Homage to Che
Santa Clara Travel Blog› entry 2 of 8 › view all entries
After 2 days in Havana we set off on to complete my must-see pilgrim to see Che Guevara's memorial in his adopted home town of Santa Clara. After leaving Havana in a tropical downpour and navigating the throngs at the bus station we were off.
While on the bus I collect my thoughts and made a few mental notes of some observations so far:
1. How good the tourist bus system is in Cuba, tickets are reasonable, buses are clean, new, air conditioned, have friendly English speaking staff for Spanish illiterates such as myself and run on time. After travelling on what can only be described as 'shit heaps' in India & Morocco, I felt a sense of guilt in travelling in such luxury. Although for the everyday Cuban the Astro buses seemed of a similar standard.
2. Even the short space of time I had been in the country I had noticed how it smacked of communism, buses from China, vans and cars from Russia, after the old American cars the Lada is king, and other vehicles from the likes of Korea
3. As so few Cubans own a car our journey down the Autopista [Motorway/Freeway] resembled a scene from Dawn of The Dead with barely another vehicle in sight for miles
4. We are now spoilt in the UK, Europe and North America with no smoking bans, coming here has helped me realise how much I like a smoke free atmosphere, as soon as I got to the airport it was as though sound of people sparking up came in unison.
When we had arrived and defrosted from the over zealous a.c. on the bus we were greeted by a helpful Frenchman asking if we needed accommodation, after telling him that we were only here to visit Che and travel onto Trinidad that day he then arranged for a taxi driver to take us to the museum and onto Trinidad as we'd already discovered that there were no buses that day. The bus timetable was to be something of a thorn in our sides on a few occasions during the trip and it wouldnâï¿½ï¿½t be the last time we'd have to shell out for a taxi to fit things into our itinerary.
On a side note before I discuss Che all I can advise anyone who travels is to go for as long as can, it allows you more flexibility, is more economical as you can take cheaper [albeit slower] forms of transport and is better for your carbon footprint to boot!
Anyway back to Che if you haven't read up on him or can't speak Spanish I wouldn't recommend going to the museum unless you are happy to just view his statue and his ashes that is. Luckily both Amanda and I had done our homework so at least we knew what most of the photos and objects related to. Although it was a little whistle stop I was glad I'd done it, particularly I found being in the presence of the Revolutionary hero's ashes very moving, the crypt was very tastefully done and proves great testament to Che's enduring image and ideals in the eyes of the Cuban people.
The rain had cleared by the time we'd reached the Che museum and the sun finally broke through as we left. The route to Trinidad was long, winding and tortuous through the mountains [later we discovered we'd completed one of the most dangerous drives in Cuba]. We finally arrived in a sunny Trinidad and struck it lucky with our Casa as the lady who ran the place her husband was a chef at one of the top rated Trinidad hotels and one night I ended up eating lobster for £5!