Day 10: I’m off to Cienfuegos today, which I’ve actually already seen as the bus to Trinidad drove through the town. It’s labelled the “Paris of Cuba” or “Pearl of the South”. Cienfuegos was a French settlement and it looked pleasant enough from the bus however research tended to suggest 2 nights is enough. It’s only an hour and a half away spit will give me almost 2 full days.
That’s leads to my new Law of Travel. Let’s call it Justin’s first law of traveling: It takes 3 nights to get a comfortable nights sleep in a new bed. All three casas I’ve had a much better sleep on the third night. I’ll test my theorem in Cusco, Peru as that’s my next three night stay.
My taxi to Cienfuegos was an hour or so late. I decided to take the taxi as the bus service was actually quite limited between the two towns. I did find that the bus left at 7 am but I had to be there at 6 to buy the ticket a bit strange. I also found out why my taxi was late. There is a crab migration on the the road is full of crabs, mostly flattened by trucks and buses unfortunately but my driver did miss the live stragglers on the road.
My casa in Cienfuegos “La Casita de Oshun” ha water front out back and in front a small road and more water. It sits on a thin point that was exclusive for the wealthy many years ago but there seems to be many casa available here, because tourism is the best way to make money in Cuba these days. My bedroom door opens to views of the water!
I was quite pleased at lunchtime, as I found an nice pizza place and ordered my whole meal in Spanish without reading or needing the menu and I got what I ordered! Listening though is still a problem.
The next thing I wanted to do is get my bus ticket sorted. One company said no buses then said only with 72 hrs notice (I’d suggest 1 in 10 tourists spend that long total in Cienfuegos and similar amount actually come here!). So I walked the 10 blocks to the us station only to find out the computers there were down so no reservations!
That night I went for a meander around Punta Gorda and a storm had me bailed up in the Hotel Jagua. It passed in one Cuba Libre, so I continued past some rather nice buildings. I eventually found a restaurant called “Finca del Mar” or Farm of the Sea that fortunately sold non seafood dishes.I had a delicious pork dish one of the best meals in Cuba. Actually today’s meals have both been great. The waitress asked If I wanted dessert and I thought I better check my wallet. I only just had enough to pay for the meal!
Day 11: Last night once I worked out the aircon was useless last night and opened a few windows and got the breeze, I got a reasonable sleep. This morning it is Breakfast by the sea, how could life be better.
Arrrgh I went back to the bus station, to find still no tickets can be bought or reserved yet people were managing to board the 10am bus to Havana today, which is the one I want tomorrow! I asked the guy in the office and all he could say is come back later or tomorrow! I might need to take a collectivo or hire a taxi. All very annoying, especially the attitude of the other bus company also and their 72 hours in advance policy so they don’t run a bus even though they have a scheduled bus!
I walked down to the train museum and that was a disappointment also. Four steam trains in a park and in poor condition. It is all part of the experience I guess.
So for lunch I got abducted by one of those waiters in the street with a menu, I was hungry and the CUC8 menu of the day looked good. Also indoors in aircon is a definite requirement today. Lunch consisted of some crunchy large potentially made of potato things, salad (cabbage, tomato and cucumber all on seperate plates), some kind of delicious rice like a fried rice, chicken and fried plantains. Now as Homer once said “You don’t win friends with salad”, so one must judge the meal one erythingbut the salad. The meal was delicious with plenty of tasty chicken, plantain and rice!
With impending futile hope, I went back to the bus station and no luck which is what I expected. I then managed to try and upload some photos only to lose the connection in the hotel and unable to know whether anything worked. Cienfuegos doesn’t like me it seems. Probably because there are too many French people around!
I opted for the cheaper option of having dinner in the casa. The meal was a quite tasty chicken dish and I got ice cream for dessert too! Tomorrow it’s the madness that is the Cuban bus station and a return to Havana.