Monday, March 30, 2009

Trinidad, Cuba

It is amazing the things you decide you can do when you don't really have the facts. My life's adventures are full of activities that if I really understood what I was doing, I would never have taken.

Driving from Havana to Trinidad is one such adventure. Departing Havana many hours after we intended (as the hire car we were originally given was manual, which neither my sister Robyn nor I could drive), we didn't have a very detailed map. We started badly, and after getting lost a number of times we paid a taxi driver to get us to the main freeway.

At the beginning of the freeway, he pulled us over and gave us a lecture - do not give anyone a lift, take care of the pot holes road and drive very slowly. We quickly realised what he meant about the pot holes; this was not like any freeway I'd ever driven on. It was obvious that Cuba just didn't have the money to maintain it's freeways, there were massive potholes everywhere. Luckily there were very few other drivers, so there was heaps of room to swerve to miss a pot hole if you didn't see it until the last minute.

Sign posts also seemed to be beyond their budget, so even though the road between Havana and Trinidad was pretty direct we quickly realised that we couldn't rely on the signposts. We quickly got into a routine of asking for directions, even when we thought we were on track. We wanted to make sure we were headed in the right direction. Unlike Havana, most people we came across didn't speak English, but could read it. Directions were mostly about pointing to the address we were headed to, with a reply of points from our local guides. Only the general direction could be sort.
As the skies darkened, we noticed the rolling clouds. Soon driving was made almost impossible by torrential rain. Robyn and I could barely hear each other above the noise, the windscreen wipers started to fail, and we felt entirely out of our depth.

The drive took us over 5 hours, when we'd been told it would take us 2 - 3.
And was the drive worth it?


please sir said...

Wow - I want to go, but you know the whole US not allowed in Cuba part kind of stinks!

megsadventure said...

Cuba is well worth the visit - I'm an Oz citizen so easy for me, but there are plenty of US citizens entering via other countries. I think that the ending of the embargo will be amazing (and desperately needed) for them, but I am glad I got to see Cuba before that happens.