We hit the trifecta in our Trinidad Casa. Toilet works first time, every time, water pressure in the shower is excellent plus there is very hot water. Our hosts have a lovely large and cool home that opens onto a very big back garden where the breakfast tables are located under the trees.
Our taxi collectivo driver from Cienfuegos had backed up for another fare, driving to Remedios again to take us back down south to Trinidad. He gets a little more than his fare as sadly I leave my Guayaquil cap in the back. I was very fond of that cap.
This young driver has an eye for the ladies. Blatantly checks out any young females and picks up any cute ones who are waiting for a lift. So many people are waiting on the roads, must be a difficult life trying to get around.
Trinidad is packed with tourists but not so bad once you get away from Plaza Mayor where the prices are high, the music tumbles out from every venue, and the cocktails flow. Cocktails are cheap and if you are just on vacation for a week or two….
The small cobble stones sit very unevenly and extremely randomly in all the central streets. Water bubbling up and running freely down the streets adds to the sometimes gymnastic requirements to get around. A brief shower of rain on our first night, dining on an open upstairs balcony restaurant, made for a cautious walk home. Wonder how many cocktail initiated ankle twistings there have been over the years?
As with everywhere in Cuba, a walk down any street provides a glimpse into household life. All the houses open directly on to the pavement, usually with well secured large doors. As well, they all have large windows stretching from pavement level often to well above normal roof height. These windows do have shutters which are open during the day, there is no glass but are barred for security. Occasionally there is a curtain pulled across, but mostly the main living area is on full view. Invariably people are sitting watching the world go by, engaging in normal family life, or communing with passing friends or neighbours.
Warm greeting of friends is a big thing. Minimal would be a handshake, but a cheek kiss is a nice greeting no matter the age or gender of the friend. Young men greet each other with a cheek kiss for example but most strange to us is the cheek kiss greeting to work colleagues when you arrive for the day. Don’t think that will catch on back home any time soon.
We lunch one day in a small local restaurant close by. The food is tasty and inexpensive, unlike the Plaza Mayor experience. As with a few places, leaving your mark on the wall is part of the experience. Crayon is provided and chair standing on is encouraged in order to find a clear space. We add our mark to those from all round the world.
Most people know about kangaroos and one person even knew Skippy. We remembered we had some kangaroo photos from the trip to the Grampians. One man in particular in Remedios who had a small kangaroo on the back of his cap appeared to be quite overcome at seeing actual kangaroo photos.
Apart from the music, there are museums in Trinidad that are worth visiting just to experience what were once grand and palatial homes. Staff are sitting, sometimes dozing, throughout but the museum artefacts are often carelessly displayed and totally accessible if you were foolish enough to try to walk off with an item.
As with every place we visit, there are a list of attractions that are touted as a must see or do while in town. Another 3 hour horseback ride is an option, but the tag line of “..to swim in the waterfall.. if there is any water”, tends to make this a less attractive option.
Another excursion we more or less experienced coming in from the north on the back roads. So that left the beach, promoted as one of the best beaches on the south coast. Playa Ancon is indeed lovely, and we have now officially swum in the Caribbean, but the Las Gaviotas beach experience (Cayo Santa Maria out of Remedios) was much more stunning.
Nonetheless, the tourists are here in their droves. Being sensible Australians, we find a good spot under a huge shade tree. The minute we start to pack up for the day, some Europeans feeling a little cooked in the heat are taking our places in the shade.
A rough timber shack, source of great music, is the drinks venue. Very civilised.
After close to 8 weeks without a haircut, I am starting to feel a little shaggy. Most Cuban women I notice have long hair so I’m not too sure how this will go, but I figure the moment is upon me. Lidsey from the Casa phones her friend and we take a bicycle taxi down to the premises. The proprietress has short blonde hair that appears to be somewhat permed so that is a bit encouraging. She however is busy with a regular client so someone also has been called in to do my cut.
I get the plastic drape and after a 5 minute small snip off the ends at the back and a bit off the fringe, I am brushed down and the plastic removed. No, no, I insist. I want equal amounts cut off from all over. This is a novel thought for my cutter but she cheerfully obliges and back goes the plastic. Just one more interlude where I still have great lanks in some spots and I find a photo of myself that finally gives them all the right idea – because it has in fact by now become a community effort.
The final result is not too bad. Think it will see me through.
There is a famous coffee place in Trinidad called Don Pepe where everyone goes to sit in a tiny area under trees, wherever you can really. The coffee is good there but we find Cafe Tuti much closer to home and are hugely impressed with the richness and full flavoured coffee.
Someone has spent good money tastefully on this small bar and Cafe. The bartender is perfect as he prepares the coffee with an economy of movement that is beautiful to watch. It’s hard to draw a smile out of him, but by our third visit, I am rewarded as we just pay correct money and get up to leave, a sure sign of “regulars”. Also, I seem to have perfected my request for two cortados sufficiently that I don’t draw a quizzical eehhh? every time I open my mouth. Now I will just have to work out the espresso machiatos again when we return to Peru.