Trinidad, Cuba IV - Last Post

Thursday, May 16, 2013

We never had to worry about money as much as we did in Cuba, not even during our 6 month trip abroad. Our American credit cards don't work in Cuba, so we had to bring all our spending money in cash as we entered the country. We didn't expect things to be as expensive as they were, and the last few days we counted our dollars after every meal and seriously debated whether to get mojitos or not (hard decision to make when they're so good and fresh). Our last dollar paid for the cab ride to the airport, where we slept the last night (it was an early morning flight). After a few hours of restless sleep, I was desperate for a cup of coffee and couldn't scrounge up enough coins. So typical to want what you can't have, isn't it? I was so happy when I found free hot water at a cafe and realized I had tea bags with me (always a good idea when traveling). I enjoyed that tea immensely and couldn't wait to get out of Cuba. The country felt so foreign and disconnected from the world, and I was tired of worrying about whether we'd run out of cash. The fact that we couldn't withdraw any more money and had no internet in Cuba (not just to communicate with friends, but to look up information... we are constantly googling stuff when traveling) were both new to us while traveling. It's a valuable experience for any traveler.

Overall our impression of Cuba was a pleasant one. The crumbling pastel buildings, the warm sea, and the slow lifestyle where almost every front door is wide open and people sit around on the sidewalk chatting the day away, are all things I will never forget. We felt so fortunate to see the country before the US embrago ends and things start changing. It was refreshing not to see any McDonalds or Hiltons or other large chains, and instead visit small Cuban restaurants and stay with local families. We loved the lack of modern advertisement and enjoyed the hand painted signs and propaganda. We liked being disconnected from our phones and the internet and the modern world, though maybe not at the time. We took some of our very favorite photos in Cuba and are so thankful for the kind people there that welcomed us into their lives and allowed us to take images of them home with us.

Down below we share a crazy story about our last taxi ride and a sea of crabs. Scroll down to read.

This marks our last post from Cuba. Next we will share photos from our recent trip to Iceland!

- Julia

A couple parting photos from our last apartment in Trinidad.
Almost every door and window in Cuba has metal bars covering it, though it's hard to believe they're really needed for protection.
We rented bikes and rode down to the beach one day. The water was warm, the bottom perfectly sandy, and the crowds nonexistent. Note the blue skies and see how quickly the weather changes below.
As we saw black clouds rolling in, we left the beach and hurried home on our bikes. 
Then I got a flat tire and it started raining.
A truck full of workers took pity on us, loaded our bikes, and gave us a ride into town. What a relief! As soon as we got in the truck, the heavens let loose and the rain just poured down.
Looking out the back of the truck, we watched giant puddles and rivers flow down the streets.
So thankful for these guys! We could say little more than "thank you" to them in Spanish.
After the rain, many people seized the opportunity to sweep their porches and clean the dirt and dust that had gathered in the hot weather.
We hired a driver to take us from Trinidad to the airport in Havana. We left close to sunset and didn't know what was in store. Turns out we had to drive through a sea of crabs to get out of Trinidad. We learned that for a couple weeks every spring, millions of female crabs migrate from their forest home to the coastline to lay eggs in the Caribbean Sea. Unfortunately, they have to cross the highway in order to get there, and after they hatch, the baby crabs must then cross the highway to get to the forest. The crabs have an instinctive ability to trace the changing tidal patterns of the sea, and will reproduce no matter what obstacles they need to cross. Sadly, hundreds of crabs get crushed on the road beneath traffic. If you drive slow and try to dodge them, the crabs pinch and pop the car tires. You can see an incredible video of what we experienced here. We were driving pretty fast so good photos were hard to get.

19 comments :

  1. I've loved following along with your Cuba posts; the colors of the buildings are always so beautiful. Can't wait to see your Iceland photos!

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  2. I've loved following along with your Cuba posts; the colors of the buildings are always so beautiful. Can't wait to see your Iceland photos!

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  3. i feel sad for those little crabs... :(

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    1. Val - I do too! There has to be a way to protect them! Imagine being in the car... - Julia

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  4. I know what you meant when talking about the lack of connections to the modern world in Cuba, especially the no internet thing. It drove me nuts while being there because I couldn´t be in touch with family and friends back home. Other than that, it´s one of my fave country because of all the warmness there (weather and people alike!). The slow lifestyle is a plus, as well!

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  5. I have always dreamt of visiting Cuba with my grandfather, your posts will come in handy when we make the decision to go!

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  6. Beautiful shots as always! I'm glad you managed to go to Cuba before things change rapidly. Ahh, I wish you had more time in Indonesia because it often makes me curious how people take the pictures of my home country with different perspectives. More often than not I'm quite surprised with how little things that I know might look different in pictures. Again, great job with your Cuba posts!

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  7. must own both blue cars...

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  8. Wow this is so amazing. Thank you for painting such a beautiful picture of the things you experienced! I love following along your travels:) love Katie

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  9. Nice photographs!

    Luckily for the red crabs on Christmas Island (Australia), people have built bridges and tunnels for the crabs so they can avoid getting smashed by cars on the road. Cuba should do the same. :-)

    Bridge:
    http://media.treehugger.com/assets/images/2011/10/crab-bridge.jpg

    Tunnel:
    http://lh3.ggpht.com/-f5v-otjUjLo/TsU0_u43JkI/AAAAAAAASDw/lVXtEDCtQQ8/red-crab-migration-9%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800

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  10. Isn't Trinidad beautiful? My husband and I just went there a few weeks ago. We sailed our boat into Cienfuegos and then rented motor bikes to take to Trinidad overnight. I literally copied the photo of your casa particular onto my desktop, thinking I'd walk around town asking if anyone knew where it was, but some 'Parking Offical' led us to a restaurant that we ended up staying at. We also got caught in one of those huge storms while biking back to Cienfuegos, although we weren't lucky enough to be picked up from the side of the road. Glad you enjoyed your time there.

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  11. Your photos are amazing. You've made it look so beautiful there. And those crabs on the road are ridiculous! I can't believe that! I think I would feel bad for squishing them.

    Lauren
    www.millermemoires.com

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  12. i love to read about your travels, how free you do your visits to foreign countries... but I also wonder how you could move in cuba for several weeks without facing any dangers? (this might sound silly, but i'm really thinking much about danger while reading about your wonderful experiences) isn't Cuba kind of dangerous?

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  13. I just discovered your blog, and I love it! The photos are wonderful. Very inspiring :)

    -Karina

    www.seeingbeautyblog.com

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  14. That's so fascinating about the crabs. Cuba looks like a beautiful colourful country.

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  15. that crab migration is nuts! and you look smokin in that white one piece.

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  16. Every one of these is just beautiful. Love the photos of you hitching a ride from the rain, and of the crabs. What a neat thing to witness. These are all gorgeous, Eric & I have always wanted to go to Cuba, these photos do nothing but reenforce that thought.

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