Poor Mitch got detained in the Havana airport as he was bringing in a lot of donated cameras for the local art college, after many hours of flight delays. He got four hours sleep last night. I slept about nine hours! Was woken up by singing, slamming doors, and a lot of birds singing very loudly. The breakfast was okay… it will be the same for many days. Everything has ham in it. I guess they are pretty excited about eating meat again after so many years of not having any (the Special Period, 1991 or so, after the Soviets pulled out and left them high and dry). They were boiling shoe leather and lost a third of their body weight during that time… it was pretty sketchy for the people. So I will be eating Corn Flakes and icky oranges for a week. I experienced the Cuban “no” this morning. I wanted butter with my bread, and couldn’t see any and asked two people if there was butter. They looked confused and then said no. A third person, the manager I think, asked me what I wanted and I told him, and then he took me to the back table where there was piles of butter! Lesson learned. Ask five people and maybe you will get the answer.

We had an air conditioned bus this morning which was pretty fancy, which took us downtown to the capitol building. Unfortunately it’s undergoing restoration which means it’s covered in scaffolding. Apparently the city has changed quite a bit in the past few years. The cars …. oh the cars… are getting snazzed up as the people are now allowed to do private tours for money (legally) so they have money to do paint jobs etc. On our free day we’re going to hire a taxi for an hour tour, in an old convertible. It’ll be fun!

The people in my group are all retirees, which is a little challenging for me, as I normally hang out with young people. I was by far the youngest person in the group.

I got some sun today. It was a warm 25 degrees or so… not too hot but I got a headache from squinting into my viewfinder.

The pizzeria in the hotel is actually quite good. I was expecting very bad pizza. Except they were out of water, onions, peppers and didn’t serve mojitos. I did however have a $1 “fuerte” beer… I was trying to figure out the word for “fuerte” and then it hit me. The word first, then the beer. “strong”. lol.

Tonight is a band or something at 8:00 then the synchronized swimmers come and do a show! lol. That is the evening entertainment.

I’m getting hungry hungry. A few more minutes until the dinner buffet. Same same but different.

Oh and I left 2 CUC’s on the pillow for the maid and she left me the sweetest note! I wanted to make sure she looked after me. As my laptop is hidden under the bed and the lock is super dodgy.

The band was wonderful… four women who were very talented. One had a “tres”, which is a six string guitar, one woman with a guitar ? (can’t remember), one with a flute and castanets, and the main singer who also had two small hand drums and a foot pedal with a tinny drum thing (?). Which kept breaking. They covered some songs from the Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack and some other songs which I did not recognize.

At 9:00 PM the lights went on by the pool and the synchronized swimmers came out. It was quite a show! There were about six or seven girls, and five dudes. There were a number of costume changes and the costumes were quite elaborate. One had a flamenco theme, one was a Can Can theme, one bolero theme, and the others were very sparkly elaborate things. They were really quite good. They were flinging each other around quite a bit. One girl with big thighs was the best one; she was the star I could tell.

I tried to order a mojito, but they didn’t have mint, so the bartender made me a rum drink with sugar, lime juice, soda and rum. It was okay, but very strong! I got quite drunk off it. 2.50 CUC’s. The bartender did not measure the rum…. she just poured it for a while.

Then I went to bed.

Was awoken at 1:30 by torrential downpours and huge cracks of thunder. Put my earplugs and went back to sleep.