“Trinidad es como Saint-Tropez, un paraiso!” – says proudly the guy who drives us to Trinidad from Viñales. “We are there” I think, “Everything’s going our way”. After 5 hours of a rather tiring trip and several car changes where we are the only passengers, we make it to Trinidad, another place everybody wants to see in Cuba after Havana & Viñales, and marvels at.
We truly marvel at our hotel first. It’s a colonial palace, located near Plaza Mayor and we occupy the big room upstairs with a view on the city, it looks unreal. We are impatient to see the city. Its narrow, cobbled streets, bright colors and enormous windows immediately make me think about Trujillo, in Peru, it’s swarming with tourists as well. At first glance, the town seems dynamic, even rich. There are restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and shining, old American cars everywhere. The Cubans seem happy, wearing their Sunday best, sombreros, smoking cigars. It’s sunny and very hot. We decide to stay there 3 days, also impatient to visit Playa Ancon located at 10km from Trinidad, considered the most beautiful beach in that part of Cuba.
On the second day, we get away from the centre, curious to visit the only view point of the region. This is where the utopian image of Trinidad fades away. We are constantly harassed by Cuban people, trying to sell us something, asking for cosmetics, soaps, shampoo…and being very rude, even insulting at our non-response. We get to the view point and are literally forced by the man working there to have a guided tour with him. Something we’re not interested in at all, it was supposed to be our peaceful morning walk only but the man still insists in a very unpleasant way. At this stage of the travel, I don’t even hesitate to say that we cannot pay any money for this visit. His smile fades away too, we’ve already understood that there was nothing for free in Cuba, even his smile. But the show must go on.
I leave aside the fact that we pay lots of money for our first internet access “intent” as 20 minutes are not enough to check any single e-mail. We come back to the hotel and Sébastien explains to me that our host, aged Señora San Juan, has just scolded him because we didn’t say hello to her in the morning…Obviously, we left the hotel too early so couldn’t see her. I get really angry and face her immediately making her understand that she’s the one who’s being rude. “No hay problema Señorita” she says with a smile, but there’s a kind of a cold war between us till the end of the stay.
Then, we go to the beach. What can I say, Playa Ancon appears to be a great disappointment. Even the sand is artificial there. I discover the concrete beneath the sand, it’s painful to walk on it. I continue reading “The Life of Pi”, Sébastien goes to the water, let’s be less discerning while travelling :) The idyllic city centre of Trinidad is worth seeing really.
We try to leave Trinidad on the next day but there, the real troubles appear…
TO BE CONTINUED