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Viva Cuba!! Part 3
Day 243 to 257 : 24 Mar to 07 Apr 2011

Medellin - La Habana - Vinales - Trinidad - Cienfuegos - Santa Clara - La Habana - Medellin
30,205km

02 APR 2011 (Sat): The city of Che, Santa Clara, then back to La Habana

We were thinking to stay a night in Santa Clara, but it seemed like there wasn't much to see except Che Guevara Mausoleum (Mausoleo Che Guevara). And Mausoleum is far away from teh city. So we decided to visit Mausoleum and then go back to La Habana on the same day.

The bus terminal of Cienfuegos is located a little far away from Centro and it was shabby. It was our first ride on Viazul bus and the bus was really old and beaten up. It looked like the axle was not straight and the ride was very rough. The make was Yutong as usual, but I could see huge differnce between the modern Yutong and the old Yutong. Chinese manufacturing has been improved very far in these 10 years or so.

There was another Japanese backpacker on the bus. His name was Junya. He also was planning to visit Mausoleum and go back to La Habana, so he joined us.

Once we arrived at the bus terminal of Santa Clara, we checked the time table of the bus to La Habana. The earliest bus leaving in the afternoon would be 5pm. It would arrive La Habana at 9pm or later. The fare was 18CUCs per person. Then those taxistas came to us and telling us they can take us to Mausoleum and La Habana with 20CUCs per person. Well, it was not a bad deal at all. Anyway, Mausoleum was far away and we needed to catch a taxi there, and we would not need to waste our time waiting for the bus. So we took the taxi. We made a right choice.



The taxi was not a proper taxi. It was a Pugeot 308. It was not that old but pretty beaten up. Firstly he took us to the monument where the regiment of Che Guevara blew up the cargo train carrying arms for the gorverment army. The mission was successful and the rebels (M-26-7) took those arms, and this made the President Fulgencio Batista flead to Dominica. The scene was shown on the movie of "Che - Argentinian". The cargo cars were restored on the sight and we could see them. The railway is still used these days.



The enrace (?) of the monument cost 1CUC. Inside the cargo cars, those arms, the rebels took, were displayed, but nothing was special. If you are not interested in Cuban Revolution or Che Guevara, it would not be worth coming here. I was excited to be there, and so as Mr Sheep.




Then we went to Mausoleum. Finally I got here! He started his trip on two wheels from the South and ended up here. And I started my trip on two wheels from the North and finally I got to get so close to him. I could see the statue of him - so famous now - standing under the blue sky. The statue depicts him in the battle of Santa Clara. He broke his left arm, so he was wearing plaster cast and a scarf - presented by his future wife Aleida March - to suspend his broken arm.  



We took photos of the statue and then went into the museum. Unfortunately, cameras were prohibited there. Inside the museum, those goods used by Che himself were displayed. His beret, gun, potable inhaler for asthma, phone, military uniform etc.

Then we entered to Memorial where Che and his comrades rest. I did not know we could enter there, so it was a good surprise for me.

Inside sourrouded by those comrades, he is resting. There was a relief of each man and woman resting there. There bodies are behind the wall I suppose. 

I stood still for a while in front of Che. I reckoned I was only 50cm away from him. "Finally I met you, Ernesto. I will do my best to carry on your legacy." I promised him. 

As a revolutionalist - I try to be - it was the undiscrabable moment for me to see him so close. He is still fighting for people and equality and fighting against injustice.

Back to the taxi, we drove straight to La Habana. We arrived there around 3pm. We checked-in at Joaquina's place. Tom and Toko left us a note and stating they were staying at the Casa they stayed before. 

After a little rest, we went out for a walk. Then I had a good talk with Junya and another Japanese traveller - the cyclist - Jin. 

Around 7pm, Tom and Toko came to see us so we went to have dinner in Chinatown.      

03 APR 2011 (Sun): Relaxing in La Habana. Unable to find stickers, so bought pins

Especially coming back from small towns and cities, we felt La Habana was a really big city.


Toko will be back to Mexico early morning tomorrow and Laura will be bacl to Germany on 5th, so we went to look for souvenirs around Obispo street. At the Chocolate Factory we had iced chocolate (CUC0.80). It was a little expensive but we deserved a treat. 


There were many stands around the plaza at the end of Obispo street selling old books, stamps, and pins. Cuba is a part of the Comminist blocl, so there were many pins from North Korea, PROC (People's Republic of Chiina), and Soviet Union.  


As I could not find any of stickers (Cuban flag, "Viva Fidel" etc), I bought some pins - UJC , Fidel Castro and M-26-Julio pins. (After I came back to Medellin, I put those pins on my riding jacket. They are cool, aren't they!?)

04 APR 2011 (Mon): Coppelia was closed on Monday...
Toko went to the airport in the early morning. Yesterday she asked one of the taxistas on the street to pick her up at her casa around 2:30am and he came on time (according to Tom). As she left the casa, Tom moved into our casa - Joaquina's place). 


