Travelling to Trinidad
Trip Start Dec 15, 2011
14Trip End Dec 31, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Here, we were a bit unsure of what to do or where to head. We didn't even have a map of Trinidad! We had just gotten off at the stop where most people had, and now found ourselves feeling woozy from the drive, and already sweating from the heat and the weight of our packs. We wandered a bit, up and down some cobblestone streets, getting curious glances down every one. Things here, like Havana, are crumbling. Perhaps a bit more dirt than in Havana... more manure, more rotting vegetables. It was only after six or seven minutes, but felt like much longer, that dad stopped next to a man in a bus driver's uniform to ask him where we might find a bus station. The Transtur station was closed (convenience of traveling on a holiday!), so we headed to the sketchier Viazul station - where the prices are cheaper, but your chances of being robbed are apparently not.
We met a tall, sweaty man smoking a fat cigar who introduced himself as Rigoberto. He was a big cheese at the place. We explained that we would be needing a ride back to Havana on the 30th of December. He nodded, wrote it down on a scrap of cardboard, shook both our hands, and assured us it would be no problem. He had guaranteed a van, and not a bus, would be picking us up at our casa, and that it would be faster than a bus because it could take shortcuts. That's it, bye bye! Leaving the station, I had mixed emotions.
Do we trust this man? Do we take his word that he will show up at 9 in the morning on the day before our flight out of the country? This, I found, is a big difference from our North American culture. I do not remember who was telling us the story, of a plane ticket booked through an independent travel agent in Mexico who showed up mysteriously at the right time and vanished again, just doing his job the right way, getting paid for it, and slipping back into the seams of the fabric. The people who had booked the ticket were nervous and worried up until they saw him in
Rigoberto found us a taxi driver who brought us down to La Boca for 6CUC. He found us our casa, the Sol y Mar, and we met our hosts Joaquin and Olga. After settling our belongings in, we took off on a stroll through the small, sleepy town. Just around the corner, we came across a small out-of-house travel agency - a man named Carlos. Here, we noticed the possibility to book a Transtur bus ticket. After some thought, we decided to pay for the tickets for the 30th, by bus (we had, after all, not yet paid Rigoberto). 25 CUC each, the same price to take the van. Was it the right choice? We didn't want to distrust the fidelity of a Cuban, and the prospect of a minivan sounded nice, but from what Carlos told us about some illegal activities surrounding those vans, it felt safer to book the bus. We had planned to travel back to Trinidad one day and cancel with Rigoberto, unfortunately for him, but probably for the best. Things seemed like they would work out.
Back at our casa, we had our first dinner by Olga. A spread like none we'd had since arriving in Cuba! She was a great cook, and I fell in love with a black bean soup I had never known 'til then. We dined like royalty, then fell into our beds, full, warm, and ready to do nothing for the next week.