We had a very lazy start to the day and didn’t go to breakfast until after 9am. Deb and I then had a wander around the orchid gardens that were close to the hotel, avoiding the coach parties of Germans as we went. They had some beautiful flowers and some very interesting steps up and down the garden about which the health and safety organisations in our respective countries would have had apoplexy!
Once we had finished wandering, it was about an hour’s drive from Vinales, our home for the next couple of nights.
Our guide was quite keen to have lunch somewhere but we decided that rather than waste time on this, we would have a street pizza and then go to the Caves of the Indians. So, we bought the exceptionally cheap cheese and ham pizza and stood on the side of the road eating it, whilst trucks and tractors passed by belching black smoke. A tasty addition to our food!
Pedro drove us up to the caves and they then both waited for us whilst we joined the bus load upon bus load of French and German tourists inside the caves.
Unfortunately, until we started queueing to catch the boat for the 3 minute tour of the caves, we didn’t realise quite how many people were there already. Obviously the Cubans haven’t considered restricting the numbers entering the caves at any one time. It did mean we had ample time to examine every inch of the rock formation though. On our way in, there were a few Indians, comprising a couple of women looking totally bored sitting next to a camp fire and a couple of men who were allowing the tourists to play with a tree rat.
We rejoined Pedro and Tony, who drove us back into town so we could have a wander. This inevitably led to a drink in a bar in the plaza where a band managed to play 3 songs before passing the hat around and needing a rest. We drifted off to find another bar and ended up chatting to a local builder and his young rastafarian friend, who taught drama to young people. He made us each flowers out of silver paper from a cigarette packet, which was very clever, we thought, after 3 mojitos!
We had arranged to meet the men at a restaurant at 7pm so reluctantly left the bar, where the conversation (in Spanish) had been quite entertaining, and went to join them. Dinner was quite good, very European and cheap. The toilets were fantastic! There were seats, paper, water, soap and a hand drier. What more could a person want? Our driver was so impressed that he took photos. It has to be said here that not all Cuban toilets are made equal and many of them are seatless and paperless and about 70% are even water less (cistern and/or sink) so there is a certain amount of joy when you find everything you need.
By the end of the meal, the others had become embroiled in a game, in Spanish, they had been playing on their phones, which eventually annoyed me. We had thought of going to the bar afterwards to listen to some music but ended up going home instead as there didn’t appear to be too much happening in town.