On the next day, we head to Trinidad, which is one of the best preserved cities in the Caribbean, from the time when the sugar trade was the main industry in the region and is under the auspices of UNESCO. While we are searching for a place to park the van, a guy with a sign "official parking" comes to us and tells us to park next to the near pavement, for some pesos, of course.
The city center is made up of small cobble streets with low buildings, most of which are freshly and vividly painted and have wrought iron bars. On the main square, one old man with cowboy hat and a donkey with a sing on its head – photo for 0.50 peso, wait for customers. Soon, a tourist comes and mounts the poor animal for an unforgettable photo session with the local Sancho Panza and Rucio. Don Quixote and Rossinant are gone, most probably are transporting drugs somewhere in Latin America, since it's more profitable.
|Sancho Panza, Rucio and an unknown Dulcinea|
Spidermuchacho and his victim, who voluntarily tied himself for the leg, so that he can't run away.
|Friends above all|
|Stevie Wonder and his friends|
As we walk around the streets, a door opens just in front of us and a crying kid and his chasing mother show up. She gives up chasing him or having already slapped him, goes inside the house. The little boy realizing that he has urgent need, drops his pants down, sticks his body out and takes a leak from the house door, directly on the street.
|In the church|
|In the shade|
Many people keep offering us cigars in the shady streets. As we all are fed up with that sort of deals, we start to counterattack them by offering them Upsarin (a medicine used for headaches, high temperature, flu, etc.), which catches the quasi businessmen off guard and they back off. We manage to have a look at the interior of some houses through their open windows and doors. Actually, most of the houses don't have windows with glasses, just wooden covers, which are open for ventilation.
|The small streets|
|At the bakery|
We head back to the center plaza and next to the church we find an old red Chevrolet convertible from the 50's. It is decorated with balloons and a girl in an extravagant red dress is occupying the back seats. Osmel tells us that the occasion for this festivity is her becoming 15 years old, or Quinceañera, girl turning into a woman.
While we pass around the garden at the central plaza, a small girl looks at me with interest and I decide to take a picture of her by using skillfully the auto program of my camera. Thankfully, she is not corrupted by the local peso fever and does not want anything for the photos.
|Cuban youth 1|
|Cuban youth 2|
|Tiger in the sun|
We return to Cienfuegos and go for a walk on the quay. As we are walking, I notice a fisherman in a boat in the sea and on the pier a woman shouts something at him. I decide to help them and start giving instruction in English. Inspired by the stories of Cubans who used whatever they got to reach the comparatively close beach of Miami, I start with the question if they are trying to get to Miami. With no reply from them, I accept the silence for a positive answer and continue: "This is the wrong way. You have to go to the other side of the island, to Varadero (using the just learnt Spanish pronunciation). And from Varadero you go by your boat and try to reach the Miami coast." We all start laughing. In the next moment, the woman on the pier shouts "Varadero" to the man in the boat. That, of course, make us laugh even more and leads to the joint "Good one", addressed to me.
On the next day we head to Varadero, where we say goodbye to Osmel, give him the van and relax on the beach the remaining two days.
For the last time on the beach
Our adventure ends where it started.
Advices for good time:
1. Learn decent Spanish, if you don't know it.
2. Learn the local dance.
3. Use the learned from 1. and 2. and mingle with the locals.
4. Meander on Malekon at sunset and visit Jesus on the hill.
5. If you find nice Mojitos and Cuba Libres, order as many as you can drink, they are rare.
6. Write down your impressions right away, you will forget them later.
7. Visit the Mogote valley.
8. Whatever happens, have fun …
... and don't forget your ear plugs.
Goodbye, so pleasant Cuban obscurity, it is time to go back to the Bulgarian reality that no matter how unpleasant can be at certain times, now I am looking forward to see with eagerness.