Our clothes are in a tree....a mango tree.

Trip Start May 01, 2008
Trip End May 11, 2008

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Flag of Cuba  ,
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

We had a rough night, and Ross has definitely got some sort of stomach bug.  We ate a delicious breakfast though and both of us started to feel a bit better.  We got packed up and headed for the new casa (back to Maruchi's place from last night.)  However, as we were paying our bill, our landlady tried to charge us only 3 CUC per person for dinner - completely outrageous! She made us a three-course meal at 10pm!  We made sure to tip her very well on the way out - talk about hospitable!

We headed back to Maruchi's place.  It's completely fantastic.  There are two main sitting areas for the guests - one is more of an eating area, and the other has rocking chairs set up.  There's a fountain, a bird, a cat, a dog, goldfish, and a turtle, and dozens of plants.  It's cool and shaded and a lovely place to hang out.  Our room was perfect as well - a big queen sized bed with a brass frame and an antique wardrobe and dressing table, plus a single bed.  It had a big, clean and well-appointed private bathroom and an airconditioner (vintage 70's Soviet one at that, with all the writing in cyrillic!).  All that for 25CUC and 3CUC per person for breakfast.

After some language difficulties we managed to get our clothes cleaned and headed out to explore Santiago. It was increadibly hot - at least 40, then the humidity on top of that! We headed over to Cubatur to figure out when/if the train was running, but they didn't know anything, so we opted for coffee at the Hotel Granda right in the main square.  It had the best patio in the city and was very popular with tourists, but had great espresso!

We decided to go to the source for information on the train, so cabbed over to the train station.  After some serious language trouble (or maybe cultural?) we figured out that the train was only running during the day on Wednesday, andthat was the only special service for the week.  It was pretty weird and I had a hard time believing that to be the case.  We took our cab over to the Hotel Santiago de Cuba where we knew there was internet and good pizza. 

At the hotel, we got online for a bit, then had pizza at their pizza parlour called pizza Nova - it was fantastic, and not an ounce of fish on it. (I've eaten a lot of fish...) We decided to walk back towards the central square - it seemed to be about 1.5 km away...

Somehow we managed to get right lost.  At one point (after walking about 40 minutes) we stated asking people how to get back to the central square, and they just looked at us like we were crazy!  Also, I'm pretty sure that there were cabs following us waiting for us to crack and get in - the heat was soooo intense! Lesson learned: don't wander the streets of Santiago de Cuba in the midday sun.  HOT!  (As Ross would say, only mad dogs and englishmen go out in the midday sun....)

We finally found our casa and after lying in a heat and dehydration-enduced stupor recovered our faculties for some reading and writing in the lovely courtyard.  We also noticed that our clean clothes were drying in the mango tree in the courtyard - very cute. 

In the evening, we ate a delicious dinner at our casa (fish and soup and cake!) and then went out to listen to some music and have a drink.  Nice evening in general, although it came to a quick end because neither of us were feeling super great, and the heat had pretty much wiped us out. 
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