The bus had stopped at various places along the way, primarily to give the driver a break but it also let the passengers mill about in a half-dazed state. My main problem was that I was unsure as to whether the bus had a toilet or not or whether to brave getting off the bus and looking for a toilet in the rest stop. Finally plucking up enough courage, I wandered the length of the bus and found what could well have been a toilet, although in the half-light it could have been a luggage rack. Someone emerging from the formless box confirmed it was a toilet, but in my dopey state, I managed to stumble backwards and hit my head on the overhead storage shelf, much to the amusement of the young man who was trying to get past me.
My sleep was fractured at best, the air-conditioner sounded like it would tear itself apart while still managing to cool the room down; at times I woke and wondered if it was cool enough to turn it off or whether I could endure the cacophony for the sake of being at a comfortable temperature. Eventually rising at 7am I showered and was treated to another excellent cup of coffee accompanied by a breakfast of bread, Spanish sausage, an omelette, that same unidentifiable jam/preserve and some butter.
By the time I had sweated out all of the water I had drunk the evening before, it was 3am and I found Matt still not back from his escapades in Holguin. At this point of the holiday I was still painfully aware as to how nervous I was at being in a foreign country where I didn't speak the language and didn't rightly know exactly where I was; scenarios of having to phone the British Embassy (carefully noted down before coming to Cuba) and explain that my friend had disappeared flashed through my mind until I heard the comforting sound of the casa owner let him in. Satisfied I was not going to have to phone the embassy or expatriate Matt's body to the UK, I went back to sleep.
In May 2007 I visited Cuba with a friend for almost three weeks; this is the record of what I experienced there. I thought it best to start off with a preamble explaining my approach to this (what I can only imagine is going to be a lengthy) undertaking.
What I read on the tinterweb before going to Cuba fell into three categories:
- The political - Usually quoting a human rights report or something by Amnesty International, these sites track the ongoing political climate in Cuba and its dealings with the rest of the world. Opinion pieces were abound on how the author thought the country was faring.
- The evangelical - It seemed that Cuba made a large quotient of people fall in love with it, as such, the blogs and articles came off as gushing monologues about the terminally friendly people or the unspoiled countryside or the lack of road vehicles.
- The minimal - I only read a few accounts before spotting the tell tale signs of there being little to no actual useful information contained within. These sites divulge minimal information about Cuba either on the whole or in part and boil down to how many t-shirts their husband packed.
This series of posts is going to attempt to be none of those things; I only aim for an interesting, frank and unyielding account; sexual and opinionated content (sometimes inextricably conjoined) will be present. I'm not going to explain every term, only the ones which I couldn't find or found inadequately described elsewhere.
And until I can come up with a snappy category name, "Cuba 2K7" will remain.