Day 2: Exploring Havana

[If you’re just catching up, read about day one in Cuba here!]

Day Two: Exploring Havana

So like I said in the last post, I woke up feeling super groggy and sleepy after a restless night in the heat.  But it was nothing a little (or…a lot) of espresso couldn’t fix and some fresh air on the balcony.DSC_0089 DSC_0092 One of my favorite things about Cuba is the street life and the interaction between people.  Sitting on Yolanda’s balcony, you can see friends chatting, people walking to work or elsewhere, people talking from balcony to street, etc.DSC_0094 DSC_0113 DSC_0115 DSC_0110 DSC_0121 DSC_0124 s It’s so fascinating and always makes me wish that the United States had more of a face to face culture.  We are so quick to turn away, or to interact through screens, but there is so much to SEE.

Eventually, it was breakfast time!  Bread and hard-boiled eggs that Yolanda purchased especially for me!  Peanut butter was c/o Trader Joe’s and brought with us from los Estados Unidos.DSC_0100 DSC_0101

Our first full day in Havana was all about exchanging our U.S dollars for C.U.C and then plan out the rest of our trips.  We walked down to Diez de Octubre (the main street through La Vibora, which is where Yolanda lives), and crossed the street to catch la gua gua (the bus).DSC_0126 DSC_0142 DSC_0144 DSC_0139 DSC_0145 DSC_0147 DSC_0150 La gua gua-It’s a true Cuban experience.  Completely jammed pack with sweaty (but clean!) people.  You can oftentimes see the road through holes in the bottom of the bus and you’re a lucky duck if you end up next to a window.  My mom goes, “Tamara! Take a picture of me!!!”  Yeah, ok mom, with my free hand and my ability to balance on this rocking & shaking bus.  No problema.DSC_0156

While my mom and Yolanda waited in line (of course!) to exchange el dinero, I walked around and took pictures.  During this trip, I have a lot less pictures of mi madre and myself, and more of people/cars/things.  Here is the University of Havana, where my new Princeton friends (you’ll see them in future posts) are taking classes and studying for the semester.DSC_0166 DSC_0171 DSC_0177 DSC_0179 DSC_0229 DSC_0233 DSC_0234 DSC_0263 DSC_0270 DSC_0272 DSC_0275 DSC_0280 DSC_0282

Once that was done (nothing goes fast in Cuba- people kept telling my mom “tranquila…”…calm down).  We made our way to lunch at Cafe TV, which is a popular restaurant underneath a building called Focsa (spelling?).  We stopped at touristy craft market where I later bought shoes.DSC_0298 DSC_0301 DSC_0308

There were lunch options that came with a drink, main dish, beans & rice, plantains, and dessert.  So I had a beer, chicken, and the above sides 🙂DSC_0311 DSC_0312

And caramel ice cream (ish).

Thennnnn more walking with mama, while Yolanda went home.DSC_0315 DSC_0323I took a picture of this sign because I thought it was interesting how unappetizing the pictures were–ketchup on top of the burger bun?DSC_0319

We stopped to take pictures of brides and grooms in front of a church (??).  Yes, brides and grooms- every few minutes, a new car would pull up with a new bride and groom.  They all looked so happy!DSC_0337 DSC_0342

And more pictures: DSC_0343 DSC_0331 DSC_0325 DSC_0346