Day 3 : Is Havana Vieja simply a tourist rip off?!

Morning, everyone!

Day 3 and I’m still in Havana!

What to do, what to do …

To be honest I don’t want to do anything at all, why rush and waste my day trying to complete some list of activities that I should do, that others would expect me to do.

So, I walked down central coffee place and just sat at the bar in no rush at all. Watched tourist come and go. Some would order cappuccino and sit down with their Lonely Planet guide books.I noticed older couple , dressed all bright and happy , sitting nearby and sipping coffee, we started chatting and they seemed very surprised that I had not planned anything. For them – they shared their trip. They put their phones on table and opened plan, that’s been made even before they arrived in Cuba for all the trip. They were from Holland and had booked their trip online with travel company and all day, every day have been planned for them. It’s a safe version to travel and for older couple, like them, it makes sense. In total its 20-people travelling together in this program

 

Soon after chat, they left, as they had plans already by the schedule.

 

I stayed in coffee shop. I slide my hand in my backpack and looked to feel edges of cigarette package. Jackpot! I pulled packed out and lighted cigarette. Smoke was slowly moving on the left of me and could be easily seen. I slowly sipped my coffee and enjoyed sunshine on my feet that was passing thought the edges of roof.

 

From coffee shop, I walked slowly down town to INFOTOUR center to purchase ticket to Viñales village for tomorrow. I arrived at Havana INFOTOUR center. Door was glass with too many commercials on the glass surfaces. I walked in – a lady in her 40 was available. I asked her about options to Viñales.

 

Option 1 : Bus that’s leaves in morning .Price is 12 CUC , but I would still need to take taxi to bus stations that’s located far from Havana Vieja.

 

Option 2 : take old American car and share it with 7 others .Cost 20 CUC , but it picks you up directly from casa and brings you down to your new casa particular!

 

Of course, I picked 2nd option.

 

After INFOTOUR visit I headed from Havana Vieja to Central Havana to see what’s its like. First on agenda is to buy new pair of shoes. I walked in few stores that sell brands, like Nike and Adidas. With shiny displays and brands names they drawn people in. And turns out these stores and those prices displaced are insane. I mean converse style runners are sold for 75 CUC. How is that even possible. No normal person can afford this ever. Insane.

So of course I walked more downtown and found little shop that sells shoes for 220 MN (which is about 8 CUC ).Got white pair of runners and straight threw out my crappy ones.

View from Magdalyns house in Havana

My Casa particular in havana, view from my balcony

Sun have already set and im on way to eat dinner with my while runners on. I arrived in main square and looked around.

All the options , but where to go?

 

  • 1.Only few seats restaurant and have live music .
  • 2.All in for 60 CUC and have some kind of show, but place is packed with people and does not seem very comfortable.
  1. Second floor restaurant with a view over plaza. This place looks amazing, but as I can see from below -have no free seats on balcony. Shame.
  • 4.Under balcony restaurant is coffee shop, but does not sell real food only sweet snacks.
  • 5.Massive restaurant with brewery inside, but have no free seats.
  1. Really nice looking place with old style seats and good food (I tried before) Really good vibe in place, but have no seats free at all.

 

At the end after some time of looking around I decided on option number 1. Live music sounds good. This place was in front of the building with yellow table cloths and only 3 tables taken from about 15. Live music was a band of 5 singing and dancing every hour. I sat down in the corner and ordered coffee, milk, bread and fish.

 

Next to me was another table with older couple sitting – facing each other, but since the moment I arrived  I didn’t hear them talking. They both looked around in different directions and seemed very awkward. They looked Italian. Food for them arrived before mine and lady started eating her food and kept quiet, but men took one bike and threw his fork across the table and shouted for waiter. Waiter arrived and took plates away while Italian man kept cursing and shouting and him. I felt sad for poor waiter as he is not the one that made food. Lady just shook her head and said nothing. Few minutes later my food arrived and also check for the couple, By now I already found them very entertaining. When he saw check, he went even more angry and even his face was flashing with red in evening light. They left after throwing money on the table all around.

 

I started on my fish and realized why Italian was so upset, my fish was truly tasteless and horrible. Coffee was just barely warm. So I felt truly unhappy with my choice. While I was regretting my choice, little fluffy ball of cuteness sat near me. This little cat cheered me up. I fed it all my fish.

 

Then I received bill and of course I was flushing with anger the same as Italian. My bill was 14.50 CUC  .

 

Coffee: 2.50 (Not a bad price , pretty much regular in Havana)

Food: 6.50  (Expensive, but ok I can deal with this )

Bread and butter : 2.50 ( That’s bit steep for just bread )

Milk: 2.00 (This is insane. I mean it was microscopic amount of milk )

 

Plus, service charge on top of all this. I did pay this, but these is no way I’m ever coming back .After I made my way to balcony bar and ordered Mohito for 4.50 . And all it was: leaves on the bottom of glass , insane amount of rum and little bit of sore. Tasted horrible. Better to drink rum on rocks than this.

 

After all the excitements and disappointments, I headed home thought dark streets of Havana and wondered if all Cuba is simply a tourist rip off. Maybe it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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