As soon as you get down of the plane the humidity in the warm air will welcome you to the Habana, Cuba. It was pretty weird, at least to me that haven’t traveled that much and actually because of the same I’m eager to go out and see the world, when I got to immigration at the airport to realize most of the security people, and the cleaning staff were all incredibly good looking women. In honor of the truth I must confess from then on my eyes opened widely during the rest of the trip.
I took a taxi that ended up letting me nowhere, the taxi driver didn’t recognized the place I asked him to took me, so as soon as I got off the taxi the excitement and nervousness got me bad. I walked around looking for the place I was supposed to get following a little printed back at home map and after I walked for almost one hour, have started to feel like going to the bathroom, have got lost for a moment, have got to the wrong place, have checked some probable hotels on the way if I didn’t find the right place, have found the place and discovered there were nobody there at the moment. I finally got back and ringed the bell for the 20th time half hour later and finally got an answer.
I contacted my host through Couchsurfing, when the door opened, this skinny 17 yo boy told me my host was gone, his mom, he asked me to come in and explained me she was outside the country and she had told him I was getting there, he showed me my room explained me some basic rules of the, any, house and next he just did one of the biggest acts of trust I’ve ever experienced from a complete stranger before this.
-Here are the keys, this one is from downstairs and this one is from the appartment.
I get that’s what Couchsurfing is about, although being the first time I used it, this was a super weird feeling, to realize a complete stranger is letting you stay at their place and giving you so much freedom and trust.
After he gave me the key, showed me how to open the tricky door and letting my things in my room I decided to went out on a walk and get something to eat so I just started walking trying to draw a mental map of what place I was comming from in reference to where I was going. I ended up at a small restaurant a kilometer away from the Malecon and the most common mistake happened to this unexperienced traveler.
I only asked for some sort of sandwich and when I tried to pay, the unkown, to me, currency took me by surprise. I’ll try to expain, there are two kind of currencies in Cuba, CUC (1.00) and CUP (0.99 Cents) at the moment. Back then the prices were pretty different one being much more valuable than the other, so basically I paid with the wrong currency, 50 CUC, or was it 5 CUC? I don’t even remember, instead of 50 CUP or whatever which ended up in something like a 30 dollars sanwich with a coke. The waiter, of course, didn’t say anything, he just took the money and I went away with another piece of sandwich I asked to go.
Next I went back to the Malecon and started walking and stopping from time to time, just enjoying the view. Thirty minutes later I realized I had no idea how to move further away but by foot and the places I wanted to go were pretty far. No need to say this trip was a month before Castro die, before Irma got there and flooded everything.