My trip to Vinales

Vinales is a small town in a valley near a national park so it attracts a lot of tourists for hiking and the scenery.

My host in Havana arranged a taxi for me from Havana to Vinales cheaper than the bus although I wasn´t clear why. I found out.

The driver, who picked me up in a 1952 Ford, lives near Vinales and uses his car to ferry people around the province. He was on his way back from Havana, had to pick up two people along the way he had dropped there the day before, and I was an unexpected paying passenger. Otherwise he would have been going back empty.

At one point his cell phone rang and as we sped at 100 km an hour along the highway he told me ¨The phone never stops. It´s that time of year when there is lots of work.¨ He meant tourist season, of course.

BTW, He was on time to the minute and I think we travelled so fast because he didn´t want to be late for the others he had to pick up. People are really taking advantage of the opportunities.

I´ve read of other foreigners talking about the red tape and you see how much paperwork there is for things. I waited over a half hour this morning to buy a card that would allow me to use the Internet. But it was because the same person was providing a wide range of services. When it came to my turn, he asked for some ID and I had to tell him it was back at my casa. He said, Never mind, and sold me the card within a few minutes. An hour for $4.50 BTW which works out to about $5 Cdn.

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