Cuba blog May 7, 2019

Submitted by eagle on Sun, 05/19/2019 - 16:56

Woke up somewhat late. Walked around town. Felt like I had seen enough of Holguin. I was curious to see where Fidel Castro was born, which I had read was in Holguin. I asked someone, who told me it was not precisely here, but rather in a nearby location. The name was hard to make out, something like Vilan. (It's actually Biran.) I tried to look it up on my map, but did not find it.


Walked to the bus station. It's usually possible to get on a private bus at these. As the private buses came, a person yelled out the destinations. I asked around, but all the buses were going to small towns nearby. My preferences were to go to 1. Baracoa, or 2. Guantanamo, or 3. Santiago. Someone told me that no buses were going to Baracoa. I figured in that case that none would be going to Guantanamo, or to Fidel's hometown.


While deciding what to do, I bought some snacks from the omnipresent vendors. Some peanut bars, some butter crackers which weren't particularly buttery. Another vendor, selling chicharones which I didn't want, told me that a bus to Santiago had just left, but another one would be coming in around an hour. I decided to wait for that one.


Later, a bus arrived, again in the cattle car style. "Santiago!" Suddenly a huge rush of people. I wasn't the only one waiting for the bus to Santiago. People crowded around the entrance, pushing hard to get onboard. There were many passengers, some of whom would presumably have to wait for the next bus. I pushed forward, as the crowd applied pressure. People rushed the entrance from every direction. I was surprised at how effectively people fought to get onboard. With my strength above average for the crowd, I managed to get on.


The bus was packed. Somewhat hard to breathe, although once underway the air circulated better through the windows. I struggled to see outside. On previous buses, I'd had at least some view, while on this bus I could hardly see the buildings on the side of the road. The distant scenery was easier to see, because of the angle at which I could look out the windows.


At the stops, while people embarked and disembarked, vendors walked up to the bus and sold their wares through the open windows. At one stop, the kind man next to me bought a bunch of pineapple slices, which he shared with neighboring passengers. They were sweet and delicious.


I feel that Cubans are kind. I think they are even warmer than other Latin people I have met.


In some sense, the unity, the solidarity, the political socialism of Cuba, seems to me like a reflection of the Cuban personality. In general, I think that societies take on political systems reflective of the people.


I think that Cubans are intrinsically sociable. It's just normal here for people to do things together.


I think I've seen men greeting each other with kisses, as women greet each other or greet men in some societies.


Santiago is a large city in eastern Cuba. It has geographic beauty, with the gorgeous hills.


<Santiago pix>


So far Santiago seems to me like more of a culinary city than other Cuban cities. Maybe I'm just seeing some of the busier streets so far, but I feel like there are more and better food places than elsewhere. (After more time there, I think that it was just because I had arrive on the main streets.)


I'm now thinking of going to Baracoa and Guantanamo from here, then returning. Not sure yet of the details.