Cuba blog May 13, 2019

Submitted by eagle on Sun, 05/19/2019 - 17:15

Confirmation of flight! :)

Place in San Juan, cheaper than tonight's place in Bayamo, Cuba!

So many things I have yet to learn about Puerto Rico.




Next want to ferry to Dominican Republic, briefly see Haiti.

New country!

Spanish? English? Spanglish?

Food, music, dance.

Yeah, I've been in Miami, but it's different in the country itself.

What are the people like? Friendly? Warm? Beautiful? Ugly?

What are the accents like?

I expect a more balanced population than Cubans.

Cuba's a fairly large island.

The Cuban people are warm, if etc.

It's a very sensory country.

People eat ice cream, greet neighbors, ride bikes, etc.

In Cuba, you can have a pleasant style.

Long day!

Did some thinking. Decided finally to leave Bayamo Tuesday, not Monday. Rested.

Walked around, found some disappointing food choices. I've seen a few "cerveza a granel" (beer from a huge container). They say 750 ml for 3.50, which is like two cans of beer for 15-20 cents US.

Walked around different parts of town than I've seen. Didn't know much about Bayamo before arriving. I hadn't thought of going, didn't even know it existed until recently. I just decided to go recently because of its location on the way to my departure airport from Santiago de Cuba, where I was.

Hot, sunny day. I've recently run out of sunblock. I don't have much cash left, so I've just been playing jump among the shadows. Burned my face and neck somewhat, like a redneck.

Went online. The only place was quite noisy. After working for a while, managed to confirm the details of my flight. Also, booked an Airbnb for tonight, and an Airbnb for my first night in SJ, PR! :)

Went for more of a walk. Bought fifteen pieces of cake from a street vendor, for around $1 US total. The food prices are ridiculously inexpensive here, although it can be tough to find food, at least food that one wants. I'd been craving cake, particularly moist chocolate cake, for a while.


Cubans are very efficient, by the necessity of scarcity. Highway posters proclaim efficiency. Cubans ride bicycles. Cuban food often uses large amounts of staples like wheat and sugar, with enough of the flavorings like chocolate or cheese to give a sense, instead of loaded with the more expensive chocolate or cheese like in the US.


Cuban products are harsh on teeth: sugar, tobacco, coffee, etc. I've hardly seen floss for sale. I have seen numerous toothless Cubans.


After walking while eating some of the cakes, I felt satisfied. That, plus the bookings, I felt like it was my lucky day!


As I kept walking, I felt someone bump into me. I maneuvered to let the person by, but instead the person seemed to bump into me more. I felt pressure on my laptop bag, which also contained my phone, wallet, passport, and more.


I realized that the person was trying to take my laptop bag. An Afro-Cuban had run up from behind me, grabbing the bag. The shoulder strap caught on my arm. I wrestled the bag towards my side, while he kept trying to take it and run. I started yelling to leave it. We traded blows. As he grabbed at my glasses, the head strap kept them on my face.


On a small unpaved side street, we fought. After a short while, a passerby was saying "socio, socio." I had seen the person repeatedly in my recent walking through the area. I thought that maybe it was a setup, with the two of them attacking me. Then I felt the pressure on the laptop bag release.


The second person was talking to the attacker. As they talked, I adjusted my laptop bag, picked up an object that had fallen to the ground that looked like my phone, and walked away.


After rounding a corner, walking some more, I looked more carefully at what I had. My laptop bag remained intact, unopened, with my phone and other possessions inside. The other object was a wallet, containing the ID of the attacker and the equivalent of around 25 cents US. The attempted robber lost his wallet!

I think that fighting back, yelling, having some awareness of the situation and the laptop bag, etc., contributed to the defense. Also, I had read previously, I can't remember exactly where, travel advice to carry items in a bag with a shoulder strap in addition to hand holds. I think that keeping objects tightly affixed can prevent problems.

I'm now backing up photos and stuff from the phone. I'd meant to do so a while ago. Had kept putting it off, was finally going to tonight.


I'm thankful to have the laptop bag. After all that work, I would have had no passport, laptop, phone, wallet. Maybe I would not have made it onto the flight. At the least it would have caused serious annoyances.


I think I should carry some important items separately, even if I do use them often such that it would be convenient to keep them together in the laptop bag.

I'm finding it hard to stay hydrated in Cuba. Even if I drink as much water as my body can hold, it dissipates so quickly that by later that day I'll feel severely dry again.

I think I've been in Cuba for over a month and a half.