17 – 19 February 2013
As mentioned earlier I decided to stay in less places for a little longer to avoid being on buses all the time – Trinidad was one of these places despite being the number one tourist attraction in Cuba and the fact that it's so small that it can be explored in half a day. I decided to stay 2½ days if I could get a local bus to the beach, but since I didn't know, I couldn't buy the ongoing ticket to Camaguey on arrival. It was a nice trip from Cienfuegos but I didn't see much since I spent most of the time talking to a Danish couple on their last days of a 4 months round-the-world trip – I usually try to avoid countrymen but they sat just next to me in the bus, so it felt awkward not talking to them. The bus arrived at 2pm and I snuck out the back of the bus station avoiding all the touts. It's of course impossible to walk around with big bags so many addressed me but when they heard I only had CUC 10 they laughed – impossible.... But far from – I knocked 4 doors and then had a big room with own bathroom.....
The weather was nice so I took the opportunity to walk around town partly sightseeing and partly shopping some food – there are a number of shops but it's always difficult to find the ones that actually have what I need. It's funny how most things are sold through the windows in people's private homes – vegetables, bread, meat, food, drinks, etc. At the bakery a guy was friendly passing my bread not considering I didn't like his dirty hands on my bread.....! And then I got quite annoyed with the employees in one of Trinidad's only supermarkets. The first couple of times they tried cheating with the change and when they realised it didn't work they tried cheating with the price on cheese weighed on a scale – more than once in the same transaction! And no apology but maybe its logical – I can't really expect thieves to apologise! I'm sure they make a substancial larger amount from cheating than their salary – sad and pitiful.
Next day I got up early to have breakfast and get the bus to Playa Ancon at 9am. I walked up and down the beach and explored the other side of the peninsula before finding a (fairly) quiet spot on the beach – I had heard horror stories of people constantly being harassed by vendors but it was maybe one an hour and not very persistent (contrary to the taxi drivers everywhere). A merciless sun burned from a blue sky, so mid afternoon I felt like a barbecued pig and found Paul and Helena - a nice Uruguay/Argentinian couple I had met on the bus in the morning. We had a cosy afternoon before heading back to Trinidad at 6pm. My intention was to book the bus ticket to Camaguey and do some internet when I returned, but it was getting late so I postponed it to the next day and went back to my casa.
The next morning I went I went to the bus station just to realise that the Camaguey bus was fully booked - I could get on the waiting list but most likely I had to wait another day. Consequently I changed plans deciding instead to go to Santa Clara and from there to Camaguey. The bus turned out to be one of many unsuccessful incidents this morning – the bakery didn't have bread, the supermarkets were out of stock, the internet cafe had 10 people waiting in line for 4 computers, etc. I walked around town a couple of times and always ended up places I had already been. Despite being partly clouded it was a very hot day and at the same time I was starting to get a sore throat because of the a/c buses and all the traffic fumes ...I'm especially annoyed by the buses and trucks left idling for sometimes ½ hour – it's feels like smoking 60 cigarettes per day and despite having been many polluted places, I can't remember having felt like this since Mexico City 15 years ago. I went back to my room and relaxed a bit before heading out again – this time with more luck.... even the internet worked. I went to the bus station to say goodbuy to Paul and Helena and we agreed to meet up again in Santa Clara the next day. Trinidad was sunny but heavy clouds hang over the mountains preventing me from taking some nice pictures from the roof tops. Instead I spent some time at the central square observing life pass by, relaxing and trying out the decent and very cheap (USD 0.25) local pizzas - one was made in a filthy staircase but in Cuba private initiative overrule health conciderations. Cubans love to discuss loud and long everywhere... one time I saw 15-20 people in a loud street argument and when I returned some hours later they were still at it. Trinidad is a nice place to walk around in the cobblestoned streets admiring the old buildings, squares, etc – but unfortunately it ended up being as touristic as I feared. Big tour groups walking around town like cattle, wearing the same stupid hats, t-shirts, shopping bags, etc. - go figure!