Our first stop is La Floridita Bar, where Papa Hemingway's bronze statue still holds a sacred spot. With the double currencies of the Cuban Peso, generally for the locals, and the C.U.C. or Convertible Dollar, mainly set up for the tourist trade and luxury items (like say, toothpaste or moisturizer), it is difficult to get a handle on how this complex economy actually works. The Cubans also get ration coupons from the government to buy basic necessities. This tends to mean standing in long lineups for chicken or a tin of peanut butter in shops that have mostly empty shelves. But the people are patient and cheerful and spend their time chatting in the queue or arranging their next crafty business deal.
We hooked up with two lovely Aussie's and rode our bikes to the beautiful beaches of Playa Ancon on the coast.
|Our Aussie travelling friends, Carolina and Cam|
On our trip home we are amazed to find the six lane highway, built by the Russians during the Cold War, virtually empty of traffic except for a few trucks and tour buses, and the odd horse and carriage ambling along. A vision of an L.A. freeway flits across my mind, and I wonder once again if perhaps there is another, simpler world out there? Time to stop and smell the coffee.
|Elisa, Coo-kie and Cathy at Salsa Night|