Final Day

Trip Start Jan 16, 2007
Trip End Mar 01, 2007

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Flag of Cuba  ,
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tuesday is our best day in Havana. We're out early and back for a siesta before the early afternoon heat. Cuba's a great country for kids, with its languid tempo. Our destination this morning is the Capitolio Nacional, a vast domed structure many times the size and much more opulent than the BC Legislature back home where Julie works. Amongst all the 2-storey mahogany libraries and senate chambers with their elaborate rococo ceilings, we locate an air-conditioned (AC) Internet room.

I hog all but four minutes of the hour transcribing my journal -- at 5 CUC per hour, it could be that my tendency to gab will be overcome by my innate stinginess. Time will tell. I just finished Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea last night. I'm sure many would welcome me emulating his concise style. I'll see what I can do :) Poor Julie barely has time to write a quick note to her mom as the red time-bar sinks through a countdown of the last minute.

After stumbling through a Spanish tour of the building, gawking at the vast Italianate marble floors and towering bronze statue of the republic, we head out into the gathering heat. Centro Habana streets run along a compass grid for the most part, so midday walks on the east-west roads offer cool shade, but going north, the sun is inescapable. With a 5-month-old, we tend to flit between pieces of shadow. The Prado is the saving grace here, with its trees and smooth walkway.

We do a few abortive strikes at restaurants but surrender to the sun, grab pastries from our stalwart French bakery (chocolate croissants for 60 centavos each), and retreat to our cooler room and terrace for three hours. It's a sign of how much we've adapted that after lunch Lucy reads and plays by herself while the rest of us sleep, then puts herself down for a siesta. Julie and I get to sit at the patio drinking cervezas without the kidlets, our first relaxed moment alone together this trip.

Our room is situated such that there is always shade on much of the patio, so our room stays cool until mid afternoon. But by 4 p.m., all the city's concrete is heated and the AC is a blessing until early morning.

We score the best find of the trip so far in the afternoon-- a peso cremeria where we eat double-scoops of ice cream (chocolate for the girls, naranja-pina for me) from silver platters and sip local colas, all for 34 pesos--less than $2 CDN. We loop past Harris Brothers on our way home for dinner. With a week of Cuba under our belts, we have a comfortable exploration through all the display counters, and Julie orders all the snacks for our 6-hour trip to Trinidad tomorrow.

We've arranged to leave bags at the casa while we head out to Trinidad and possibly beyond, so we spend the evening separating out 17 days of supplies. Even with 100 diapers in my pack, we get down to the two bags and one daypack, so this will be much lighter. We're also leaving behind Jonathan's car seat and stroller attachment, so will only have the umbrella stroller to push.
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