A Travellerspoint blog

2nd April 2017

Havana

sunny

Today was a free day in Havana, as the tour does not start until the welcoming meeting at 6:00pm. After breakfast @ 8:30am, I was trying to figure out where I could change my currency on a Sunday. I could only think of the currency exchange at the airport, which would incur a 25CUC taxi fare. However, after conversing with the landlady (who doesn't speak English) she pointed me in the direction of a bank 3 blocks away that would be open on Sunday. It felt so good to have money in my pocket. Continued walking around Old Havana until 4:00pm, when I returned to the guesthouse. The following are some assorted pictures of Havana.

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view from guesthouse

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Che Guevara features predominantly on many buildings and posters throughout Cuba, and is highly revered as a hero of the revolution. American flags are also quite common, and it seams that, whilst the USA government is hated because of the ongoing blockade, Cubans don't have a problem with Americans in general.

Upon returning to the guesthouse, my room was empty and the bag removed. Turned out I was moving to another guesthouse as a start to the tour. Despite the language problem, my landlady drew a map showing the new guesthouse, which was only a block away. This guesthouse is more appealing then the original one. After the welcome meeting, we had a group dinner at a local restaurant, followed by drinks at a local bar.

Posted by HimalayanPeter 04:42 Archived in Cuba Comments (0)

1st April 2017

Caught the 7.11am train from Heathcote to the airport ready for the 10:50am Virgin Australia flight to Los Angeles. Landed at LA at 6:20am LA time. The Alaskan Airlines flight was due to depart LA 8:50am and I was concerned that in that time I had to clear customs, collect my luggage, move from Terminal B to Terminal 6, and obtain a Cuban Tourist Visa. However, it all happened smoothly and with time to spare, although the Alaskan Airlines flight was then delayed by 2 hours. Arrived at Havana about 7:00pm local time, and was met by my transfer driver at 7:30pm after clearing customs and collecting my bags.

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I was expecting to convert Euros to Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) at the airport, but the driver suggested the queue was to long, and I should change the currency in the city. By this time, the sun was setting, and after a half hour drive, we turned into dark alleyways, and I was beginning to get worried. Driver dropped me in a dark alley, rang a doorbell, and drove off. I still had no local money. Turned out the guesthouse was on the first floor, up a narrow staircase. The landlady didn't speak English, and I don't speak Spanish. My room was small, but with a double bed, and doors that only just locked (assuming you didn't push them to hard). When I explained that I had no money, she lent me 40 CUC for dinner. However, it was dark outside, and I had no idea where I was in Havana, so after a quick walk around the block, I returned to the guesthouse with no dinner.

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the above picture shows my guesthouse, with the green door, in daylight.

Posted by HimalayanPeter 03:33 Comments (0)

final preparations

One more sleep before flying from Sydney to Havana (Cuba) via Los Angeles. Once in Havana I will join Intrepids 21 day Grand Cuba tour.

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Posted by HimalayanPeter 22:39 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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