From Diary 2 we
now finish the round trip.
18.We've reached the part of Cuba where there are hardly any tourists. Over the next 4 days, 3 out of 4 tourist cars greet me, I don't think the 4th saw us! In Cuba there are many types of license plates, in addition to colour differences, it is also in lower case letters what it is for a type. There was only one that was rarer than tourist, it was military. You just don't see that in Cuba.
We drive off a road which on the map is marked as a broad highway. It is wide all right, but it is not asphalted. Wherever you see a sign "Road under construction" in Cuba, you should consider writing "Bridge under destruction". It is also seen elsewhere that one is missing a sponsor. You try to maintain the facade, but it can pinch a bit, not least with it behind.
After 150 Km we are approaching Santiego. Along the way, we buy some yellow bananas at the roadside. The greens we bought in Holguin are still totally inedible. When you open it, the juice almost sprays out. Lesson learned from past experience, we start by finding a hotel while it's daylight. We succeed, and we take it to its neighbour: Casa Morro, which is an impressive fort from 1663. All the buildings are intact and there is also some interior. It was designed by an Italian engineer in 1576, but was first erected by the Spaniards some 100 years later, to protect the bay from pirates.
The last part of the day, Jesper and I spend
planning the next day's 3D sightseeing. After getting it in place,
we walk around the hotel's large facilities. We
a staircase leading down to the water. 250 steps down, we have
passed countless crabs and reptiles. There are some small, very
flimsy brown anoles that I do not know. There is a great view from
the cliff face, but it is getting dark, so we head up again. Back in
the room to pick up rum and cigars, and down to a sea-facing terrace
to enjoy the moon's reflections in the Caribbean Sea far below us.
We find a space just around the corner and enter. It is an unusually well-preserved governor residence of 1522 (Columbus "discovered" Cuba 1492). The ceilings are the original cedar works, the floors are of the old yellow and red clay tiles. Furniture, on the other hand, is "new". The bedroom is from one time, and also represents the country that held power at that time. Each living room is its century and country. Very tasteful. The walls are freshly painted, but then they are a copy of the original "cheat panels". They are preserved in some places so that you can see the extent of the restoration. An incredibly fascinating house, with its original atmosphere.
When we get back to the car, it has got a much needed wash. An old man stands and finishes his work, lighting up a big laugh as he gets a dollar. Why don't we have some like this at home? We drive around the square, down past the harbour, get a cup of coffee down at the new station, and end at the original Bacardi factory. The Bacardi family took themselves and their patent to the United States during the Revolution, but the factory is still working. Recently, the manager has decided that it should end with visitors, only the shop is open, and what does it appeal to us?
We continue to the town's ZOO, where we park in a small empty parking lot. That means; it is not completely empty. There is a school class and when we come back the car is totally over-greased with little fingers and noses. The most modern cars they usually see are Moskovites from the 1970s.
Inside, the zoo is a quirky mix of far too small and just cages for monkeys, for very large plants. A brown bear has really good space in green. It's just evident that it has grown up in a very small cage. Small circles in the corners show its size. A cage contains a bunch of black animals that I do not know. They resemble most of all red pandas, Latin name: Arctitis binturong, Malaysia. (Looking up the library reveals that they used to belong to the half-bears, but now they belong to the squirrels?, which, however, they differ pretty much with their heavy bodies, grappling tails, diet plan (omnivorous) and their behaviour). We see several of the local unique animals. Small birds, snakes, mammals and reptiles.
The temperature rises, and after a hearty banana / biscuit meal, we drive the old people back to the hotel, where they explore the rocks down to the sea. We continue, first beyond the plain, then up into the mountains, where we pass a place where a cow is broken out of the fold. A bunch of cowboys have caught and tied it and are now pulling it under the barbed wire, into the fold. We stop many times to enjoy the view, somewhere we find some completely black anoles, the size of green. The strap bag is white.
a clearing by the road is a wooden house with palm-leaf roof. It
doesn't really differ from those in the cities, they are just
closer. It's easy to imagine the scene 400 years ago. Nothing has
changed out here.
The top itself is made up of an almost exposed, egg-shaped rock. It is 51 m long and weighs 65,000 tons. From the top there are reportedly clear views of Haiti and Jamaica. On the way down, I am almost ploughed down by a hummingbird. It is swirling around us and I get some good photos - of the bushes it was just in front! We can spend all day on this summit, but we must go down to the old ones.
We drive a few hundred meters down the
mountain and come to the Garden of Eden, a botanical garden. The
gardener and my mother wander around with Latin names, we others
enjoy the many exotic flowers and plants in the company of a bunch
Along the way, it pulls up to the thunder. We
just reach a freeway cafe as it breaks loose. Visibility: 20 m, but
only when sitting quietly under a roof. Get some delicious
sandwiches, and continue as it pays off.
We hear a Swedish story about dolphin
swimming, a Norwegian about a beach holiday, get a couple of
sandwiches, and storms on board. I sit down on the seat that was
empty during the flight down. Others sit down, but get lost; people
who have ordered non-smoking must sit and smoke. The steward is wise
enough not to say that to me.