June 13, 2015
Start point: Guanabo, Mayabeque
Destination: Cayo Coco (via Moron, Ciego de Avila)
5:09 time, 70.6 trip, 14.0 km/h average speed
We set out from Guanabo for Havana in the afternoon, since we had booked tickets for the night bus towards Ciego de Avila. Cycling into Havana proved tricky as the afternoon traffic was less like Cuba, and more like it would be in a North American big city; aggressive! Amanda almost got side-swiped by a blue Lada at one point, and I think it is the only time in the last two months that I felt somewhat unsafe on the roads.
We arrived at the Viazul terminal around 5pm, and it was hot and humid inside. Amanda and I took turns going outside for fresh air, while the other one stayed inside to watch the bikes. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to check any of our bags until 11:30pm. When it did come time to check-in, we found out that we were limited to 20kg each. We ended up having to pay an extra $4 for our bags, plus $3CUC for each bike. For some reason, I lost it on the baggage attendant. I’m not sure why I got so upset. I think it’s because everyone seems to try and milk every last dollar out of us, as foreigners. The baggage guy was pretty non-plussed about the whole thing, adopting what I consider the Cuban Customer Service policy, “Take it or leave it”. So I paid the $10, and we were on our way – 2 hours late.
The bus ride to Ciego de Avila seemed really bumpy. Amanda and I ended up in separate seats. As a result, we ended up snuggling up with some strangers since the A/C was on overdrive. I figure I got a solid 4hrs of sleep on the 7-hour journey. Arriving in CdA, everything seemed familiar. Even though it was 9 weeks previous that we were here last, it felt invigorating to be riding on the same streets again. We grabbed a cheap breakfast from a cafeteria, and then set out on the highway north towards Moron, where we had reserved at Hostal Natasha, the same Casa that we had started out in way back when.
There was a little bit of headwind on the ride north, but it wasn’t too bad. Arriving in Moron, again the overwhelming feeling of familiarity came over me. This is my kind of Cuba! Bicycles rule the roost on these roads, and horse-carriages. Cars are few and far between. Food is half the price from what we were paying in Havana and Guanabo. People seemed friendlier. We spent most of the day napping at the Casa.
A error when we made our bus reservation left us with an extra day before our flight home. We spent some time re-packing all of our bags, and checking that the rice bags for our bikes fit. We relaxed in the hammock. We enjoyed a couple of draft beers from the place across the street. This extra day in Moron really allowed us to be stress-free for our trip back to Canada.
In the morning, we grabbed a quick bite from across the street, said our goodbye to Natasha and Gustavo, and hopped in a Cuban Classic taxi, one of those 1950 something sedans. We tied the bikes to the roof and tossed our bags into the trunk and set off for Cayo Coco. It was pretty windy, and I tried to convince the driver (and Amanda) to pull over on the causeway so I could go kitesurfing for a little bit. Sadly my request was turned down, and we arrived at the airport way, way early for our flight.
Amanda bike bag had torn apart while it was on the roof, so I spent some time with duct-tape putting it back together again. All of our extra baggage/overweight fees were waived by WestJet which was great of them. Then we got on the place.
Hasta la vista Cuba!