Making it to Manzanillo
Wind from the back is where it's at!

April 23, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes:
We actually ended up spending 2 rest days in Manzanillo. On the first rest day, we took a horse-drawn carriage (like you see in the pictures) about 5km down the road to the village of San Francisco; here they have the Crocodile Zoo.

Ok, so first the horse ride. Our driver was Eloy, and his emaciated horse was named Mariachi. The ride took about an hour, and we ended up going a less-direct route, that was less hilly for the horse. The ride was quite bumpy, and it was interesting travelling about 3 times slower than we would on a bike. It was nice though; the breeze, the clip clop of hoofs, I played my harmonica for a bit, just taking it easy. When Eloy had to stop to give Mariachi a break, I said, “No problem! I ain’t got no place to be!”.

Before going to the crocodile farm, I set really low expectations. Nothing in Cuba has blown my socks off. Yet, the crocodiles were pretty cool. The “farm” or “zoo” is a preserve. They have about 10,000 crocodiles there right now, spread out over a few acres in different sized pools, or corrals. We had a girl guiding us, who knew a few words of english, and then there was Mario, who was there for our security.
Me: So if the crocodiles are going to eat anyone, they will eat you first, and then us?
Mario: Si, señor.

There were so many crocs, big and small. It was really cool that between Amanda and I, we had enough vocabulary to ask lots of questions and we understood a lot of the answers. When we were done, we hopped on our bikes and rode back to Manzanillo.

On the way back, we did some exploring. I was drawn down towards the ocean, to see if I could find a place to launch and fly the kite. There were a couple of iffy spots, but nothing that looked safe enough to try. While we were checking it out, I was able to talk to, and then help some fishermen bring their boat in off the water. They put it onto a little handcart, and then rolled it home. That’s pretty neat!

Amanda really needed some rest and recovery time, since she picked up some sort of illness. We spent most of the third day inside our air-conditioned room at the Casa Particular. We did venture out twice, once in the morning to explore the shopping area, and again in the afternoon to find some food for dinner. While we were out looking for dinner, we noticed a “pack” of 5 gringo twenty somethings trying to find food too. They really stood out from the crowd in their clothes, and mannerisms. I found myself staring at them, probably the same way that everyone here stares at us!

Early to bed tonight, we’re going to try and ride 75km tomorrow, and hopefully Amanda is feeling better.

Amanda writes:
Our first planned rest day was nice. I really enjoyed sleeping in until 8:30. Andrew ventured into town a few blocks to the bank and I stayed at our casa reading a book as I wasn’t feeling well. After lunch we went to the crocodile farm as Andrew said. It was pretty fascinating. As we were riding in the horse drawn cart my sneezing really picked up. I wasn’t feeling spectacular to start the day and it just got worse.

By the time we were done our tour at the zoo I was leaking from my nose, mouth and eyes; sneezing endlessly. By the time we got back to our casa I was feeling down right rotten. Andrew asked me if I thought I could do 75k tomorrow and I really didn’t know. By the time we got back from the farm I was exhausted. We decided we would take an additional rest day because it was too risky to only make it part way based on our previous camping experience.

The weird thing is I felt terrible about taking a sick day! It’s my life and my decisions and I had total support of Andrew. I guess it takes time to lose that tendency of feeling bad about not being able to do what was planned. It’s 9pm now and while I don’t feel 100% we’re going to give it a go. I was able to walk into town a few blocks today for lunch without feeling completely exhausted.

Andrew was a great sport. I know deep down he wanted to try kite surfing and I’m really glad he decided not to. The area here scared me so much because there was so much uncertainty. We don’t know the area, the tides, what’s in the water and I worry about it. I’m just grateful that he decided to wait until we get to a more secure area.

Today’s Photographs

Making it to Manzanillo
Wind from the back is where it's at!