Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Goodbye Camaguey and Off to Bayamo!

So once again, it is time to move on, to the next town in our road trip journey in Cuba.

Breakfast at Camino de Hierro Hotel in Camaguey
Breakfast at Camino de Hierro Hotel in Camaguey consists of papaya shake and fresh tropical fruits: guava, pineapple and mango. Then we had some omelette as well.

BAYAMO RECAP

We slept very well in Camaguey. We liked our room, colonial-styled yet simple, and I made sure that the air-conditioning is blowing on my side of the bed and not on Blondine’s. She cannot handle the air-conditioning while I cannot sleep without it. This is the dilemma we always have when travelling together which is quite odd.

Blondine, who is born in the Netherlands have a low tolerance for the cold weather. She is always bundled up at 15C when we go out and cannot handle too much air-conditioning otherwise, she will get sick. While I, born and bred in the tropics prefer to go out at 15C (as long as it’s not too windy) without a coat and will not survive the night if it’s too warm in the bedroom. I prefer the air-conditioning blowing on my face and body. Odd, I know.



We woke up quite early the next day and had our breakfast before 8 in the morning. We were first served with fruits and a papaya fruit shake. Then we had an omelette and some bread. Healthy start for the day I must say.

Camaguey                                                 Across the hotel, we saw young students waiting for the rain to stop. 


WITHDRAWING MONEY AT THE BANK

After breakfast, we went to the bank and withdrew money against our Mastercard credit cards. The transaction went smooth and quick. We were actually a bit worried that the same problem at Sancti Spiritus will occur (no connection with Havana), but everything went on as planned.

Funnily, the cashier at the bank asked Blondine to sign on the paper several times because her signature varies greatly from her other signatures. What the heck, haha. She got a bit irritated about the incident but we just laughed it off. She was finally able to get some money! Hallelujah, haha.


This paper trail and signature sample matching are archaic but it still exists in many countries, not just in Cuba but in many western countries too. 

This subject is actually a bit personal to me as it reminds me of my time in the Philippines. 15 years ago I used worked for a large multinational IT firm there. I was managing the payment solutions product line and my customers were the top 20 banks in the country. Back then, there were more banks, and mergers are unheard of. I used to sit down with managers and executives discussing their paper trail and how to eliminate this through digitalization. It was a difficult and tedious subject because many banks were not ready. I am sure the situation in the Philippines now has changed. Here in the Netherlands banking has become teller-less and paperless. This is how it should be.

Our next main destination is Santiago de Cuba located at the southern tip of the country and is the second largest city in Cuba. However, we will have a stopover at Bayamo for lunch and a quick walking city tour.

Click here to check our route: 
Cuban Road Trip


CamagueyCamaguey
Manoeuvring our way around Camaguey. Finding our way out of the city to the main road without a street-detailed map is always a challenge.


Finally, we are on the main road to Bayamo!

COFFEE BREAK ON THE HIGHWAY

While on the way to Bayamo, we encountered this charming Paladar Paraiso 672 along the highway. Here, we stopped for some coffee break. Camaguey to Bayamo is about 3 hours so this was a timely break in our journey.

I ordered the usual black Cuban coffee while Blondine had hers with some milk. She did not like the milk in it. I think in Cuba you better stick to drinking pure coffee with a bit of sugar. You can get good coffee in Cuba almost everywhere. And do trust me because I know good coffee.

Paladar Paraiso 672 CubaPaladar Paraiso 672 in CubaPaladar Paraiso 672 in CubaHorse carriage CubaHorse carriage CubaPaladar Paraiso 672 Cuba Highway
This is one of the few nice pitstops in Cuba. CUC$1 for coffee. Take note this is between Camaguey and Bayamo.

Travel Period: May 2012
Destinations: Camaguey (Camaguey), Cuba | Bayamo (Granma), Cuba

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