Our Monthly Wrap #5: 27 October 2014 – 26 November 2014

Sorry for the delay in this post, however we were lacking in internet in Cuba!

It feels like we managed to cram in quite a bit into this months’ 31 available days, despite spending 9 days concluding our Spanish studies in Guatemala and another 3 days on the beach near El Cuco, El Salvador.

The remaining days were spent on many buses visiting many towns/cities and included our first flights since the 27th of June!

Countries Visited:                           4             (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador & Cuba)

This was looking like there’d only be the 3 that we’d get to before a slight revision to our route saw us squeeze in a small corner of Honduras before our trip to Cuba.

We’ll get back there and check out some more after we fly back to San Salvador, post Cuba.

Posing away at Sumpango's Festival of the Kites

Posing away at Sumpango’s ‘Festival of the Kites’

Cheapest Bed:                                 Hotel Josue, Gracias, Honduras $200.00 Lempira ($10.87AU)

A basic room in a pretty boring town, truth be told…

Most Expensive Bed:                     Casa de Alexis y Mary, Havana, Cuba $30.00 CUC ($35.83AU)

We could have gone and stayed out in the suburbs, but for our first Cuban experience, we really wanted to situate ourselves in the heart of Habana Viejo (Old Havana).

With a central location and crumbling charm, this place certainly fit the bill!

In the heart of Casa de Alexis y Mary

In the heart of Casa de Alexis y Mary

Highlight:                                          Releasing baby Turtles into the Pacific at La Tortuga Verde

There were a few candidates this month. Grown men flying kites in huge numbers (at the Festival de Sumpango) comes to mind, as well as the unique experience that was diving in Lake Atitlan.

But the thrill that came from releasing tiny, just hatched turtles into the ocean, trumped them all!

Doing our bit for the little guys!

Doing our bit for the little guys!

Lowlight:                                           The hustlers in Cuba

It’s such a shame that it is so difficult to just talk to anybody in Cuba, everybody is out to make a CUC (the tourist currency) off any travellers they meet.

This is usually along the lines of “You want (insert Cigars, Rum, Buena Vista Social Club here)? I know a place, cheap price” or “special anniversary today only.”

Favourite New Food:                     Ropa Viejo, Havana, Cuba

There may not be a plethora of options in Cuba, but this, the stuff that was in the original ‘Sloppy Joes’ is damn tasty indeed!

Best Beer:                                         Pilsener, El Salvador

True, it may be the type of beer, but it’s also the name of this drop from El Salvador. Certainly better than the breweries premium label offering, Suprema, and one of the better beers we’ve indulged in in months.

Most impressive Church:              Iglesia El Rosario, San Salvador, El Salvador

Think communist era, concrete horror, and that pretty much sums up the exterior of this relatively contemporary church.

Wander inside however, take in the colours cast from the stained glass, and you’ll see why this place is pretty magical…

The beauty within…

The beauty within…

Bucket List Items:                           Visit Cuba before the end of the Castro era

New Bucket List Items:                  Be in India for the Holi festival

Highest Elevation:                          2400m Xela (Quetzaltenango), Guatemala

Days in thongs (flip flops):           25

A slightly misleading statistic again this month, as 3 of these days were spent on the ocean front sands of El Cuco where no footwear was necessary (I wore my flip-flops for a couple of the days).

We both certainly wore shoes for what was a rather cold day (at least the morning period) at the Festival de Sumpango!

UNESCO Sites:                                 7 (Antigua (again!), Copan Ruinas, Joya de Ceren, Old Havana, Urban Historic centre of Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Historic centre of Camaguey)

Another bumper month on this front, with locations across four different countries (and one of those being a second visit).

Was there a pick of the bunch? Probably Old Havana.

Coming to grips with Cuba in Havana

Coming to grips with Cuba in Havana

Number of towns:                          29

Number of beds:                            17

Nights in transit:                             0

Randoms:          

  • Several people in Guatemala have obviously seen enough of a resemblance with the current size of my beard to attempt to garner my attention by shouting out “Osama!”
  • As far as fast food goes, you better love fried chicken if some grease tickles your fancy. In some towns in Honduras and El Salvador it was all you would see, the town of San Rosa boasting 4 individual shops and stalls within 100 metres!
  • When it can cost a person $5.00 US to travel almost the length of the country and lunch can be bought for $1.00 US, accommodation can feel disproportionately expensive in El Salvador (at times $10.00 US per person for a bed).
  • Marc Anthony’s song ‘Vivir Mi Vida’ is the official song of our first 5 months after hearing it across 6 countries (I don’t recall it in the US)!!
  • Although there is the occasional bit of restoration work (usually somewhere that has UNESCO money coming in), in our first week, not a single new building has been sighted in Cuba!
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