TRAVELOGUE
Cuba

Havana

Prado Boulevard in Havana
Prado Boulevard in Havana
The last day I decide to stroll a bit through Havana. From Vedado I descend on Malecón and walk for 5 km to Prado Boulevard. A walk on Prado is very tedious since jineteros are most active right here. When a policeman sees that a jinetero disturbs a tourist it'll note jinetero's name. When a jinetero gets noted for the third time he can be punished. This doesn't seem to scare jineteros too much. So I walk near the Spanish embassy and then towards Plaza de Armas in the center of the old Havana. If you see a sympathetic old man in a suit, with a cigar in his mouth, and wish to take a picture, prepare dollars beforehand. All is payable here. For a certain protection from jineteros, dress simply (like Cubans do), and hide the camera if you have one. They'll try to sell you banknotes with Che Guevara on its face or even the local communist 2-page newspaper! I continue the walk in direction of south, through the poor quarters of Havana where there are no tourists at all, and no jineteros too.

The principle I use to handle jineteros is the following: when they ask me where I come from, I answer "soy de Cuba". They'll say they don't believe it and then I ask *them* where they come from. They'll naturally answer they're Cubans but I tell them I don't believe them because *I* am Cuban. This usually confuses them and they let go. But it happened to me once that an old man got angry on me believing I'm a Cuban living abroad who doesn't want to give a few dollars to poor Cubans in Cuba!

On the airport one has to pay a 25$ exit tax (in cash). In the plane I meet a group of Slovenians that traveled through Cuba by car for 3 weeks and a Slovak that's been learning Spanish in Havana for 4 months. And I've spent only 9 days on Cuba! We'll, next time I come I'll be ready to see more.

Cuba, hasta luego!

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Cuba: Cuba - introduction
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