The bikes are, surprisingly, new and in great shape. They’re just he kind of bikes better suited for someone a good 8 inches shorter than me.
We had a hell of a time finding a place that dished out breakfast as we walked to the park to meet our tour at. You would think it’d be easier – a country celebrated for it’s coffee, might have a cafe. Our guide helps us out, drops us off at an inconspicuous patio with a window where we are massively overcharged by a woman with no patience for American tourists. I couldn’t blame her. I’d be upset at me too.
Javier, our guide, takes us up the Malecon and through the Marina at Old Havana. We cross the bay by ferry to Casablanca and grind up hills to see famous statues and monuments, fighting for space on the road with every tour bus, taxi and motorcycle. He takes us through the countryside of casablanca into Guaicanamar – one of the oldest neighborhoods on the island. The difference between this and Old Havana? The money didn’t necessarily flow this way when the Spanish held their rule. Guaicanamar served as a refuge from those still unsure about the settlers, the traders.
We’d been riding all morning through these old neighborhoods and their torn up streets. We stop for a moment at a small cantina – refreshing shade in a fenced in patio. We have a few beers and the nation’s staple: a cheese pizza, blanco queso, on something resembling a crust. It costs 25 cents and has absolutely no imagination behind it. It is absolutely everything that you would think it could be when you think of a communist pizza thoroughly regulated by the government.
Lord help these pizza-impoverished people.