Evan and I had a few other off-resort adventures that were a lot less structured than the catamaran trip. It was pretty much us just wandering around and checking out the area. I don’t know when I’ll be back to Cuba, so I wanted to explore a bit and see some culture. I still don’t feel like I saw enough, but, next time.
The coolest thing we did was rent this sweet scooter from our resort.
Only 13 pesos for two hours! The convertable peso is nearly on par with the Canadian dollar so it was about $13. Not too bad at all. We did have to fill it with gas, but it was like 4 pesos, so not too bad either. We filled that sucker up and were on our way.
We drove the scooter all along the countryside and through two different local towns. And I have to say that my mediocre-travelled soul found it very eye opening and enlightening to see how people live.
We saw houses ranging from the thatched roof variety…
To basic structures with no windows or doors.
To more elaborate two storey houses that look more like what we are used to in North America…
To apartment buildings…
Evan actually lived in Trinidad for about two and a half years (and worked for an ad agency! I know, he is so worldly and cultured) and he said that it was quite similar there. Structures ranging from the very basic, to the elaborate, with a lot of fluorescent porch lighting and window slats. It made me wonder, could I live like this? I mean, I did grow up in the middle of nowhere in a house that was basically a cottage, so maybe yes I could. But why is our own culture so obsessed with having the biggest nicest houses, with the perfect yard, and stainless steel appliances and granite countertops and master bedroom ensuites and all the fancy things? I think there is something to be said for living a simpler life. The people that I met all seemed incredibly happy. Do they care how many bedrooms their neighbour has? Or what kind of tile is in their bathroom? It kind of makes me want to move to a beach hut somewhere. Maybe not Cuba because I’m not sure I could live with certain things (government censorship, Communism, etc), but it is interesting how different things are depending on where you live in the world. Man, I really need to do more traveling.
Welp, that’s my deep thought for the day. Moving on. Driving through the towns was a really cool experience.
There were many scooters on the roads, many cars as well, and a TON of horse and buggies in our area.
I’m not sure if that is typical or just because where we were is so touristy and tourists eat that right up.
As we were driving on one of the country roads, I waved to a family sitting outside of a house and they waved back like “Come on over!!!” and looking back I regret not stopping. I would have loved to talk to them, and because I am nosy I wonder if they would have showed us around inside.
We did stop in the town a bit closer to our resort as we had some extra time left…
And in the below picture that tent behind me is a snack bar, or maybe just beer bar, where some locals were having a drink. So we went over and I got a cerveza.
I really wish I made better friends with the locals so I could ask them more questions about their life. But I felt weird being like “Hi there, tell me how you live” anytime I did talk to anyone. It was mainly just small talk. I did notice that many people were dressed very well. They would come out of a simple house wearing high heels and designer duds (designer looking, anyway) and well, whatever floats your boat, but if I lived there I would probably be dressed for the beach the entire time (Evan again said he noticed Trinidad was like this).
Eventually we headed back to our resort and we could not stop talking about how glad we were that we did that. It was a good time.
Earlier in the week we rented some bicycles from our resort for free and biked over to the local market.
They were not exactly quality bikes and they were the kind that to brake you had to pedal backwards, so they took some getting used to.
But we figured it out, and neither of us went over the handlebars, so that’s a win. The market was just off another resort near ours, Club Amigo, and you can also walk there from our beach, which is a LOT quicker than the road. But we did not know this at the time. Anyway, we got there, and the market was pretty cool.
I actually felt a lot safer there than I did at the market I went to in Jamaica outside of Montego Bay. I was not hassled NEARLY as much, and no one tried to convince me to go into the back of their shop with them to “look at something”. When we had the bikes with us we ended up leaving them with some locals running a booth and I felt completely safe doing that. I found the people to be super friendly and talkative.
And they had some hot items!
Lots of hand carved wood, and lots of leather.
We ended up visiting the market a few times during our week there, and we got some pretty awesome souvenirs. There were a ton of carved cars also, because you know Cuba is about the old cars!
There were old cars everywhere, mostly taxis.
The market also had a snack stand, where you could get beer, and there were some people wandering around selling various food items. Like this “cookie”.
Which was not a cookie at all, but it was quite good.
We also checked out the public beach that was near the market, the Guardalavaca beach.
I did see quite a few local people enjoying this beach, which made me happy because I like to see people enjoying their own country. You could also walk to this beach from our resort beach and it only took about 15 minutes or so. On the day we rented our scooter we had some time to kill while we waited for the scooter rental ladies to get back from their lunch, so we kept walking along the beach to this big rock area along the shore.
There were all these random staircases that didn’t really lead to anything so it makes me wonder what used to be there.
We did find a path that led over to a couple of restaurants.
We did not eat there, and looking back I wish we did just to check it out… But we figured the food would be similar to what we were eating on the resort and we’d have to pay for it. I bet it would have been an experience though. We did talk to one of the owners for a while.