Friday, 22 May 2015
Breakfasts at the casa were served in the courtyard, in the shade of banana trees, at a wrought iron table and chairs painted white. The meal consisted of coffee, mango juice, chopped fruit (usually a mix of pineapple, guava, mango and papaya), banana, fresh bread, egg, butter, a sweet biscuit with jam, cheese, and a few slices of ham. I don’t think we ever finished it.
We took a bici-taxi to the immigration office where we were ushered into an office and seated opposite a uniformed woman who had a photo above her desk depicting Che Guevara smoking a huge cigar. She asked us for proof that we had health insurance, and when we were due to leave Cuba. She then took our passport details, stuck the 50 CUCs worth of stamps to a form with a stick and glue pot, and added a gold-edged sticker to our tourist card that displayed a revised expiry date. It was all over within half an hour and our bici-taxi took us back to the Banco de Credito on Parque Céspedes where we successfully withdrew some CUCs for the remainder of our stay in Trinidad.
We bought a copy of one of Cuba’s official newspapers, Granma, outside the bank, and contemplated our next move. Unfortunately, Susie felt a migraine coming on, and had to take one of her last migraine tablets.
We decided to retreat from the intense heat, so we headed back towards the casa, stopping at a small museum dedicated to Trinidad’s martyrs of the revolution. This was a low-key, free museum, with a few exhibits that consisted mainly of personal effects with a brief biographical note for each of the fallen. Some of them were brigadistas. Most of them were very young when they were killed. The personal effects included pens, identity cards, and items of clothing. We took our time and mulled over every exhibit.
For most of the hot hours of the day we hid in our room, trying to read Granma. Susie translated a front-page report on negotiations between Cuba and representatives of the U.S. State Department. In the hope of improving our Spanish, we then tried to complete a written translation of one of the articles. We also took turns trying to orally translate an opinion piece inside the newspaper, which was much more difficult than straight reportage.
When the heat had abated, we went to the local cervezeria for a beer. The venue was located in the ruins of the theatre that burnt down some time ago. Few tourists go there; it is mainly a Cuban hangout.
After an hour or so in the cervezeria we went home to freshen up and then we made our way up hill through the cobblestone streets to the old city’s Plaza Major. Susie had booked a table at a restaurant called Quince Quatorce. The decor was an outlandish collection of posh crystal glassware and all sorts of other antique paraphernalia including crockery and decorative China.
We were welcomed into the restaurant and took a table in the room where the band was playing. Susie ordered a margarita and was served the best one she found in Cuba. I ordered a spicy chicken dish and Susie tried the lobster. The highlight of the night however was not the food, nor even the band (which was good enough for us to buy a CD). It was the dancing! An impossibly good looking young man in a suit asked my permission to invite Suze onto the dance floor, and Susie rose to salsa. I snuck a couple of photos with the band in the background. It might not have been the best food we found in Trinidad, but it was certainly the restaurant with the best atmosphere.