouth to the exhaust pipe of a car and inhaling... You could actually see the fumes hovering a few feet above the ground. After all that, it turned out I had taken a wrong turn and I didnīt find it, so I went back and read my book on a bench at the University, whihc is a very nice spot.
Dinner was rice, avocado, pollo frito which is chicken and a banana. The sopa de pollo, chicken soup, was a lot of vermicelli but no chicken. Ivon showed me the difference between papaīs which are potatoes and boniato and malanga, but to be honest they all taste like potato to me...
Itīs funny, today with Pedro and Bernardo, not ONE pst pst sound did I hear... Itīs a nice change.
Posted by Nathalie on October 15, 2004 11:58 PM
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