Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Trinidad of colors, vol. 1

It's about 7 hour bus-ride from Viñales to Trinidad. Somewhere along the way, about 3-4 hours after the last toilet stop, i started regretting for ever wanting to go to that wretched town. But then the bus arrived, my casa people found me, i found the toilet and everything was OK again.

And Trinidad is lovely, it truly is. There are lot's of tourists but they are not by far as annoying as the ones in San Cristobal de Las Casas or even the ones in Viñales. They don't seem to flock as much and generally behave less conspicuous. Also a lot of them go to the beach during the day, so in reality there's even less of them moving around. And if you walk away from the central area, you can go around for hours without seeing any of them at all.

Trinidad as mentioned before is lovely. The houses are predominantly low and colorful and people somehow differently kind and nice. When i was in the central city area, men addressed me as "Lady" or "Madam", when i walked in the side-streets of the city, i was "amiga" (girlfriend) and when i went very far out, i became "chica" (girl). It got quite usual that some passing caballero would say to me something like: "You are the sunshine of my day", which of course was a fluffy BS, but high points for effort and originality.

But locals "Trinidadians" really did seem somehow different than the folk i've met so far. I was walking on the street and a Cuban guy passed me with bananas in his hand. I asked where did he buy them from and he said the booth around the corner but unfortunately he had bought the last ones. Then he just asked me if i wanted some of his. And he just gave me half of his bananas, which were only about a kilo to begin with so not at all a lot. He didn't want money for them, didn't try to sell me anything or offer any services, he didn't even have much time to chit-chat. I would call that a random act of kindness and it was very nice.

Not to praise the locals too much, they can also be a bit sneaky. Once i was buying a cuban pizza from the street and there was a German couple in front of me. The sales guy charged them 1 CUC per pizza, which was about 5 times more than the actual price of 5 cuban pesos. When the sales guy saw a smirk on my face, he winked at me and when the tourists weren't watching he put his finger on his lips and hushed quietly. I don't know, maybe i'm being utterly disloyal to "my kind", but if you're dumb enough to pay 2 CUCs for two pizzas when the sign in front of you says: "Pizza con queso, 5 pesos" then you kind of deserve to get ripped off and it's not my place to save anybody. Plus, if to consider what they charge for food in usual cafes and restaurants, 2 CUCs was still a good price :).

As far as grocery shops are concerned, Trinidad is just as badly equipped as the rest of the cities i've been to so far. It doesn't seem to have a proper vegetable-fruit market either, locals just know who in the neighbourhood sells tomatoes, who cabbages etc. Street-food as such is again quite absent, minus the occasional pizza-booth or grease-dripping candy vendor. I went on a walk with a mission to find myself some vegetables so i could make a salad in the evening. If you stroll in the areas off the tourist-strip, then every once in a while you pass somebody who is selling tomatoes from his kitchen window or cucumbers on her porch. In one place there was a huge crowd and i went to see what all the hype is about. Turned out it was the local bakery and they were selling freshly baked buns. People were buying them mostly in bulk. This seemed definitely a place where tourists never go because many local guys got all puffed up and started pitching primitive stuff like: "Look at me, i'm a hot Cuban guy!" etc, in Spanish of course. I wasn't even given a chance to wait in the line with the rest of the people, because local guys kept letting me pass them. I was quite content standing and waiting with everybody else, it's not like had somewhere to hurry, but i wasn't even given a choice: every once in a while a guy just stepped aside and gestured me to go further.

Anyway, and these buns were truly heavenly. Soft and warm bread, very puffy as if full of air. And only 5 cuban pesos (about 2,5 EEK). I had a very cheap lunch that day, so i used the money i had "saved" on the most expensive internet ever, 1 hour cost 7 CUCs (about 90 EEK). And it was so sloooow. Plus somehow you were only allowed to open one browser window at the time. Total torture! Anybody who knows me can tell that my laptop's browser cache at home is always clogged by too many tabs opened. I don't even know how people can surf with only one window/tab at the time? It took me some time to circumvent the block and after that the browsing got much easier.

Painter painting in the art-shop, masterpieces created under your very eye

Me sitting on the central square

Local butcher selling his stuff. Can you imagine going to a meat-market in Estonia and grabbing a knife to cut exactly the kind of piece that you want.

He terribly wanted to get photographed, doesn't he look distinguished?
I'm still wondering what was that white stuff on his chest, i saw it on many guys actually.

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