Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Soroa and then Habana (20.5.2013 - 26.5.2013)

In Soroa we took a hike uphill for the view. Afterwards we skipped the orchid garden and wanted to have a drink at the bar on top of another hill. But we sadly came too late, a couple of years it seemed, as the place was abandoned and in shambles. So we settled for  a swim in the Hotel pool full of cubans ;)
The owner of the casa we stayed owned a 1958 Ford Fairlane, with which he drove us the next day to Las Terrazas. We wanted to stay there for a night or two to visit the park but the hotel didn't have any free rooms left. Having run out of Peso I had do exchange my last US$ as there was no ATM in sight. So we gave Julio a call and he drove us all the way to Habana in his old car.

The first night in Habana we did a little bar tour through Habana Vieja and Centro Habana. Later we decided a bottle of rum from the store would be cheaper and we settled down in the nearby park with it. As we where sitting there we thought there where quite a lot of ugly women smiling at us, till two siblings on the bench next to us told us this was the place where all the gays and cross dressers would meet...
The next day was all about getting some cash! All the ATMs we found wouldn't accept any of our 4 different creditcards, so in the end Patrick exchanged his last couple of €uros. Afterwards we took a walk through the city and bought some groceries so we could cook some nice al dente spagetti! In the evening we went out in the old town again. The evening was still young when half of Habana Vieja had a power failure. So all the bars were closed and we wandered around in the dark streets till we found a bar with some candles lit and the staff having a great time playing music with their cell phones.
The next day was the third day in a row we where broke again! In the end we finally found a bank where they would accept one of our creditcards, yeah! Having some money to spend we went to eat in one of the fancy restaurant on the tourist strip and ordered a lobster boat, two lobster tails stuck into each other and covered in shrimps. Super tasty! ;)
Having enough of the smog and the heat we decided to spend the next day at the beach. So we headed to the Playas del Este. We wandered aimlessly along the beach and managed to see not a single tourist during the whole day! But there where plenty of cubans having a great time, bringing coolers full of beer and barbecue equipment to the beach.
That evening when we were walking around we saw that one of the hotels had a rooftop terrace and soon afterwards we found us smoking a cuban cigar and drinking a mojito in a nice lounge overlooking the old town. Despite its nice location, service and atmosphere it wasn't expensive, actually it was quite cheap compared to the bars around this part of town.
The next and last day in cuba we wanted to spend it like the other tourists, so Patrick bought a hat ;) Afterwards we wanted to take a trip on the tourist-hop-on-hop-off-double-decker-bus, which supposedly should run till 9pm. But as this is cuba the woman in the tourist office hat 5 in the afternoon told us it would only run for another hour... As we really wanted to see something else than the old town we ended up in one of the restored/maintained old american convertibles. So we drank the bottle of rum and cola we planned on drinking on the bus in the back of the shiny blue Pontiac while driving through town. We drove around the placa de la revolution, took a picture of Che and Cienfuegos and of the Jose Marti concrete thing. We had a great time and when we left the car the bottle was empty ;)
This time we wanted to visit the rooftop bar of another hotel, but the security guide in the lobby didn't wanted us to enter. So we ran past him into the elevator, but he reached us before the door could close and we had to leave... ;)
The rooftop bar we stayed the night before didn't mind us entering so we spent our last hours in cuba there lounging and watching the stars go by.