The third cuban instalment...

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Cuba  ,
Monday, January 22, 2007

Two strange yellow vehicles zip past a horse and carriage clip-clopping along the road to Playa Ancon; the occupants of the bizarre, domey, almost helmet shaped machines of death singing a tribute to their new favourite mode of transport. Two young locals in the back of the carriage listen in, amused, as the song of "Ay-ay-ya coco taxi, ay-ay-ya coco taxi" fades into the glare beyond. From inside one of the two person cocos, an aussie with stupid glasses ponders the phrase "ay-ay-ya coco taxi", concludes that a truer word has never been spoken, and reflects on a day spend in the sun. Unfrotunately, for him at least, the World Trip of the Devil of the Death from Hell has left his mind in a condition where it can no longer construct complete sentences that make any sense whatsoever chicken tables blue at neverafter. Hence, his mind processed the day as follows:
"playa Ancon Powdery sand Dude brings us cocktails Mojito it up Volleyball domination The sun's fucking hot The water's wonderfullly refreshing That dude keeps bringins cocktails Italian chicks are hot So relaxing Ay-ay-ya coco taxi".

The sun was extremely fucking hot. Indeed, the day in the sun made Ro and Mel look delightfully tasty - their wonderful new sunburn reminding me of the delicious lobster we had the night before... In my exceptional maturity, I liked to call them 'lob lob'. The seafood in Trinidad was magnificent. And so damn cheap. If you go to the right places. As you struggle to walk along the bumpy cobblestones of Trinidad's centro historico, contemplating the menus of the city's more officialestablishments, women from all angles accost you with promises of fantastic cuban seafood in their little, illegal backyard restaurants.
"Do you have lobster? Prawns?"
"Yep. $5."
"Do it..."
Dining in these unofficial paladars has been one of the highlights of Cuba - not only the food but the hospitality and unreserved friendliness of almost everyone associated with them. Lobster it up...

Trinidad is beautiful. Purely aesthetically speaking, moreso than anywhere else we've visited in Cuba. In the centro historico, the streets are awash with colour - the entire spectrum represented in a 100m stretch of shining buildings, all immaculately restored thanks largely to money from trinidad's UNESCO heritage listing. Although tarnished slightly by the constant haggle of the ever-aggressive touts and the loads of tour buses clogging the street, Trinidad is a place that, at least in my mind, remains ever beautiful and alive - the beats of cuban rhythm ringing out abolustely everywhere - the "week of culture" in which we were in Trinidad further lifting the vivacious atmosphere of the town: open air concerts and dancing in the street; street food galore including pork sandwiches carved straight from the whole pig; markets markets markets on crazy street - scenes that encapsulate the joyous, carefree nature that Cubans are famous for...

This trip in Cuba has concluded so quickly - a dense cultural fiesta leaving me enlightened and confused. So many questions remain unanswered - what is to come for this country at the centre of so much controversy? Is the word on the street that Fidel is already dead true?  Can socialism survive in the inevitable post-Fidel future - especially given the already growing attraction to capitalism?  Whatever the answers, whatever the future, Cuba has left a lasting impression on me. My parting message - Cuba is wicked. Go there...

So - to the Top 5.  Propaganda is everywhere in Cuba.  As expected really.  In the press; on the sides of buses; on the buildings scattered all over the cities.  But the place where the propoganda was most evidence to me was roadside on journeys between the cities.  Mural after mural, sometimes 10 or 20 messages in a row, of the single political line that Cubans have endured for almost half a century.  They speak volumes.  Here are the top 5 examples of the propaganda seen on the side of the road that encapsulate the political situation in Cuba:
5.  ˇFidel is Cuba!
4.  ˇThe revolucion is freedom!
3.  ˇSocialism or death!
2.  ˇYou are alive because of the revolution!
1.  ˇThe USA is the enemy!  ˇThe USA is a terrorist!
The Cuban dream is over.  It's time for another taco.  Mexico it up...
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