Holguin Cuba & a coloured glass beach Gibara
We have been in Cuba for near four weeks, and decided to come to Holguin so we could fly to Jamaica.
BUT… why is there always a BUT ?????
BUT in this case, it was when we checked on our last day at our Casa Particular.
A lovely lady, with a super small bed for us to share, and some tacky velour spread on the bed.
She noticed that my son and I had different stamped dates on our Visa Cards.
BUT then we discovered a real problem!
The date was wrong on our visa cards?
What wrong? YES. 2 days wrong, and 2 days BEFORE we even arrived in Cuba.
This meant we had expired visas and we couldn’t get our flight to Jamaica.
This meant we had wasted our time, and had we flown out of Santiago to Jamaica we could have avoided this.
This meant we had missed the time the bank was open to pay for the visa stamps, and this meant we had missed the Immigration office hours.
This meant we had to spend an extra night her and the $$ were going to leave us short.
This meant we could only get $$ out of a money exchange in Havana with our Travel Money Debit Card.
This meant we had to pay $70 for a bus back to Havana.
This meant we had to pay for a different and more expensive airline ticket from Havana.
This meant we would need $$ for a Casa Particular in Havana.
This meant I was over Cuba. Over problems. Over travel.
So we decided if we had to endure this, we would stay and extra day and go and enjoy the beach, 40 km away.
So we head out on a bici-taxi with a brolly no less, and a side seat!
Our rider was lovely. Explorason had a riding lesson, and we had a bit of fun.
On arrival to the taxi, it is so ancient. I am thinking 1940’s.
$1 gets us a 40 km ride over the bumpiest road ever to Gibara.
On arrival we are dropped a the start of town.
It is a bit of a ghost town – certainly off the tourist zone.
Several chute casas and hotels seem to offer cheap prices and the first one in on your left as you arrive a the town – it must have been 100 years old and so relaxing looking out to the sea.
But here we are. We are only visiting so we walk along the sea front.
We get to the fort and have a great time having fun lifting the draw-bridge.
We then walk to the town hill and to the look-out.
Here the restaurants and buildings are deserted, nut a few tourist stands remain selling ornaments.
Our new “friend” wants his photo graph with us.
He also tells us there is agree replace to eat nearby.
As we wander there we pass the National bird in a bamboo cage.
Next we pass a small vegetable stand. Vegetables are is rare here.
We get the restaurant. The 5 CUC kickback is obviously happening and I don’t mind.
The food looks good. The food looks good.
The view is right over the bay. The bill is $7 for food and drink for 2 people.
We wander back past goats and down to the empty town.
We love the forts, the arts, and the local square.
We head to the beach for a swim and a bit of sun before we leave.
We have a heap of fun playing, running and exploring.
Explorason decides it is time to long jump in the sand. Then we do some burying.
But the next bit is the most amazing time we had in all of Cuba.
We collect coloured glass from the way up on the shore.
Thousands of antique pottery, tiles, and coloured glass pieces are washed to shore.
Never before have I spent hours enjoying collecting fantastic colours and pieces.
I wish I had collected more. A bowl full would have been amazing.
For another $1 we head home slowly over the nauseating road. The local car is filling with fumes, and the sun is setting.
A man enters with his cake. Locals are always trying to sell home decorated cakes for about $3.
This one is a little wonky!
We head ‘home’ and out for dinner. “Yuca milk I wet,” “slices of hog”, “Grilled Perk” – not pork, “old clothes”, “slices of heads of cattle” and other foods grace the menu. It makes me laugh.
Our time ends.
We head back by bus to Havana.
Not before the taxi driver and bus staff try to scam extra $$ for our luggage and I refuse.
We end up spending 3 days trying to leave Havana.
After the 3rd visit to immigration I cry.
“I just want to leave your country”.
A wasted 50 CUC later, and 7 hours at the office of Immigration we finally leave.
The next day we try to find flights out as we only have a 2 day ‘grace’ period.
Flights from Havana to Jamaica are $200 more.
We couldn’t get a flight to Mexico for 3 weeks.
We couldn’t get flight to USA and Canada was too expensive.
What could we do?
We finally visit about 7 offices. Most are government owned by Cuba.
But there was a small agency and she gave us a great price to go leave Cuba – but to the Bahamas.
In fact it was 1/3 of all other flights.
So – where do wetly to – Nassau The Bahamas.
What a change of plans this is for us!