We had to decide where to go next. Most of us was very impatient to get to the beach so we were considering two options. First: South – staying in either La Bajada or Maria La Gorda (which means fat Maria) or North – a place recommended by our hosts Playa La Mulata with an option to go to Cayo Levisa, which was supposed to be paradise on Earth. We almost agreed on going South when our host stated categorically ‘Why do you want to go South? There is nothing there!’. So most of us reconsidered and we agreed to go North.
We contacted the same driver who brought us to Vinales and agreed he will pick us up and drive to Playa Mulata for 40 CUC. We waited and waited… and waited… and he was on the way the whole time. Three or four hours after the set time he arrived saying he had a problem with the wheel and it’s going to cost us 50 CUC to get where we wanted. For this money we could have gone with any driver without wasting half of the day on waiting. So we refused and found another driver, a friend of course.
He delivered us somewhere. Somewhere meaning we have no idea where exactly. On the way we stopped to glance at a beautiful blue water and white sand somewhere on the horizon. To be honest I couldn’t see more than a glimpse of colour but it was a grey day anyway. We were tired, some of us recovering from sickness and all we wanted was to lie down on a nice beach and enjoy the sun and the water.
The road we took was only as broad as to allow two cars to pass each other. People used it to dry the rice and remove it from the chaff. We also saw some of them doing it on the cabins roofs. You could see they use more or less professional rakes. Rice is not native to the Americas but was introduced to Latin America and the Caribbean by European colonizers. A very popular dish in Cuba being rice with black beans.
Anyway the driver took left and we found ourselves following a ground road which looked like one of those roads between allotments. Finally he stopped and we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere. The house was quite spacious and when I look at the pictures I’m thinking it doesn’t look that bad. I just compile two images for comparison:
And what do you think?
Which one would you be expecting in Cuba?
Which one can you call A BEACH?
So we ended up living in two rooms 15 CUC each in the middle of nowhere, whith no shower or hot water. We asked if there was any shop around? No. Restaurant? No. Bus stop? No.
We didn’t give up easily. A young boy led the way between the houses towards the beach and the only place where we could get something to eat besides our casa. Yes we did refuse having dinner at home. In then end Maria ordered dinner there and we shared her food but this is still to come. Now we are going on a hunt. Food hunt. And we got to…
… something we all recognised as abandoned socialistic staff holiday resort, known well to all Polish from before 1989. Everything was closed. What caught my attention was a couple of vulture-like birds circling above the buildings. Well the beach was a lawn and a couple of stones. It didn’t look like you could go into the water at all.
After a while we found somebody to open a shop for us. We could buy there only water and beer. Then the same person invited us to the restaurant. There was only one dish in the menu pork with rice with black beans. Very cheap I have to admit. The most popular entrance to the restaurant was a window. Maria used it as well as the cook and a local woman who was there probably to help. When our food was served we saw another three people coming in and ordering food.
I smelled the food. It stank. I tried the rice it was dry as a bone. We left everything almost like we got it. Only Michal took three bites of his pork. And then had to wash it down the drain with high alcohol spirit.
There were nice moments as well like when we finally sat down outside the casa drinking and chatting. Watching stars and laughing. Up to this point we didn’t really have time to just relax and enjoy each other company. maybe this is a reason why at the beginning the relations were bit tense. Michal told me later that he even thought to say ‘Goodbye’ to us all and go his own way. I was just thinking how I never wrote about the confilcts or the way to resolve them. Anyway just so you don’t think it’s all roses all of the time. We did really good as for a group of 5 people knowing each other more or less.
This night I slept in a bed with mosquito net. I always wanted to do it (more princess style than explorer). Maybe I imagined it little more romantic but I’m not complaining. I will start complaining now. We had no bedclothes. We slept under towels and one more cloth which I don’t remember what it was. I got cold and even though I curled up I couldn’t warm up. But I’m still happy I did it as the cold was unconvinient but not pervading.
It was in the morning when we found out there is no shower. The lady of the house pored water into a metal bucket and put it on gas hob to heat it up. I was shocked. Well why not. So we used the bucket and a small pot to take shower. It was like camping! Sense of humor is a must when you go travelling. and listen to what happened to one of the girls. She was using the toilet in the morning when suddenly ahe felt a fiery kiss in the ass! Yes you guessed right! It was the prince charming himself! We had a laugh that now not the princess kisses the frog but the frog kisses the princess in the ass. Finally the time of the liberated woman has come!
The guys told us they saw it in the night before they went to sleep in the shower. It was probably looking for a pond and found the toilet. Good one.
From my notes:
- we had an amazing avocado there. It fell from the tree and or Lady of the house said we can have it for free. Delicious!
- the breakfast cost 3 CUC we got a dry bread toasted in shape of triangles with nothing inside. It was already cold when we sat down to eat. Bananas, one omlette each, two types of juice and little coffee.
- the inside doors were missing due to the hurracaine
- our owner was an economist but she didn’t work and her daughter had epilepsy
- our driver told Michal he should eat something made of langusta (an aphrodisiac) since he has only one girlfriend
And so we decided to leave and go to the most tourist and expensive place in Cuba – Varadero. See you there!