Santiago and Camagüey

We arrived back in Santiago de Cuba early afternoon giving me enough time to finish my Baracoa blog and have a refresh. Santiago is the sort of place that you’re bound to find someone you know… not long after walking up to the WiFi stop, did I see Stuart.

We went to a nice cafe and watched the world go by. The cafe looked on to a crossroads so we saw all the action.

There was also a dude walking around in a white suit and hat, and a walking cane followed by an Asian guy who looked a bit assistant like, and I wondered whether he was famous in the area.

I was pretty adamant that I wanted to go to the roof top bar, which the group went to when we were in Santiago previously. Stuart agreed to come with, and with it only being a few blocks away, it took longer than it should’ve done!

First off we found a shop that was full of revolution memorabilia from over the years, even pre-revolution. If only I could read Spanish to understand it.

I really liked the paintings on the newspaper, but I just don’t need one!

The shop next door had lots of home made paper maché stuff. And I had to buy Anne and I a maraca! She was obsessed with them before, and the women with the painted hats were adorable.

The masks he made and painted were incredible too.

It was while I was in the paper maché shop that a power-cut hit. Blocks in random orders went out of light and noise. No music blastering anywhere, amazing! It was still daylight and so the power cut didn’t affect us much.

Stuart and I then went to that roof top bar, belonging to Casa Grand Hotel. It was an utter fluke that we were there to watch the last bits of the sunset. Was very beautiful! Stuart knows by now that I’m not too fussed about my face being in a photo, so he snapped this one of me from behind.

Just in front of me is a cathedral, I think Pedro said the first one in Cuba. I’m not entirely sure. Other than the blocks of streets, I could see the water and the mountains on the other side.

I left Stuart drinking and went to find the others to meet them for dinner. It was pitch black, but I had my trusty phone torch to guide my footsteps. I knew the way, but we more concerned about stepping on a big hole and falling down!

After dumping all my stuff in the room, my host brought in a candle for me to use. I was off out shortly anyway, but I appreciated the gesture all the same.

Dinner was the usual sorts of food, lots of vegetables and rice plus a meat of some kind. And too many daiquiris! Anne and I shared dating stories, with Anne’s definitely being more outrageous and shocking than mine!

The following morning I woke up feeling hot and bothered, and my sore throat feeling sore still! The fan was off during the night and it made me quite uncomfortable. I like having the fan on plus loads of blankets, rather than feeling too hot. Breakfast helped wake me up, but I suffered a bit for the day ahead.

Our first stop of the day was that Cuba sign again. We tried to get a group photo but some of the group weren’t having any of it!

The journey to Camaguëy was so varied and interesting. It was a long drive and it was great to see more of the real Cuba. We drove through villages, that centred around the train tracks, and saw the houses that only had the front painted, giving me an ‘aww’ moment. They had so much pride in their homes. I also didn’t feel too travel sick, which was a bonus!

I managed to snap a pic that just had so much going on…

We stopped off for a lunch break in Bayamo. The place we had a toilet break had it all going on, and the live band was fantastic (view my instagram ID izzykender for a video).

Whilst the majority of the group had lunch inside the restaurant, I had a lovely packed lunch from the Casa. I sat outside in the glorious sunshine, munching on my cheese and salad sandwich. She also made me up a bottle of fresh pineapple juice and two bananas. That woman made my heart melt. She was adorable.

The town itself was really lovely too…

As soon as I got on the bus, I needed a nap. All that sunshine had made me sleepy… an hour later I was woken up! We were stopping for a toilet break, and to be honest I would’ve rather been left undisturbed. I wasn’t able to get back to sleep, so Anne and I shared stories of our families.

When we arrived in Camaguëy, we hired a Tuk Tuk and were driven around the sites. No clue what any of these places were called.

The statue below is based on a real Cuban who sits in this square and reads his newspaper.

And the gallery of a famous Cuban sculptor, who made the statue above. Here is me mimicking the fountain.

Actually I know the name of this one, Revolution Square. Obviously.

Anne and I were pretty adamant we wanted to avoid a big group dinner. My plan was to eat the big bunch of red bananas I still had, but then I saw a pizza place with a massive queue! The pizzas were about 50 cents each, so I got two.

We have been told to stay away from cheap food, but by this point I’ve lost my patience with the good eateries that still make the group ill. I’d rather be sick spending less than a pound than £15!

The pizza base was fried too, with a cheese and tomato sauce. It was delicious. And I didn’t touch any of my bananas!

We ended the night by having a mojito at the roof top bar of our hotel, and then cuddling down in bed watching The Big Bang Theory.

Camaguëy is simply an overnight stop on the way to our next destination, Trinidad!

Plus I am half way through my trip now… feels a bit strange! I am missing my home comforts, like a quiet and peaceful night’s sleep. And my snuggle blanket. But I can carry on for an extra week in this glorious heat, I suppose!

Today had been the first day I actually got some colour on my face too, from sitting in the park for 30 minutes! Don’t be surprised if I come back pale…

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