When the cycling portion of our trip ended on Thursday we packed a few items and headed to the white sandy beaches of Guardalavaca and loafed on the beach, floated in the water, and got our fill of pizza and ice cream. A perfect way to finish our Cuban Adventure.
We lingered with local people and struck up some good substantive conversations with a few locals about all things Cuba. We talked politics, food shortages, disparity, and the constitutional referendum that happened yesterday. Talk to a Cuban journalist and you are in for some great insights into life on the island!
Last night we hung around the town square in Holguin. There were people in the street everywhere and it felt like a festive atmosphere likely due to Referendum Day. The referendum is a big deal here, and people & conversation filled the air.
As we wait for our big blue taxi to come a take us to the airport we are hoping he will bring ropes this time to secure the bike boxes on top of the car. For the transfer from one Casa to another the other day he just threw them on top, sans ropes, and insisted “all was ok, he’ll drive carefully.” Speaking of taxis, while we were taking ours back to Holguin yesterday the driver slowed to a stop at a punto control (check point). At first we were a little concerned that maybe we would be required to produce passports to the armed guard who approached the car. Instead, the guard proceeded to hop into the car, hitching a ride with us to Holguin. Hola’s were exchanged and then Randy and I both silently reflected. Yep—things operate differently here in Cuba. Vacancies in moving automobiles are inherently expected to be offered up to others. And we are ok with it.
At the beach yesterday we were situated beside a Cuban man and his son, loafing just like we were. His son had been quietly asking his Dad if he knew where we were from. That was our conversation starter. We talked a lot, exchanged philosophical views, and it felt like we’d made new friends by afternoon’s end. Dad worked at a cafe in Holguin called Begonia near the town square so this morning we choose to sip cappuccino at Begonia. He spotted us there and big giant smiles ensued. We were all happy.
We have learned to accept all that Cuba is. Much of it is broken or dysfunctional, mysteries still remain unsolved, and it’s a fascinating study of humanity, resilience of people, resourcefulness, and living in a society where everything has its surface appearance but is multi-layered. When you have the privilege of seeing under a few of those layers you become drawn in. And the more drawn in, the more you want to see. Next stop: Toronto. Ciao, amigos!