Havana, Cuba, North America
Well, it was another sweltering day in Cuba. I spent most of the day walking around the northern part of the city today. I started out at the Plaza de la Revolucion, which is where there are two buildings with huge pieces of art depicting Che Guevara on one, and Fidel Castro on the other. I was pretty happy to see Che Guevara, since this was one of the photos I had to take for my scavenger hunt game.
Right next to the Plaza was a baseball field and there was a game going on. I hung out there for a while in the shade watching them play their national sport. It was strange to see a field, but absolutely no seats around it. There were two dugouts and then a fence around the whole field, but no place for people to sit and watch. They appeared to be a pretty high standard of baseball teams, so it was cool to see it played down here. I know of quite a few Cubans who have made it to the major leagues, and it’s cool to see where they probably started out playing.
I went up the Paseo and ended up at the Melia Cohiba hotel. I was pretty happy to find out that they had a currency exchange in the hotel since my credit and debit cards don’t seem to work in any of the ATM’s on this whole island. I was able to get cash out at the currency exchange office, so I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to survive the next three days on 21 CUC. I was also then free to explore the idea of scuba diving a little more. Unfortunately, the tourist information desk at the hotel had NO information on it, so I’m going to have to hope that I can go tomorrow when I show up at the Hotel Copacabana.
I walked down the Malecon for a while and found a decent little restaurant to have lunch. All of the Cuban places (where the Cubans eat) seem to have very similar menus. Pizza, spaghetti, sandwiches and burgers. I expected to see more “caribbean” food, but I haven’t seen much of that expect for at expensive hotels. I’m guessing that kind of food is more for the tourists than for the locals.
I checked out a couple small parks and saw lots of locals hanging out in any shade they could. A lot of people sit on the side of the road here playing chess. I guess it’s a good way to keep your mind active and not have to move in this ridiculous heat. I made my way back toward the city center down the Casa de las Americas. I really love the old buildings that are here. I can only imagine what this place will look like in 15-20 years if America opens up it’s border to Cuba. If they get a large amount of money coming into the country and they fix up a lot of these buildings, it’s going to be really beautiful. Until then though, it’s pretty sad looking.
I’m pretty excited about tomorrow morning. I’m getting a taxi at 9am and going to the Hotel Copacabana to see if I can go scuba diving here. Not sure what it’s like, as reviews are pretty tough to find, but any time I can get a dive in, I’m happy.