Che che che che che
07.08.2013 - 09.08.2013 25 °C
We weren't really looking forward to Santa Clara, we were heading there primarily out of there was no where else we could go - we didn't have enough money or time to head further along the island or visit some of the exclusive islands so we headed to Santa Clara, half way between Trinidad and Varadero, our destination after Santa Clara.
When we arrived we were instantly hassled for taxi's and casas for rent - a standard thing that happens at bus stations in Cuba (and lots of south and central america) - we did our standard ignore them and started walking towards town although very very quickly realised it was too far and so crazily jumped in a pedi-taxi. Our bags were strapped to the back and rested on our laps and then the bike guy rode us all the way over hills into town. (We felt quite guilty as he was sweating so badly in the heat and with our ridiculously heavy luggage!)
We went for a walk around Santa Clara and weren't really impressed. There was not really anything there and it didn't have the charm of Trinidad or the vibe of Havana. We had a horrible early dinner at the only place we could find to eat - a cheap restaurant with meh food. Oh well.
We had a horrific sleep as we were woken up at 5am by the sound of noisy hot water pipes under our bed resonating through the building. Angrily we arranged a new room with our casa but we were not happy. just another reason why we weren't fond of Santa Clara.
In the morning we had to walk out to the bus station to buy our onward ticket. (In the distraction of the taxi drivers we had forgotten to buy it) It was such a hot day (again) that we would cross the street back and forth just to get the shade. At the bus station we met with a very strange situation. Cubans go and buy their tickets at the regular counter, there is no sense of personal space or queueing and so they are all just hanging around the counters. Tourists meanwhile have to go into a special office, there is no signs, you just eventually get pointed to it. Inside you sit down and put your name down on a sheet for the relevant bus. Basically they run tourist and locals buses and tourists are not allowed on the locals buses and must pay the inflated fare.
We then walked to the Che Guevara memorial. Che was an argentian doctor that met Fidel Castro in Mexico while he was exiled and together with a band of men they invaded Cuba and caused the revolution. Che was a strong army general, controlling many battles, including the apparently famous battle of Santa Clara. Here they love him. The memorial has an enormous statue of him plus a musuem about his life. He died being executed by the Americans in Bolivia for trying to inspire a Cuban style revolution in Bolivia.
We had dinner at the only fast food chain in Cuba - el rapido, which wasn't so rapid, but still definitely the standard of fast food. We walked around the main square of Santa Clara but nothing was really happening so we headed off to bed.
We had an early bus out of Santa Clara, we couldn't wait to leave and get to Varadero. Excitingly though we took a 1951 Chevrolet taxi to the bus station. The car was truely falling apart and lots of things like upholstery for the doors and back of the seat were missing, the windscreen was a mess too. It was one of the coolest things! This car had been driving around before our parents were even born!