Some setbacks in Havana (Cuba)

Despite the first lesson learned …

I arrived at Varadero in poor condition. Nauseous (Meeting with Ms. Sunstroke …), cranky and tired by what had happened to me the last 3 days in Havana.
To make it short:


♦ Eventful days in Havana …♦

The history of luggage that I passed the airport … (Yes …)
– I met Lazaro a Bici-Taxi driver who has managed to make me spend 260 euros in 3 days is almost the budget that I had planned for 8 days (I remember that the average salary is 20 euros / month in Cuba …): 30 pesos the race to get to the center ( almost 30 euros) while on average it is 10 pesos but guaranteeing me a journey off the tourist track (which I avoided) passing places where one feels forced to buy the cd of rumba 10 pesos (it’s for the construction of a school for children …), its drinks (6 pesos Daiquiri Floridita, a Cuban pays nothing, he has no means I recall…)
– But where Lazaro was very strong that he convinced me to live a 100% Cuban experience by dining in living in a clandestine restaurant, a « paladar », accompanied by Tino, a young Cuban 23 years and Sandie a French 20 years I had met at the airport. In a « casa particular », one is supposed to eat for 10 pesos max, cheaper than an « official restaurant » by the Routard.
We were served a lobster, tomato-cucumber salad and black rice in a small closed room, veiled windows red curtain old feel, separated by a screen where the owners were watching the big TV. Clandestino … what.
The rating is a big, salty surprise when you come to dinner at the « Currant » in an outdated decor that smells of mothballs: 119 pesos and therefore 120 euros … 2 Cuban who barely touched their food. We understand why they are doing doggy bags and we routardes French, we did not have enough money to pay the bill. The owners are furious and Lazaro to calm the game offers to leave our passports and get money at the hotel. Returning to give shortfall disgusted at having been fooled as well. There’s no way I continue the evening with them. But Sandie remember we went out with them in the hope of living a real true evening « traditional » Cuban in Havana.

– Ah yes that’s right …
1 h in the morning ‘, the 2 jokers I am suspicious like the plague brings us to the Casa de la Musica. I pay for all the entry by displaying well my displeasure. Inside glue Lazaro pushes me and I continually. It also insists that pass the night together this big sick. I’m pretty disappointed with the atmosphere of the evening which is simply that of a Western club with bad music and Dance raggamufin. Nothing to do with the authentic Cuban atmosphere that I made myself. I am also surprised to see so many girls to vulgar attitudes, however there are almost no tourists. We are not super comfortable with Sandie and God knows that I know the nightclubs. I want to go for a drink but I did not want to pay for everyone. So, I take advantage of going to the bathroom to slip away but Lazaro following us. It’s a bit his cows also …
I take advantage of a moment when he lost sight of us and say,
–  Let’s go !
– Ok! Me Sandie replied.
There is a crazy world, difficult to move forward in the crowd, that’s where I feel a « pull bag ». Mine, what. As soon as I get it, I open it and wham more camera. I just got a flying device that I have not yet paid. We go out and front of the box, Tino fetches Lazarro whether it was he who had the device, I told him not worth it, frankly the balls that go get him, because I was looking to escape the man and break me without his knowledge. And here I am told that if I give 50 euros the bouncer, he finds me the camera. « Oh !!!! It not feel big scam, full nose … Mr. sayest »
I decide to run but wonder Lazaro money for the restaurant.
– Huh? What! But we paid a while ago! I cried.
He made his cocker head to show me that money is not in its portfolio. This moron wants to extort us money but it is in a way not very cunning. Even Tino is surprised by his lie, he does not trust him either not knowing the long time.
– We gave it to you at the hotel! Fuck!
Yes I get angry.
And I began to type his pockets to see if it is not he who stole my sweet camera. It is empty but dodge by 3 steps back as soon as freelancing I want searched.
– Where is the police station? I want to go now to make a declaration of theft!
– There are no police in Cuba me he replied warily.
No police. The joke…

Lazaro grabs a taxi, puts us in but once inside, I open the opposite door and takes Sandie out by the hand to the other side of the taxi. He told us to come back.
-You Approaches you, I call the police!
In fact, the word « police » they freak out, I saw it in their eyes. The magic word, Cuban afraid to deal with it. He declined, saying « No police« , I say « If so » and I start screaming police in the street and they stand in pronto.
We do not try to drag and quickly find another taxi because the atmosphere decrepit building, not a soul except transvestites is not super reassuring for two small girls like us.


♦ I promised, I wanted to short … ♦

Well all this was not so short, but I could do it longer …
And I can not tell my mom will increasingly fall into either fried or trigger ORSEC when I franchirais the door on my next boarding …
Looking back, I recognize my mistakes: he had to negotiate the price of taxi bici, know in advance the price of the Cuban restaurant, etc. When in doubt, he must go, follow her impressions. It is sometimes difficult to judge because things early and be pleasantly surprised in the end we can feel bad. My taste for the unexpected and adventure pushes me to go off the beaten track. But I have more trust my intuition instead of going blind.
Living in Cuba after the Backpacker’s guide costs less, we are much more expensive than being paid in tourist areas (restaurant, taxi, bar). Even the taxi back to the hotel cost me just 5 CUC.
The next day, I left a tip for the maid so that she does not report that I hosted Sandie who was visiting Havana for one night, in my room at 3 XXL beds without notifying the staff. Not want to still pay something …
The declaration of the theft to the police it was not a bit of fun either.
Subsequently, more news from Sandie, despite my reminders. Not cool. But perhaps she would not have to deal with me. Anyway, I wanted at least she sends me a picture taken the next day with a Cuban I had paid to ask. It would have been the least of it but good. Ungrateful, he’s everywhere …

This story introduces well my state of mind and the lesson I learned before going to other cities.
Following soon … with a happy ending at the end 🙂