Excitement on the National Road

Today started out with Debbie explaining to me that the pineapples here are small and the meat is white rather than the golden colour we are used to. Yesterday the other fruit fact I learned is, in Cuba, papaya is a reference to a woman’s private parts. So here you had better be aware what you ask for or when it shows up you might be in for a surprise.

Garden of the Queen, Cuba

We left the boat behind at 8am. Another private taxi ride. There are few cars in the hinterland. Walkers, bicycles, horses and horse carts, scooters, motorcycles and tractors but not many autos. When we reach the highway the traffic increases. All types but noticeably more cars. It’s Saturday and everyone is on the move.

With narrow roads and all these different types of traffic the drivers have to be aware and patient. A motor cycle each way and a car passing one of them is tight. Following a horse and cart is slow and a lot of the time you have to wait.

Garden of the Queen, Cuba

A half of an hour from our destination, on the ‘National Road’ there is an accident. Smallish SUV type car in the ditch on the roof, a ’57 Chevy sideways on the road with a horse cart molded to its front end and a dead horse on the edge of the road. Three people and the horse are dead. There is one lane that is passable but the police decide to stop the traffic in both directions. Bad decision. Mayhem ensues. One might think that one long row of vehicles along the gutter would be the way things happen. Nope. The cars are 4 and 5 across the entire road as impatient drives edge their way to the front of the line. This might be OK if it was a divided highway but it is not and the traffic on the opposing side of the accident is lined up the same way. When the cops decide to let the traffic go no one will be able to move. We sit and wait and watch the goings on. There is not ambulance, nor tow trucks. There are a couple of fire engines and a couple of police vehicles but nothing that can move a dead horse or a broken car. A bit of progress is made when they upright the car in the ditch and use a fire engine to get it back on the road. For some reason it is decided that taxis can proceed and we are let through the blockade. As we pass by I see that there is person in the passenger seat of the SUV they retrieved from the ditch and they are trapped. Don’t know if they were dead or alive but no one seemed to be trying to extricate them. An hour and a half delay and opportunity to experience Latin American culture operating at its best. Strange!

Garden of the Queen, Cuba

We get back to Santa Clara at noon on Saturday. The place is hoppin’. Not just the central area as it was on the Friday we were here last. Even the burbs were busy. The central square is quite full and the small street pizza vending places are super busy. The theatre has some sort of dance competition going on and the bus stops are packed.

Garden of the Queen, Cuba
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