Alarm clock tried wake me up softly but insistently. I had to get ready for the trip to Trinidad, to pack things again and say goodbye to my host Anita.
Suddenly I heard some rustle behind the door. A white sheet of paper appeared on the floor under the door. I waited a bit until person behind the door went away and picked up the sheet. It was written: “4 nights, $ 60. Usually we take $ 80, but Sylvia give you a discount. Leave money and the key on the table when you will leave home. Anita.”
This news shocked me. Nobody told me that this place was a room for rent. Yes, I was a little doubtful about Anita because she did not show much interest in me, as is usually happens with normal couchsurfing, but people are different… So it was true that there is no couchsurfing on Cuba.
I had only one option – to escape. Silently I packed, trying to don’t make any noise, sat down on the bed and began to think. Explain the idea of Couchsurfing to Anita in my poor Spanish seemed not a very smart idea to me as well as argue with her. It was better to act with cuban methods.
I sent a message to Anita that I will be back by 1p.m and left a fake bag as luggage prepared for a trip to Trinidad, then I left the house. I told her that I will drop the rest of my stuff at my friend’s apartment. The plan didn’t sound very trustful (I would not have believed myself), but I was counting on the fact that no one expected me to escape.
Anita was not at home. I came downstairs on the trembling legs. She was sitting on a bench by the house.
My tongue didn’t want to move and I murmured “Regresoooo”, but Anita only nodded without paying attention and did not even find it strange to walk at 8 a.m. with two huge backpacks.
I ran to the bus. For some reason, this day the line to the bus was endless. I was dying of the heat and fear of chasing, but didn’t have any other option than to wait.
The first bus came, but there was not room for me in it. Same story with the next one. And another one… I flopped onto the ground in the shadow and sent a message to my friends (who were already supposed to get in a taxi) to pick me up from my place.
Every half an hour they sent a promise that they will arrive soon. The bus stop was right in front of the house and I expected Anita to appeared from round the corner any minute… People came to me to ask if everything was ok with me (as i was sitting more than two hours at the bus stop).
The most inconspicuous escape in the world.
The taxi driver, with whom we agreed to go to Trinidad, also turned out to be a Cuban by nature, and he also decided to cheat us. Promising to arrive at 9, he called back at 9:30, when everyone was ready to go and asked for a price two times higher.
Expectation that people would be confused and agree to pay more, did not work with russians. He was advised from the whole wide Russian soul to go to very eerie and indecent places.
Guys urgently had to go look for another taxi driver. After some time they found one. To don’t make me more nervous, they wrote me every half an hour that everything is fine.
Finally the taxi stopped in front of me, I run inside it and slammed the door. Looked back. Anita did not chase me. Successful escape!
Three hours in a beautiful old American car to the Caribbean sea, my favorite music in headphones and philosophical reflections about my strange journey. I do not even know if I can call it a round-the-world trip because it can go round or zigzagging, it can last a year or five, or I can get stuck somewhere in Amazonia for a couple of years or … who knows what will happens.
Plans at some point just stopped functioning in my life. I would like to make them, but they do not work. I never know what chance I will get in the next minute, whom I will meet on my way, what a crazy idea will visit my head tomorrow. Improvisation is way easier and better copes with the situation.
I feel right with all decisions I had taken. If they were stupid or not, I learned a lot from every situation. I’m curious to explore life, people, world. But this new feeling of complete freedom and life only for the present moment is still doesn’t fit in my head and make me reflect in adventure-free time.
Surprises did not finish yet. The taxi for some reason drop us only to Cienfuegos, a city about an hour and a half from Trinidad. I was in a Buddha mood and accepted all crazy turns of fortune this day. Well, whatever the hell is this town, let it be Cienfuegos. Town, where I would never go on purpose.
This city was founded not by the Spaniards, like other cities in Cuba, but by the French, in 1819. Soon it became very rich because of plantations of sugar cane. The city is listed in UNESCO.
The area around the beach, Punta Gorda, full of expensive villas. On the rooftop of the most luxurious one you can go for free and get a lovely view on the sea. The building by itself is gorgeous.
I liked Cinfuegos. There is nothing special about it, no great attractions, but it’s quiet, clean and cozy. No one pay attention on you, don’t offer tours/help/cigars on every corner.
Local people, as we have noticed, all the time sit downstairs near the entrance to their houses and just stare at each other. We decided to stay for a while Cubans and also stared to nowhere. It was relaxed and nice evening.