Cuba Stories and Tips

Day 11 / Ciego de Avila and Morón

Cuba: <i>Finalmente</i>, Finally Photo, Cuba, Caribbean

The next morning Señor Armando, probably with a painful hangover, walked us to the bus station to catch our bus to Ciego de Avila. We arrived by noon and were solicited by taxi drivers as soon as we got off the bus. We wanted to arrange our bus back to Havana for the night of January 1, 2004 and because it's a smaller town and we wanted to make sure that important business was taken care of as soon as possible. An Astro Bus clerk told us he could sell us Viazul Bus tickets, the preferred bus company for tourists. We followed him to his office even though the whole business seemed shady. We were only able to buy one ticket back to Havana. The only explanation we got was that seat availability on the bus coming back from Santiago de Cuba and heading to Havana could only be determined the moment the bus arrived at the station. There was only one ticket available, but we took it anyway. We decided that we would have to be back at this station a few hours before the scheduled bus to try and board the bus back to Havana together.

It was a bad start for a new town. We gave the address of Señora Noris' house to our cab driver and checked in an hour and a half later. Señora Noris' family was the least energetic of all the families we've stayed with. We weren't sure if it's because they were just less friendly at the first meeting or if Morón is really just a sleepy town compared to Trinidad. By the time we unpacked, we were all alone with Señora Noris' daughter.

We walked to the first dollar store we could find to buy pasta, sauce, and canned meat for spaghetti. We walked around the town and realized that we should have stayed in Trinidad. Morón really didn't have much to offer except for the convenience of being close to a different set of cays. Stores were mostly closed because it was the day before New Year's Eve. We felt like the only tourists walking around. What saved our afternoon was the lechon lady by the plaza who sold roasted pork sandwiches for less than US$1 each.

Through a mix up in communication, we found ourselves having to head back out to town for dinner. Señora Noris later explained that her daughter thought we just didn't want to eat in the house, so they didn't bother asking us if we were interested in eating there. She directed us to walk back to the town center where we would find Paradiso Palmeras, the one restaurant that's probably open after 9pm.

We did and felt like we found a gem. They had all kinds of food on the menu. We ended up ordering two soups, two meals, two beers and an ice cream all for US$7. There was an Italian family eating at the next table and a big German group close to us who all looked like they've been going to this one restaurant for the past few days. All the waiters knew them and served them like they were their best customers. Our waiter was originally from Barbados and talked to us about being in Cuba.

We were sure that Señora Noris is a nice enough lady. But I guess we had just been spoiled by the other families we had met so far. We needed some sort of icebreaker to soften up this family. And it only came during our last night's stay.

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