29th may 2013- Had a great sleep and woke around 8am in time to enjoy a breakfast of fresh fruit and bread. Meet an Aussie women at breakfast this morning and we set out together to help me get my bargens. There is little English spoken by the local people here, but I am not sure if my lack of Spanish is an all together bad thing... It means that when people are yelling things at me I can just walk right past and ignore them as I have no idea what they are asking.
After making me way down to the central park I hoped on a tourist bus tour of the city. It was 1.5 hours driving around looking at the highlights of Havana. We Drive along the malecon enjoying views out over the ocean and sea walls then turned near the hotel Nacional and traveled along avenida de Los presidentes with busts and monuments dedicated to past political persons. Then headed over to plaza de la revolucion. This vast open square has a large towering monument in the centre and is surrounded by government buildings. Then looked at the Cementerio Colon. It is large cemetery with thousands of different graves stones packed in tightly together. Then drove through the wealthy suburb of Miramar with tree lines street and beautifully restored colonial mansions and several embassies including the abandoned Russian compound. Then drove past the university on the way back to park central and the end of tour. I then took a walk around the capitolio building. This building looks just like the white house in Washington. I am overall very surprised at how much America influence is here considering the embargoes and anti- American stance of the government. There are american brand stores and even shops selling clothing with the American flag on it. After so much time in the humid heat it was time to find something cool and that was the Museo de la Revolucion. This was set inside the former presidential palace and covered the uprising, growth and great advancement that had occurred under the guidance of socialism. There was also an outside section that had castros yacht and jeep. Onces finished there it was time to find some lunch. Walk back along San rafel finding a local place but only afterwards realized that I payed with cuc the tourists money when I should have payed with pesos, this meant I payed about 5 times for my lunch. Also enjoyed sitting near the central park and watching people and cars go by. It started to rain so thought I would try and wait it out by visiting the Museo Nacional de bellas artes. This was a new renovated building with mostly modern Cuba art. It was a wide range of styles and showed lots of local artists. The rain was still falling when I had finishes so decided to just try and get back to my room as best I could under cover... It will teach my for wearing a white Tshirt amd leaving the umbrella behind. Once back in the room it was time for a late afternoon rest. Then headed out for dinner with a women I had meet at breakfast. We walked to old town stopping at Ernest hemingways favorite bar for a look around. Them walked into old town and found a nice local restaurant to eat dinner. The food isn't very ordinary... It is unfortunate as they have lots of nice fresh local produce but somehow manage to cook it in such a way that it taste very average. After dinner walked through more of the old town and stopped to enjoy a couple of drinks at a Spanish bar with flamingo dancing. It was beautiful dancing and music. After seeing this and also the art museum there seems to have no suppression of the arts as I was expecting under socialist rule... There seems to be many examples of the government supporting and encouraging arts and cultural development. Walked back to the Casa to call it a night. Have also found that it is cheaper and easier to find beer or rum to drink than a bottle of water!