Day two of my Cuban diary, and my first full day in the country. It was also the first day of my first conning/polite robbery, at the hands of a gold-toothed charlatan named Julio. Wherever you are now, Julio, fuck you.
Air con on full blast, woke up freezing. Turned it off and melted after 15 seconds. Was awoken by sex noises in the night from the white Spanish speaking girl which helped my loneliness.
Missing Mie a fucking lot.
Non English speaking woman made me breakfast. Scrambled eggs with cucumber and bread and coffee. Was actually delicious. Between the owners and I, managed to get a vague idea of the hotels location within the city thanks to a lot of wild gesticulating.
Was hoping the white girl would be around (and understand English) so I could actually speak to someone but alas, no. Had a shower, got dressed and took 15 steps out the door before being accosted by a jineto or whatever. A hustler. Got chatting, very friendly, led me through the streets. I knew exactly what he was doing but thought fuck it because it was nice to speak to someone in English and it’s an intimidating city to set out alone in.
He showed me a cool arty street, and took me into a bar for a mojito. Asked me to buy his as well. So I did, for some reason. Gave me loose Cuban cigarettes. We smoked and drank a couple of mojitos each at 10am. Told me a lot about Cuba and to be fair gave some useful knowledge.
Took me into an artists house to see paintings. Stared at them blankly for a few minutes. Then took me in some weird cramped apartment to buy cigars, 25 for 50 cuc, about 30 quid. With his friend, they showed me box after box of massive cigars. Said no a million times, not spending money like that until I have safely made it to the end of the holiday. Took a lot of repeating the word no for him to give up Told him if I buy any it will deffo be from him. Lol.
Walked into Old Havana, saw the Capitol building and national ballet place. Tons of gorgeous old cars. Searing heat, sweating like a beaver.
Saw La Floridita but was closed as too early. Had two more mojitos each and another pack of cigs courtesy of me, then walked back along the not-so-picturesque sea front – just a grey wall with waves hitting it and a motorway running past.
He asked for a contribution for his services. Gave him 20 cucs to shut him up. He did help me get fairly wise fairly fast – for example all future jineteros will be swiftly told to fuck off. He kept also asking if I wanted a beautiful mulatto prostitute or any marijuana. I said no and maybe, respectively.
Left me at my casa with the promise of meeting outside at seven to show me a bar called San Juan – no doubt drinks on me. So fuck that, going to be extremely scarce come 7.
Chilled for a bit, had a shit out of boredom, then wondered up to the university of Havana. Very, very hot. Another guy tried to ask me where I’m from and I answered with a few grunts. Said do I want to see the library and I said no, and he left.
Wondered around through some market areas, walked back along the sea front by myself, another jintero tried to ask me where I’m from and I said ‘Germany, no English’ and stared blankly until he left.
Saw a stall for pizza at 25$. Thought this seemed steep, then realised this is dual currency and 25 local pesos is about 1cuc. So got a margharita for about 70p. Got grease all over my shorts somehow.
Now lying on my bed wondering how the hell I’m going to get through the next two weeks alone.
Fucking found some fucking one who I can fucking talk to FUCK YEAH!
Wandered out onto the balcony to stare morosely at the locals only to find a Cuban guy called Georgio who is the boyfriend of mysterious white girl – who is Finnish and visits him every few months.
Told me how cheap alcohol should be – turns out I got absolutely ripped off, as expected. Really nice chilled guy who apologised for Julio’s shitty fleecing of me.
Georgio is a dance teacher. Told me some actual good bars that won’t cost the earth, and good places to visit. Feeling much better than I did 15 minutes ago.
Finally!!! It all snowballed from Georgio. More and more people arrived as I waited and chilled on the sofa playing guitar. Met a couple from Holland, Martin from Germany, Jess from Surrey and another German girl whose name I forgot after she told me twice so I couldn’t ask again.
The six of us went for peso pizza and had a beer. Then we headed to the beach and bought some Havana Club rum for 4 cuc – like £2.50. Sat on the sea wall, the malicon, which is much more interesting at night. Locals sat all along it.
Drank rum by the sea as lightning flashed incessantly in the distance and waves crashed against the wall.
The girls left me at the sea wall to go to the toilet across the road. As they started walking, the wind picked up a lot. Suddenly, hundreds of locals along the malicon started sprinting as one across the road. Freaked out and expected to die by imminent tsunami. Turned out it was incoming torrential rain. Ran across the road and hid with the two girls behind a pillar as the rain lashed down. They got soaked, I didn’t heh heh.
Rain stopped after 5 minutes and went back to stifling humidity. Bought more rum and drank back at the hostel where eight million German men had arrived. They all spoke Spanish and English. Felt rather inadequate.
Day 3: Varadero Purgatory
” Two hour drive to Verdanero or wherever we are now. [ ] Driver seemed to enjoy driving on the wrong side of the wrong and just nipping back into the right lane a millisecond before a truck screamed past.”