Ship ahoy. We are on the boat. Most guests came from Havana and a 7-hour bus ride. It is worthwhile doing some research and finding out there is an international airport in Santa Clara. We had a 2.5-hour taxi ride to ourselves.
6am and we are awake. 7am like clockwork a bit of traffic starts to role by the window of our hostal in Santa Clara. At 8am there is music down the street so loud the people near it have to scream at each other to be heard. 8 o’clock is at least civil. On other Caribbean islands the wake-up time is sunrise. The roosters start crowing. It’s early but not too bad if the dogs that bark all night have let you sleep at all. Cuba, at least Santa Clar,a does not seem to suffer from either of those dirges.
I have heard so many times ‘oh those poor Cuban people’. They don’t look poor to me. There are cars, scooters, three wheeled motor and pedal transports and motor bikes enough to make the streets busy. There are some horse and buggy outfits around which is a little behind the times but really it is quite quaint and the world may soon be back to them anyway which would make Cuba ahead of the times.
Although they are ubiquitous throughout the world, everyone has a cell phone. There seems to be a limited selection of things in the stores but that selection also rotates and what ever is in stock is in abundance. That is similar to the grocery stores in Denmark. What they had they had lots of, they just didn’t always have everything. Where I did notice a big difference is when we hit the highway. There are so few cars on the rural roads, our taxi could just about drive on whatever side of the road he wanted to. For him the speed limit seemed a mere suggestion. They were also a bit redundant as maybe only ½ the vehicles could travel that speed. The horse and cart seemed to be the transport of choice outside the city.
All those old cars Cuba is famous for is a bit of a fallacy as well. Yes, there are cars from the 1950’s and 60’s and most are in immaculate condition but there are far more new cars. Not North American cars but new none the less.
Another point that should be taken into account when traveling here is the car has the right of way. Most places in the world this is true, in fact, even if the law says otherwise but people still wander out into the street with their cell phones in their face and survive. I don’t think they would survive here. Pedestrians are very conscious when crossing the street and for good reason.
Back to the boat. We have set sail and head to the mooring spot from which we will use dive skiffs to reach the diving sites. Again, Debbie and I find ourselves on a boat with less than half of the potential passengers. 16 of a possible 40 are on board and only ½ of those are divers, 1/2 are fisherpeople. (Is fisherpeople a real word?) Should be a fairly exclusive experience. Tomorrow we dive.