Queuing in the cool offices of the immigration office along with a couple of dozen Cubans seeking passports, visa's etc was a fascinating experience. No taking a ticket from a machine and silent waiting here. You ask "Ultimo?" (Who's last) and keep an eye on that person to claim your place in the queue. Of course this fosters conversation and there is a good natured patience amongst the crowd.
Children seem to accompany their parents everywhere and there is a courtesy that is old-fashioned and charming between the more elderly residents. So far my first impressions are of smiles and the sound of laughter. The insistent beat of Cuban music. Pictures of Che Guevara EVERYWHERE. From the rooftop hoarding's to the merit badges on the smallest children's school uniforms.
We have found a reasonably stocked supermarket and an excellent fresh produce mercado. getting to grips with the two tier monetary system is a little more challenging. as visitors we are only supposed to use the tourist peso which is valued at 1 CUC to 0.80 US$. However the reality is that we also acquire Peso national which make shopping unbelievably cheap. A pound of lomito of pork is 25 peso national approx 1$!!
So we returned yesterday with large bags of fresh fruit and veg, fruit juices and meat. Nice to have access to fresh produce again. We have been living off ships stores for the last month.
Our eldest daughter Charlotte has returned to stay with us for another month so we are enjoying company on board yet again...
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