Travel

Beautiful Cuba

Almost everyone I know is sick, including myself. So I thought that there’s no better time to share the images from my recent trip to Cuba.

I traveled with my best friend back in December and, though we are normally intense backpackers and can’t sit still for days on end, we found that we were so tired from our recent months of work and school (she is doing her PhD!) that we did not do much other than walk on the beach and drink cocktails.

Well, there was that one time we tried to go to Havana and it ended up being a slightly traumatizing experience that led us not to try again, on this trip at least. But, more on that in a second.

Cuba is truly beautiful. Both in nature and in people.

Though we didn’t wander far on this trip, we made several trips into the town of Varadero. If you get off the main touristy strip, you get more of a sense of Cuban life, though we were told it is still one of the better off towns in the country.

Old cars, old cars everywhere.

And this brings us to the story of how we attempted to travel to Havana. We decided to take a local bus as we love backpacking and slightly rougher travel than organized tours. On the morning of our trip, we asked our receptionist to call us a taxi an hour before our bus was to leave at 8am. The ride to the station was about 8 minutes. Twenty, thirty, forty minutes went by, nothing. No taxi in sight. We were starting to get frustrated. The hotel kept assuring us it’s on its way, but when the 50 minute mark came I asked them to call another company. There are hundreds, if not thousands of taxis in Varadero and the fact that not a single one arrived within 50 minutes was strange.

When a taxi finally arrived, we raced to the station. You have to understand, nothing in Cuba is on time. When people tell you a time, plan for it to happen later. So of all the things that don’t run on time in Cuba, you can imagine how heartbreaking it was to discover that buses do in fact run to the minute on schedule. We had missed it by 3 minutes.

After arranging to get a partial refund for our tickets, we started to make our way back to the hotel. We were tired and very frustrated and I was really truly very sad to think we wouldn’t see Havana.

As we talked about the possibility of maybe going on our last day, we hailed a cab – an old beat up turquoise 1950’s Chevy. Except it wasn’t a real taxi. The older driver seemed very friendly, but nowhere did it indicate that he was a real taxi driver. Having experience with many Latin American countries, we didn’t think much of it.

We told him our destination and our hearts started racing when he suddenly turned into a small street and started driving away from the direction of our hotel. We started telling him no es la direccion, adonde vamos? (“this isn’t the way, where are we going?)”, but to no effect.

We eventually started yelling bajanos! (“let us leave”), half scared, half laughing because we could not believe how crazy this morning was turning out to be. He did not stop. So we did what any normal person in a fake taxi going the wrong way would do: we jumped out of a moving car. A moving 1950’s Cuban Chevy to be precise.

And that is how we decided not to attempt to go to Havana again for the rest of our trip.

My favourite flower ever: the bougainvillea.

One day we discovered tons of old coral that had washed up on shore.

Me getting the above picture – I got petrol oil all over me from lying down in the seaweed :)

Palm trees are spectacular.

I hope you enjoyed this little recap of the trip!

Previous post

Hamilton Greek Orthodox Wedding: Anna Maria & Duy

Next post

Sweet Autumn Wedding Preview

4 Comments

  1. January 17, 2014 at 10:55 am — Reply

    OMG What happened after you jumped out of that “taxi”?!!! That’s just wild…glad you guys are ok though! What a morning indeed!

    • January 23, 2014 at 12:25 pm — Reply

      We laughed hysterically because we couldn’t believe it. We actually filmed ourselves right before and after because I did a vlog from Cuba, it’s fun to have that memory on film.

  2. Aline
    January 23, 2014 at 7:52 pm — Reply

    Beautiful pictures Barbara!

    Rule #1 when traveling in latin countries, NEVER get into a hailed taxi, always call (or have someone else call) the taxi company directly. That goes for my native mexico too!

    Scary! —glad you’re safe

    • January 24, 2014 at 1:30 am — Reply

      Thank you Aline! I didn’t know you were born in Mexico! From my experience that is true, especially Mexico and Peru, but Cuba is known to be very safe for tourists. You just have to get in a real taxi, not a random guy’s car haha. I think we learned our lesson.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *