What can you write about when writing about beach? White sand. The amazing colors of the water? It’s temperature so different to Polish or Irish sea? The feeling that you get while floating on gentle waves with not a care in the World? It’s all truly fantastic and worthwhile, but not that entertaining when you read about it. I’ll concentrate on episodes from our stay in Varadero mostly from outside the beach, but keep in mind, it still is Varadero’s main attraction.
One of my dreams came true on the Halloween night. We had a bone fire on the beach. Funny enough we didn’t plan it at all. It kind of just happened. It wasn’t as I imagined, no guitar or singing, it was more like ‘we need to watch our back’ type of thing. I hope next time will be more relaxed.
We also saw some mysterious black shapes approaching the sea. It looked like people carrying boats over their heads. Adam suggested they were trying to get to Florida, but after a while we saw light signals coming from one of the houses next to the beach, so I guess they went fishing. The following morning my suspicions were confirmed, I met a guy called Paul in the beach and he told me his brother does night fishing so they can serve fresh fish in their restaurant.
Paul (Pablo Alejandro Rivera) is a doctor who worked for fifteen years in his profession before opening a private tourist business. He and his family have a restaurant La Puerta del Sol (Calle 42 y Playa) as well as travel agency. He speaks four languages. His family has two houses. One in Varadero, where the restaurant is located, and another one in the Bay of Pigs. For generations his family was in fishing business and he was the first one to go to college. He told me where the name of Bay of Pigs ( Bahía de Cochinos) comes from. He said it was the wild pigs that pirates saw (and ate) running around the bay that gave the name. But Wikipedia has a different opinion: “In Caribbean Spanish, cochinos may also mean the Orangeside triggerfish (Sufflamen verres), that inhabits coral reefs in Bahía de Cochinos, not swine (Sus scrofa).” The bay is famous bacause of the Bay of Pigs Invasion (La Batalla de Girón) – unsuccessful military invasion of Cuba undertaken by a counter-revolutionary militia trained and funded by the United States. The invasion was launched from Guatemala and defeated by the Cuban army, under the command of Fidel Castro, within three days.
Paul also told me to get to know Cuba you need to speak to people living here. I guess it’s true for every country. I wish I could speak Spanish. People in Cuba are very talkative and I know I would learn so much more about it if I could ask questions and understand answers.
By the way you wouldn’t believe how many people que to use public phones in Cuba! We saw long ques everywhere.
One day n the beach Michal retrieved dead langusta from the sea. Probably it died while the fishermen gathered their catch, as it was bisected. It looked amazing, colorful and a bit scary. No wonder they use creatures living in the sea as an inspiration for aliens.
All hotels in Cuba are state owned. Paul told me that Castro nationalized only houses that were not privately owned. This means when you had your own house it wasn’t taken away from you, but if you bought one and were still paying the mortgage back to the bank it became state owned.
One evening we went to The Beatles Bar Restaurant (Avenida 1ra. e/ Calle 59 y 60, Varadero, Cuba). There was a band playing covers of rock hits with particular emphasis on hits Bon Jovi.
They all looked like proper rock men with a guest “star” who jumped onto the speaker to the dismay of staff and the delight of guests (he is a leader of Sound Blast you can watch him here). Audience was various from teenagers – most probably friends of band members, typical tourist families to drunk seniors. Most loyal and having the most fun guests turned out to be a group of seniors demanding Carlos Santana all the time (who they never got by the way). Three of us took part in the raffle. We bought the right to draw a piece of paper with a number inside. When 10.30 pm struck the numbers drawn were: 48… 49… 24… 50… 50! Adam had 50! He won a bottle of Special Havana Club Rum (0,7l)!
I just thought of it. This was a night of music:
1. We went to Paul’s restaurant and we listened to live music:
2. Michal didn’t like it so we went to a different place – Barracuda Grill (between Calle 58 & 59) and listened to:
3. We went to The Beatles and we listened to:
Ok now get ready to have a look at the best meal during our whole stay in Cuba:
And now have look at where we got it:
And now listen how much we paid: 50 CUP not CUC, I repeat CUP (moneda nacional)!!!!! The place is called Los Tres Cerditos (three pigs) Cafeteria. Make sure you get there! When I was waiting for the food the owner first went in the direction of a shop but came back empty handed. Then he went to his neighbors house and brought back two fresh rainbow colored fish. I think this fish was then served to me and my friends. I generally don’t like fish. So if I say it was the best meal we had the fish has to be truly extraordinary.
Now have a look at the “best” restaurant in Varadero (at the corner od Avenida 1ar. and Calle 58):
Now listen to what we listened:
And now let me tell you that the waiter smashed a huge cockroach just in front of our table, the food was so so and the tiramisu half frozen. The remark of our French neighbors by the next table ‘if I wanted tiramisu I would go to supermarket’ started to make sense.
Enjoy the slide show and see you on the way to Santa Clara next!