A Long Night on the Loser Cruiser
Livin' La Vida Boca

May 18, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes: So where were we? Oh yes, it was a dark, and stormy night…except it wasn’t stormy. It was dark though. Despite having heard that the air conditioning on these buses worked overtime, I found it really hot. I slept fitfully, dozing off and on for the several hours it took to get to Sancti Spiritus. I was worried the whole time that we would sleep through our stop and wind up in La Habana. I guess there are worse things; like having mango stuck in your teeth.

Upon arriving in Sancti Spiritus at 0630, the sun was just creeping over the horizon, but it was hopping at the bus terminal. I guess there aren’t porters here in Cuba, and the bus driver didn’t seem to keen to help me drag 200lbs of bicycles and gear out from under his bus, but I did. Then Amanda and I set to work putting everything back together again. Finally we rode into town, with food on the brain, and finding a place to sleep for the day/night.

We passed several Casa Particular on the ride into town, but Amanda knew that there was a really nice historic “centro” and so we headed towards it. Along the way we stopped at a cafeteria for some egg sandwiches and coffee. This particular cafeteria was the barred window of someones house. The owner disappeared into the kitchen to make our eggs while a lineup of people formed outside all wanting just coffee. Meanwhile, all around us, Sancti Spiritus was waking up. It’s Monday morning, time to go to work!

After breakfast we rode for another few blocks and then reached Parque Sarafin Sanchez. This giant square really stood out for me because of it’s colour, and attitude. Even though it was early, people were already sitting and enjoying food with friends, getting ready for their day. We got hassled by some policemen about parking our bicycles on the sidewalk which was annoying, but it’s Cuba; bikes belong on the street! Amanda waited with the bicycles while I went off in search of a Casa Particular.

We could see 3 of them ringed around the park. The first one I went to, there was no answer at the door. I figured it’s 7am, maybe they are sleeping. The next one I tried was Hostal La Ninfa, and Mikael opened the door and ushered me right in. The Casa has three rooms, and a narrow garden/patio to sit and enjoy fresh air. For where it is in the city, it’s quite nice, and very quiet. I went back and got Amanda and our gear, and we set to getting everything inside, which in some places can be problematic. Once everything was stowed, Mikael offered us breakfast, but we settled for some fruit and coffee. Then we were left to our own devices.

This meant a nice walk around the heart of the city, taking in the sights. Surprisingly, we came upon a group of people in a park doing “Tai Chi”, and remembering how much my Mom enjoys it, I decided to give it a try. After 20 minutes, I felt nicely stretched, and relaxed. Looking behind me, Amanda was right there taking part too! We wrapped up our walk with a stroll along a boulevard lined with shops where we bought some water, and a couple of pina coladas – 5 pesos each ($0.20CDN). Yes, at 10am, there is a guy who sells mixed cocktails from the front window of his house. They were yummy!

Getting back to the Casa, we collapsed into bed for a nap. When I woke up, we went next door to an Italian restaurant where we had some of the finest spaghetti and pizza we’ve enjoyed in Cuba. Then it was back to the Casa where we sat around reading and playing cards. I had joked to Mikael that I would love a cigar, and a short while later he handed me five of them, that he had bought for a whopping 1 peso each ($0.05CDN). Amanda and I had also bought our first bottle of rum today, and we sat playing cards, smoking cigars, and enjoying rum mixed with fruit juice. All in all, it was a rough day. I hope it gets better tomorrow.

Today’s Photographs

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A Long Night on the Loser Cruiser
Livin' La Vida Boca