5 January: Around Old Havana Again

rani's picture


Indonesian Students in Havana University

We met Ade and Ratih who are students at the Universidad de Havana. They are in their 4th year here under scholarship program from IKIP, majoring in sports education. They were giving us insights on the strength of Cuban sports education and recruitments, which brought Cuba into top ten countries in the summer Olympics. The Cubans are particularly good in recruitments and finding talents early. And they are also very disciplined. Surely there are a lot to learn from the Cuban in terms of sports education.

Off to Old Havana Again

We took taxi from Miramar to Habana Vieja's art market. So many different souvenirs and artworks were marketed under tents or tiendas. Indi was impressed with the different types of paintings and photographs but not the knick knacks. Rani ended up buying some stuff for souvenirs including a reversible Che hat.



There was a group of dancers on stilts and percussionists called Giganteria. They were so cool and posed for us on street corners. At first Indi thought they were spontaneous artists but after a few blocks down we saw another group with similar outfits so we concluded that they were government sponsored entertainers.



After shopping we walked to the Museo del Chocolate where they serve Chocolate Frio for 0.80 CUC served with chewy cookies. It was a refreshing cold drink made from chocolate from Baracoa area and honey.



To solve our cash problem, Indi tried to withdraw money from an ATM marked with RED logo but it swallowed his DBS card. Luckily there was an attendant inside the bank who managed to get the card back.

We then proceeded to find something for lunch at 4:00pm and since we were craving for cajita (small lunch box) we decided to have chicken and rice at a cafeteria where locals would normally go. The food was alright but an annoying jinetero was sitting behind us and kept offering us his help. That was a common problem in Cuba where hustlers try their luck with tourists.


Looking at the Schools in Cuba

We passed by elementary school Jose Marti. Indi was impressed that the school has TV, Video, and Computers. Ade added that even the schools in rural area have all the same facilities. It is apparent that the government invests the money in free education.



We also saw the elementary schoolchildren carrying bread and milk which is part of their food ration allowance. So even though everybody is considered as "poor" in Cuba (as per capitalist standard), but nobody is malnourished or undereducated.



We also saw this funny sign. Well it's quite true that in Cuba we "SAIL" the web rather than "SURF", because in Cuba, it involves certain kind of "screen" in order to get through to the web.


We continued walking around Habana Vieja and take pictures of the daily life of Cuban people.


And of course, Noe was having a great time.


After lunch we walked towards Parque de Central and Capitolio. We passed by Floridita again.


We saw this lady with wobbly bottom: una mujer muy gorda! We rarely big lady like this in Cuba where food is scarce. She might be a Santeria as characterized by the all white outfit.


Then we continued all the way to the train station to catch a bigger taxi that could fit seven of us. We managed to get in an oplet together with two Laotian guys. One of them kept making smooches everytime he saw a Chiquita along the way to Miramar.


Back to Miramar and Barbecue

Off the cab, we went to the Egrem (Cuban Recording Label) shop to buy cuban music. There are a lot of rare Cuban CDs, so we splurged ourselves by buying lots of CDs and DVDs.


Tia and Eko had already prepared a barbeque for us at the terrace of their home and we were joined by 3 Palestinians and 1 Cuban. 14 lobsters were grilled to perfection along with plenty of honey seasoned chicken drumsticks. Puput was busy making mojitos for us. Around midnight we setup an LCD projector to show Eko and Tia's adventure to different parts of Cuba like Cayo Coco and Santiago de Cuba. At 1am, we screened a Palestinian movied titled Paradise Now which depicted a story of two Palestinian men who contemplated their suicide bombing mission in Tel Aviv. Nice story with some high level sense of humor but the ending was too abrupt leaving us to guess what happened to everyone in the plot.



Way to go, Rani!

Hubby and I are really envious of your S. America trip. We have always wanted to do that (plus India) but never got round to doing so, what with his career and then now we have 3 kids... Kind of tough lugging 3 kids around, you are smart to do so when you only have one to lug around :-).

Noe sounds like a really good boy, but I think breastfed babies usually calm down faster and feel more secure just by smelling their mothers. A future traveller in the making.

Enjoy a safe and fun trip for the rest of your journey!

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