En la casa de las dos hermanas

Trip Start Apr 10, 2006
1
17
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Cuba  ,
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

* see pics on... www.rubyfunk.shutterfly.com

I hobbled onto another bus at the crack of dawn the next morning for the six hour ride to Baracoa - the landscape en route was spectacular: through mountains, forests, bush and next to the sea. The road from Santiago was only built at the end of the revolution and so there has been hardly any development or impact on the countryside. Not too many tourists make it this far - Baracoa is pretty much the furthest point east of Cuba and so the competition between the Casa owners is even more intense, almost WWF style (!) when you step off the bus. I went with two sisters who looked after me like a princess - $10 a night for an en suite double room with private terrace and three meals a day (I had prawns twice)!! This was good since Havana had cost a fortune ;-) and, as I discovered the next day, drawing money in Cuba attracts an 11% commission fee!!! Apparently this is only for dollars but the government has now decreed that any foreign currency drawn in Cuba has to be converted to Dollars before it is converted into Cuban currency - so everyone gets to pay - yay!! I took it very easy for the few days I had in Baracoa, chilled at a hotel pool, had a day at the beach, bought cigars and chocolate and chatted lots to the two sisters. The younger one is married to an Italian and both of them have very strong and interesting views about Cuba. I think this was also one of my favorite things in Cuba, not only in Baracoa but in Havana too, the chance to really get to know and speak to the people in whose home you are staying. I had such a sweet experience in Baracoa as well - I gave some lollipops to a few of the neighbours´ children and a little boy, who seemed to be slightly mentally handicapped, from next door came proudly back to me in about ten minutes with a fresh pineapple :-) definitely the best fruit I had there!
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