“The goal is to die with memories not dreams”
We arrived at the harbour entrance at about 9 am and was greeted by the sight of the Castillo del Morro sitting as a sentinel high on the hill. As we made our way to the dock for check in we also passed the Cayo Granma, a little island with brightly coloured houses. It was a very quick check in process, only Andrew went ashore and nobody boarded to inspect our boat. The whole process probably took less than an hour. We departed from the jetty and anchored nearby.
We decided to go and explore Santiago, Max had a headache and didn’t want to go, so Ava stayed with him, while Andrew, Tristan and I went with Noel our English speaking, with a slightly Russian accent, Cuban taxi driver.
We needed Cuban cash and all the banks were closed with a fumigation sign, turns out there was power outage. Andrew ended up getting a small amount of cash from an ATM, our ordinary Citibank card (an American subsidiary) won’t work in Cuba. We wandered the streets, up and down hills and admired the Spanish churches and buildings and enjoyed the juxtaposition of the mix of modern and old Russian cars from the 60s, while hunger set in. We eventually found a restaurant selling local food and for about $7 AUD each, we had a good lunch. We slowly wandered back to meet Noel, who was waiting for us, turns out there is a time difference in Cuba and we were an hour late, oops.
Noel took us to another part of town where there was an exchange open so we could change some American dollars and pay our entrance fees into Cuba. We wound down the windows of Noel’s 1960s blue car and enjoyed watching the scenery and old cars pass us by. By the time we got back to the boat we were all a little tired from walking and the overnight passage the previous night.
Noel told us that his Dad bought the blue car for $4000 of local currency and then passed it down to Noel, it is now worth about $15 000. Owning a car means you can use it as a taxi and potentially make a lot of money.
Written by Karen