THE WAY YOU get around in Cuba.

THE WAY YOU get around in Cuba.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bowdoin College student Bridgett McCoy took a trip to Trinidad, Cuba, Brunswick’s sister city in the Caribbean Sea, plus a few stops along the way. Here is an excerpt from her blog.

Hi there!

Sorry it’s been so long, I got slammed with schoolwork as soon as I got back. I’m working on turning the notes I wrote down on the trip into coherent prose, so it might take a little while for me to get you all of them.

Here’s a column from the first day:

20 Nov. 2013

I left for Trinidad in an unorganized hurry, calling bed-and-breakfasts until the last minute, virtually putting on my shoes as we left the residence.

We — four other students in my studyabroad program and I — had gone the week before to the two colonial cities, Cien- fuegos and Trinidad, but felt we wanted to see more. After taking a public carpool to the bus station, the other students took a last-minute bathroom trip while I bartered with the taxi drivers. One agreed to take all of us for about 12 dollars per person in his black 1950s Ford sedan for a trip that should have taken about three and a half hours, but the search for black-market gasoline (siphoned from state shipment trucks) made it just short of five.

In reality, there are far fewer trucks that ship goods than I expected. Trucks with dozens of faces peeking out of not so delicately repurposed trailers are far more common. The largest highway in the country, six lanes total, was only illuminated by the occasional stateowned truck stops and lights from the small family businesses trying to capitalize on hungry travelers.

The stars were the best I have seen since leaving Maine, a thick Milky Way with occasional red lights from abandoned sugar mills intermingling with tropical constellations.

We arrived at about 9:00 in Cienfuegos and checked into our little bed-and-breakfast. After checkout the, owner, a small woman in her 40s with matching royal blue Spandex shirt and capris, told us we might have butter the next morning because her husband was driving to Havana to pick up tourists — a nice example of smallscale vertical integration in a country without MBAs.

Although it was late, we were all pretty hungry. Wandering around the small city, there were few options still serving food, so we had to eat at a place with high prices. However, (the owner) left the kitchen to personally offer us discounts, right in tune with the Cuban hospitality and respect for education.

Full with cerdo asado and Cuban hospitality, we returned to the B&B to rest for our long day in Cuba’s little Paris.

Best, Bridgett

BLOG: http://bridgettosomewhere.tumblr.c om/

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