Casa Eugenio was booked for Sunday night so I decided to switch from Havana Viejo to Havana Centro to experience life in a different neighborhood. I followed another Rough Guide recommendation and decided on Casa de Miriam y Sinai near the Chinatown neighborhood of the city. I celebrated the decision with Chinese food at Flor de Dragon since it is supposed to be the cheapest and most filling food found in the city. Tuba is not known for it’s cuisine – something probably not helped by the fact that the best food only goes to the most expensive hotels and the local places have to get by on rations.
Since it was after dark, I took a pedicab back to the casa. I was pleased and amused by the ride until another reminder of the government here reared its ugly head. My driver was pulled over by the local police because he doesn’t have the proper permit to carry tourists. I wasn’t aware of this fact when he offered me a ride and I distinctly remember the guidebooks saying that the fine for this was something like $300!!!!! I was near enough to my casa that the police told me to get out and walk while they talked to the driver. It gave me a sick feeling in my stomach, and reinforced that feeling of not knowing my place/what I’m allowed to do in Cuba.
On the way back to the casa, I came across Plaza Viejo. I noticed a group of men all dressed in white and they called me over to tell me they were in a band and taking a break between sets.
They urged me to grab a table and a beer and hear them regale me with a few songs. They were lively and fun and it was definitely worth the stop!
And some video:
Back at Casa Eugenio, I crawled into bed, happy to be off my feet and at “home” for the night.