Beach Day in Tortuguilla
La Farola: The Lighthouse Road

May 7, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes: Ugh…Amanda set the alarm clock. It woke me up and I couldn’t see any light under the doorway, which means that it’s early. I somehow managed to delay the process of getting out of bed until after 7am though. We were on the road before 8am, despite knowing that it would be a short day today.

The terrain today was a lot different, definitely more like a desert now. Still lots of low hills, but today was more about riding along the coast, and then skirting in between the hills, instead of up and over them. I didn’t list it as a lowlight per se, but as we were riding along we heard the whining of a dog on the side of the road. Someone had hit him with their car/truck/horse/bike/skateboard and then moved him off the road so that he could expire. It’s just another way that animals are treated differently here I think. Dogs and cats aren’t pets, they are household animals, similar to chickens and goats, in that they are responsible for finding their own food, and then they have a job to do. Anyhow, Amanda and I have a running thing about how “inhumane” the treatment of animals can be at times. Naturally, I scoff at the idea because these are animals, not humans…but Amanda looks at me as we’re riding along and says:

Amanda: That’s so awful! If they took the time to move the dog off the side of the road, at least they could have put him out of his misery.
Andrew: With what!?
Amanda: I don’t know…a machete?!?
Andrew: Remind me never to let you know if I’m feeling “miserable”. I have a feeling you’d come at me with a machete.

We decided to skip out on the hotdog breakfast at the alohamiento, and instead planned to eat at the first big town we got to, San Antonio del Sur. There we sat in the shade, in the main square, munching on pizza, and then pots of ice cream, I tell ya, these Cubans live in a real utopia! Hotdogs, pizza, ice cream, pop..all here for the taking, and super-cheap! Good luck trying to find bacon and eggs though.

Just a bit further down the road we passed the Campismo at Yacobajo, but despite it looking really nice and clean and busy and whatnot, decided to push on another 10km to Imias where we heard there was also a campismo, and it would put us closer to the big climb we need to do tomorrow. It turns out that the “Casas de Descansar” (Houses of Rest) are right down a one-way road, with no signage except for the town of Playa Imias, and the place was deserted.

Well, not exactly deserted, but unless you knew about this place existing, you’d never think of coming here…except you should! It’s this cute municipal alojamiento (resort?) right on the Caribbean. The beach as palaces, there’s a bar and restaurant, and because it’s Thursday, we’re the only guests, so we had the whole place to ourselves.

All we wanted for lunch was just a ham sandwich, normally 5 pesos ($0.20CDN), except the guy told us there wasn’t any bread, but he could fry up some chicken or something for only $10CUC ($10USD). We then negotiated a price for dinner ($8CUC), and breakfast ($4CUC). The meals that we get when we pay in $CUC are amazing, I won’t lie, except they usually end up being way more food than we need, and they threaten our budget. Anyhow, a little while later the guy finds me on the beach and says he found some bread, and he made us some sandwiches, only $2CUC, still like 5x more than it would cost from a cafeteria, but whatever. The quality of the meat was better I guess, and it did come with a plate of tomatoes (considered a salad). All I want is to be treated like a Cuban when it comes to paying for stuff, and goddamnit, I keep getting treated like a gringo.

Of course I’m writing some of this after the fact, and for $8CUC Amanda and I were served more food than we could eat. Fried fish, tomatoes, rice, fried bananas, huge portions. It reminds me of something I heard someone in Mexico say, ”If I wanted leftovers, I would eat at home. Just serve me a regular sized plate, and charge me less”.

Oh geez, where was I..ok, so we roll up at this little resort, and after checking out our room, we hit the beach. The room is nothing smells funny, has two single foam beds, and the bathroom ends up being unusable because of a water leak. We got moved later to another cabin. It smelled funny. But for $10CUC, we get air conditioning, a fridge, TV, and access to a great beach with a palapa to sit under! We did just that, and as soon as I sat down, I was hit in the face with a blast of wind. A quick check with the wind meter registered it as 11-13 knots, just below the minimum amount that I need to get going.

I raced back to the cabin and grabbed my gear and got it all setup. First I pumped up the kite to see if it would hold air, after the multiple repairs to the bladder in Las Tunas. 30 minutes later, and it felt OK. The wind felt stronger too, if only in my mind. I launched the kite with Amandas’ help and started walking backwards up the beach. I had a pretty good hunch that I wouldn’t be able to go upwind with the kite, and the best I could hope for would be a few downwind attempts. My hunch was right, and 5 minutes of kitesurfing ensued, with everyone in the neighbourhood coming out to watch the crazy Canuck! I walked back up the beach and went again. I could tell that the wind was just not strong enough, so after 2 laps, I called it a day with a big grin on my face.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach reading, and did a little swimming with Amanda. ”We could be at work right now.”, Amanda remarked with a mischievious grin on her face.

Today’s Photographs

Beach Day in Tortuguilla
La Farola: The Lighthouse Road