Junya also needed to go to the airport around noon, so we walked around Obispo street. We found a proper restaurant "La Luz" accepting CUP on Obispo stret, but it was so busy. We were too hungry to wait to be served and Junya needed to leave. So we ate at a food court. A lady said the fried chicken was cheap and nice, so Tom and I ordered 2 pieaces of fried chicken each. They were big but so greezy... They were worst fried chicken I had ever... To make matters worse, it cost 75CUPs (3CUCs) with a drink. Expensive!! I got upset stomach and was not feeling well whole day after that.


Then we went to Coppelia (the Ice Cream chain store) park where were many Coppelia stands. Toko and Tom went there twice and they said the ice creams there were cheap and good. We took P11 bus to New Town of La Habana.

But, but, all the shops accepting CUPs in the park were closed. There were only 2 stands open but they only accepted CUCs!! And it was very expensive, 2.80CUCs for 2 scoops!!  The taste was just average.... How unlucky I was!!

We had dinner in Chinatown again. We had enough of CUPs meals and other places would be too expensive, so we had no choice.

I talked with Tom till 2am about trips, loves, Japan, Cuba etc. I was so glad to have this conversation with you, Tom.

05 APR 2011 (Tue): Laura left Cuba. On the way to the airport, we went through a huge storm...
In the morning, Laura and I went to Obispo street to hunt for souvenirs. We had lunch in Chinatown again! Well we had no choice...

After lunch, we went back to Joaquina's place to pack up.




We took P12 bus to La Plaza de la Revolucion. There we took photos of Che and Camilo's faces on the government buildings. There was the tower of the revolution on the hill top and behind the tower, there was the office of Raul Castro Ruz.. 

We went back to the bus stop and took P12 bus, I thought....

The bus was packed as usual. And the sky got darker and darker. It looked like a storm was coming. We were on the bus for a while, but I did not remember seeing those scenary outside. Around 40mins later, when the bus stopped at a bus stop, I saw outside and on the sign it stated "P1, P2...". I asked a guy "Is this P12 bus?", and he said "No, it's P2!". Oh now, we got on the wrong bus. It was my fault. I was so sorry to Laura. We quickly got off the bus, but the storm had come already. Very strong wind and heavy rain.... Voy bien Camilo? 

At the bus stop, I asked those people how we could get to the airport. They said "Either you take the same bus back  or catch a cab!". Well, the storm was too bad, so we decided to catch a cab. 


Luckily we could catch a cab in no time. But the cab was realy old Russian made Lada. The rubber seal of the doors were almost done and water got inside the car. There were many tree brunches on the road. Some parts of the road were flooded!! It was amazing. Surely here was tropic. But we wondered if he plane could take off in this condition??

The cab driver was excited with the storm too. We saw a new Mercedes was stuck in flooded street, but our old Lada went through! He was so high and we were kinda happy to experience this bad storm. 

We arrived at the airport safely and on time, but it cost 20CUCs. The display showed the plane would be late for 1 hour. There was a long queue in front of the check-in counters. But none was processing passengers. I guessed it was still possibility of cancelling the flight. 


The airport building was not built properly, so there was lots of water pool on the floor inside the building. This is the main International Airport of this country...

We waited for a while and finally the checkin process was started. I said good-bye to Laura and left the airport.

I had a great time in Cuba with you, Laura. Next time when I see you will be in Germany next year. Till them, my good friend, have a good time and be well! (Actually the plane was delayed for 4 hours!!)

Well, how could I go back to City?? I did not see any bus and it was still raining, so walking to the main road would be hard. So I caught a cab (15CUCs) to City. On the way back, I asked the cab driver how the economy of Cuba now. He said it was not getting better, but since Raul was in charge, there were some changes he could see.

Back to Joaquina's place, Tom was little sick, so we thought we had little snacks from a CUP shop nearby, but we ended up going to Chinatown. 


In front of the "Restaurant Street", the beautiful lady found me and asked "When are you coming to my restaurant?". Well, I met her on the first day and she asked me to go to her restaurant. But I said "next time". She said "I will give you free drink and free chips." So we decided to have dinner at her restaurant. (Isn't she beautiful?) 


We ordered Chef's recommendation (TOm had chicken and I had pork) and they were very very good. The best meal I had in Cuba. It was 6CUCs but it was money well spent. 

Tom went to sleep straight after, so I went out for a walk around the city. I have only one more day in Cuba.  





 

  



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オーストラリアに移住して16年。遠く南の大陸から母国日本を眺めてみて危機感を感じてはや16年。なにか出来ないものかと考えて考えて、ようやく自分で行動することに数年前に思い当たる。とりあえず自分が出来ることから始めよう!ってことで、革命軍M-26-Julioをシドニーで結成。
誰かが世の中変えるのを待ってるだけじゃなく、自分で社会に貢献できることから始めよう。
世界を旅しながら色々な人と出会い革命の輪を広げていきたい。
2010年からおやすみ羊とBMW R1200GSで世界一周中!

Hasta la victoria siempre, Patoria o Muerte!

現在の愛車:BMW R1200GS 「Esperanza de la Tora」(世界一周)、 SUZUKI DR650SE 「孫市」(オーストラリア一周)
過去の愛車:Buell XR12R Firebolt, Yamaha FZ1, Yamaha TRX850, 、HONDA XR250R, Suzuki XF650 Freewind, Yamaha XV250 Virago
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