Day 3: Internet Lineups, $.12 coffee, Street Pizza, and the Magical Casa Network
We take the Internet for granted. Most Cubans do not have wifi in their homes. They wait in line at the Telecommunicacion Center in town to buy an internet card (about $1 for an hour). Then they login with a whole series of numbers and a password. I bought an internet card, which entailed me handing them a passport and they documented it very carefully. I also discovered that the wifi zone operates during business hours. When it’s closed, so is the wifi. Using cell data here is totally unreliable.
Randy wandered into an establishment to buy coffee. No cream. No options. Just coffee. (No biscotti, no cookies.) Okay. We hand over pesos. We do the math and it works out to $.12 for the coffee. Not bad!
Cuban fast-food = street pizza. And it’s cheap!! We each ate one, and had two glasses of fresh squeezed papaya juice. Total: $.70 cents. (Yes, for both of us).
There is a well-connected network of Casa operators here. They all know someone in the next town and are more than happy to call ahead to arrange our next destination. We rolled into Mayari and found no street names, despite having an address. We roll up and down some streets looking for anywhere to stay cuz it was hot and we are tired. Suddenly we hear, “Anita! Anita!” our host Marcia from the previous evening had arranged a Casa for us. Sonya was magically calling out to us on the street like a little angel! We have a beautiful Casa for two days. Within minutes we had fresh papaya juice in hand and I downed two BIG glasses.
We happened across two Canadians who we had spotted the day before in Banes and they’d spotted us too. They are cycle touring around Cuba for more than 6 weeks with their two children (I think 14 and 10), homeschooling along the way. We met for dinner in Cuban restaurant and exchange travel stories. They had also noticed the restaurants with no food yesterday. I, unable to summon up an appetite had to depart dinner, feeling very much “off”. Randy stayed for dinner with our new friends.
P.S. the wonderful adventurous relationship I was having with food came to a screeching halt in the evening. Let’s just say that I am feeling violently dehydrated. ‘Nuff said! From here on, we’ll refer to it as The Episode.
Day 4: “The Episode”
Today was a scheduled non-cycling day, and for that I am happy. And for our host Sonja I am grateful. Apparently she is a doctor and upon learning I was not well she gave me some elixir and some easy to digest food then later checked on me. After some conversation we came to a conclusion. She said never Ever EVER drink the juice they make at those roadside pizza stands. Don’t I know it!