Daisy stared at me from behind the bars of her enclosure, curious, willing me to come closer. Robust and healthy, she looked just like the owls I saw in the wild a few weeks ago. The difference? Daisy can’t fly, can’t hunt, and thus can’t survive in the wild. So she’s here, at the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL), a non-profit raptor and owl rescue centre that takes in injured and orphaned birds of prey.
I sighed as once more I yanked my shoes off before making my way slowly into the water. Stepping carefully, I made my way to the other side of the river, trying not to let the current knock me over. I emerged from the water onto the muddy bank and jammed my feet into my shoes. I’d given up on socks three crossings ago and there was no point in bothering to lace my shoes up tight, because just ahead I could see the trail descending to the river once again.
In my travels around the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico I got completely hooked on the food. I loved the simple but vibrant flavours, the freshness of ingredients, and the versatility of the simple tortilla! This meant that by the time I got to San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas state I was actively searching for someone to teach me how to make authentic Mexican food. And I found it!
Imagine hiding out in the mountains, without electricity, running water, or a consistent food supply. It’s damp and chilly at times, and your hut is made only of thin slabs of wood and a thatched roof. Surrounding your hideaway are soldiers sent by your country’s military to ‘eliminate’ you. You live in a state of caution, immediately alert to sounds from outside of your camp, speaking only in whispers lest you give yourself away. And you’re doing this for more than a year.
I waited politely, until the food was served to everyone, the introductions were done and the chef had told us exactly what we were about to eat. I even waited until we’d all taken our pictures. And then I lifted the Bao Chicka Bao Bao to my mouth and took a bite. And wow. I knew immediately that I would be dreaming of this food for years to come.
“Eeet’s mees-teee,’ Maria says, “Eeet’s coooo.” She flashes a huge grin when I say yes, it’s misty and cool. We are talking about the top of the mountain, while we are waiting at the bottom of it for our ride. Here it is definitely neither misty nor cool, and the four of us have been loitering here for an hour already. There is no sign of any bus, but I am having a great time.
I didn’t find Cuba to be the easiest place to travel. Although things are changing fast, there are still difficulties in terms of availability of goods, customer service, and communications. So after spending 37 days in Cuba I feel like I have some advice to offer that will make your trip easier and more enjoyable! Read my Cuba travel tips and learn from my experiences for a great trip!
Before I went to Cuba I spent a long time trying to answer one question: As a solo traveler, what would be the cost of travel in Cuba for 37 days? I saw estimates everywhere from 25 CUC all the way up to 80 CUC per day! The real number fell somewhere in between those. Check out this article for a full breakdown of all my expenses in Cuba, as well as ideas on how I could have saved some money!
The girl emerged out of the darkness, clad in a bright orange 80’s style evening gown complete with puffy sleeves and long white gloves. She looked around nervously, and I gasped as I heard the opening piano notes. No, it couldn’t be. She raised the microphone and began to sing in a strong Spanish accent. “At first I was afraid, I was petrified….” It was, and I couldn’t stop laughing. This was Cienfuegos, and this was not what I had expected.
Transportation in Cuba can be complicated. There are lots of different options with pros and cons in terms of cost, speed, comfort, and convenience, and it can be mind-boggling to think about! I’m going to give you a breakdown of each method of independent travel in Cuba so you can decide for yourself!