I went for a walk at the Malécon last night, it was pretty! In a way it reminded me of Paris and walking along the Seine. People sitting and chatting, some playing guitar. It was a little bit cold but in the summer I guess it is packed with people and maybe they even picnic like in Paris. Watching a sunset by the water is one of the best things I know and that’s what I did. I also run again into the guitar guy from the other day, he was there playing with some friends. It was nice to sit for a while with them, listening them play and singing along.
But I am starting to get a little bit annoyed of this man. Even if he can’t call or message me, he always finds me from somewhere. I have nothing against him, he is nice and I like practicing my Spanish but whenever I see him I feel like I have to spend the whole day with him because he just won’t leave me alone. Also, it is clear that he wants us to be more than friends and I definitely not. He has gone so far than made a plan for us to stay in touch when I leave Cuba. I can email to his sister who lives in Spain and her sister who has a Cuban number (and who calls him anyway) can then call him and tell him how I am doing. And vice-versa. And then the next time I come to Cuba he will take me to see his family who lives in the countryside in the Las Tunas region. Call that a relationship, no thanks. I think I need to start avoiding the spots where we usually meet...
I have continued walking around, this time in Centro Habana and on the central promenade called Paseo de Marti or just Prado. As in Habana Vieja, I enjoy photographing colorful buildings and Cuban cars.
In Centro Habana I also saw a few convenient stores but there were not much to buy. I also saw some fruit/vegetable stands and meat shops. But it is still a bit unclear to me where the Cubans do their grocery shopping.
Today I had coffee with a Finnish lady, P, who is friends with my mum and a fan of Cuba (she told me it must be her 12th time here!). Later we had dinner with her and her Cuban boyfriend and then went to La Casa de Musica to listen to a local group called Charanga Latina and to dance some salsa. That was fun!
In Cuba you can eat in two types of restaurants: state own restaurants or paladares, which are private and meant mostly for tourists (payments in CUCs). A paladar is usually at a local family’s home so the ambience can be very cozy and not restaurant-like. Since 2011 there are less restrictions concerning them, now they can have up to 50 clients, employ personnel from outside the family, and serve more creative meals than the traditional chicken, pork, fish and pizza. I’ve heard paladares are a bit more expensive than normal restaurants but the one we went to with P was overpriced, I paid 20 CUC for a chicken! But it was tasty and the place was lovely so fine. Other days I have managed to have a good meal in a nice restaurant for something between 7 and 10 CUC. But even if Cubans in general seem to be friendly, the service at restaurants is often a little bit rude and impolite. The guitar guy told me that I should go eat with locals (him for example) so I could go to cheap places where they pay in pesos. We’ll see, so far I’m fine on my own.
My Spanish is getting better, slowly but surely. I sometimes notice when I speak that I use past tenses without even thinking, that’s a big improvement. I have a grammar and verb book that I have started to read but I don’t have a dictionary. It is so frustrating sometimes when I know what I want to say but I can’t come up with the word and I can’t check it up from anywhere (because obviously I don’t have internet on my phone like back home). So then I have to find a way to explain it with other words, or simply don’t say what I wanted to say. Cubans really don’t speak English nor French (sometimes very poor French with what they try to impress me) so they can’t help me translate. Traveling alone is actually relatively hard, especially because I don’t speak that much Spanish yet. Because I don’t live in a hostel like in Jamaica it is difficult to meet other foreigners and so I have no one to talk to. Sometimes I’m afraid I may soon loose my mind if I don’t get to have a real conversation with someone. It was so good to spend some time yesterday with P who speaks Finnish, even if her boyfriend was there as well so we tried to talk in Spanish as much as possible. Living without internet (or not completely without but I haven’t tried to find a Wi-Fi spot yet) is strange but it is good for me to take a break from all technology and social media.
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I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!