Cuban Showers, Lobsters and a Super MoonMarch 9, 2020 in Cuba ⋅ 🌙 23 °C
I suppose I could have claimed that I had planned it that way, however that would have been a bit of a lie. The truth is that it was just one of those glorious coincidences that often seem to happen during travel.
We had been told that we were being taken to a lovely rooftop restaurant in old Havana. That was all we knew. At 7 pm out bus collected us from the hotel and took us back to the now familiar centre of the city. A short walk took us to the selected restaurant, followed by a challenging climb up several flights of stairs on a very narrow and very steep staircase.
We emerged on the very top of the building where a long table had been prepared for us. Soon we were happily chatting away when I noticed the clouds part to reveal a glorious full moon. There was something magical about seeing a huge full moon over the rooftops of such a famous city. It was only later that I learned that the moon really WAS special - it was one of those "super moons" that only occur at certain times when the moon is closer than usual to the earth.
The meal itself was also rather special. I chose the "number 7", which was a full seafood spectacular. complete with prawns and a huge lobster tail. It was the best meal I had eaten since arriving in Cuba. I had heard a lot about Cuban lobsters, but this was my first chance to actually taste it for myself.
This I awoke to some good news and some bad news. The good news was that the howling wind that had almost blown us off the island yesterday had slightly abated. The bad news was that it had been replaced by a succession of light passing showers. It always seems that every extended ride is accompanied by at least one wet day, and it looked like toady was going to be that day.
While I don't mind getting slightly damp, the thought of being saturated right down to my shoes did not have much appeal. Before we actually began the ride we were transported to an elevated location near a giant statue of Jesus. The thing that makes this statue someone special is that it was created by a woman.
We unpacked the bikes and donned our wet weather gear. The first stop was a nearby display of old military items from the cold war days. It also included the remains of the US spy plane famously shot down during the missile crisis. We also created something of another international incident when several of our team (including me) accidentally climbed onto the sacred military monument and were chastised by the angry guard.
The next hour or so alternated between showers and sunshine. When the sun did appear, the humidity shot up and we were soon sweating away inside our jackets. The rain did eventually disappear completely and we were able to dispense with the coats.
One of the biggest hazards of cycling in Cuba is not the risk of being run over by a car, as the drivers are generally very courteous and give us a wide berth. The real danger is that of being asphyxiated by a lungful of noxious black smoke from the ancient vehicles. I suspect that some of them have not had an oil change in decades and the fumes really are nauseating.
After riding for a considerable distance along a busy highway, we were relieved when we finally turned off onto a much quieter road. This gave us our first real experience with rural Cuba. Several old horse drawn carts passed by. Numerous "holas" were exchanged in greeting. Our riders were in high spirits and thoroughly enjoying being out of the traffic.
Our destination for the morning was an organic farm, that was well known for the innovative ways that they raised a wide variety of crops, fruits and livestock. It really was fascinating and the lunch they served was wonderful. The highlight was a whole pig that they had prepared for us, complete with crackling ! I could not help but return for seconds.
Later in the afternoon we were taken back into Havana for a Salsa Class. This was conducted on a rooftop terrace, complete with loud music and a collection of Cuban dancer partners. For a shy introvert like myself, this was about as much fun as a visit to the all night dentist. I was happy to sit and guard the bags while the rest of the group hopped and gyrated around.
This evening some of the group went to a show in the old town, while the rest did their own thing. Tomorrow morning we will be checking out of this fine old hotel and moving on to the next leg of our adventure.Read more