We had a free day in Tinidad today so we spent the morning exploring the city, which didn't take very long! It is a small colonial city with a lot of character (and a lot of characters!). All the streets are cobbled, all the buildings are colonial (although a little run down as is the case in most of Cuba), and everyone seems to hang outside their houses chatting to neighbours and relaxing in the shapde. You will freqently come across groups of men playing dominos in the street or musicians adding more local colour to the atmostphere.
Unfortunately we had loads to organise for America so we spent most of the afternoon in a horribly overpriced internet cafe booking trains etc.We had just about money left over to eat dinner, and considering the price of the food in our homestay (comparible with Londond!) we decided to try and eat out. Now, for anyone thinking of visiting Cuba, I would highly recommend it, but if you like good food...well, all I can say is that you will be bitterly disappointed. Cubans can't cook, mainly because they have very few ingredients to work with. So finding a restaurant is not an easy business. We were looking at the town map when we were approached by a guy telling us about a lovely restaurant, just on the next street, fantastic food, cheap price and all the usual banter. We have come to learn that this is never the truth but we were having no luck finding one on our own so we decided to give him a chance.
Of course, it wasn't just on the next street, predictably he started leading us down some very untouristy side streets and led us up to what looks like someones house. We now realise that we have been led to a private restaurant and this one definately does not look like a legal one. However, we are hungry, tired and feeling adventurous so we follow him (with a bit of trepidation) through a living room, past the kitchen and into a surprisingly lovely courtyard restaurant. There are a few other tourists eating there so we decide to stay.
The food turned out to be very good and reasonably priced...he was telling the truth! Unfortunately our dinner was interrupted by a totally crazy 5 year old (daughter of the owner) that didn't seem to grasp that we couldn't understand 5 year old, Cuban Spanish. This of course does not discourage a child hellbent of disrupting a meal!
When we came to leave, our suspicions that it was an illegal restaurant where confirmed when we weren't allowed out the front door until the owner had poked his head out and checked that the coast was clear! It was certainly a bit of an interesting evening and one we will remember!