"Beautiful, friendly Cienfuegos" Top 5 Page for this destination Cienfuegos by Nanumi

Cienfuegos Travel Guide: 107 reviews and 292 photos

Wandering around Cienfuegos

(cont. from CUBA page, 2nd chapter)

On my first morning in Cienfuegos I woke up around 8 am to hear all neighborhood complain about "frijo". Indeed, it was chily 15C (nothing compared to then -28C windshield in Toronto!). I grabbed my daypack and left to explore. What a great town it is to explore by foot. I made my first stop at Delegacion Cubanacan on the corner of Prado and Ave 12 where after the initial "no mapa" followed by my insistence, a small map migically appeared.
Wandering around all colonial, majestic buildings made me fel humble. All that architectural splendor and beauty is amazing. I walked from building to building, palace to palace but by the end it made me sad. Everything falls into dust, pieces, all is neglected and decay is evident. There is no respect for the past and the present doesn't care. It is barbaric to let go of all those splendid halls, rooms and arches.
I must have have walked around for some six hours - I could hardly feel my feet on the way back. I stopped at pollo place - got some fritos with chicken for $2.70 - judging by the odor it must have been another motor oil special.
Close to home I walked by one of hundred homes of Fidel Castro: it's located on Ave.10 off Prado, at Laguna del Cura. I managed to take a picture when a soldier appeared and went after me. "Que linda casa" I said, pretending ignorance and quickly disappeared.
I stopped at Maria's place to chat for few minutes - her esposo will take me on his motorbike to Viazul bus staion early next day and I'll most probably have to stay in Trinidad overnight.
I dropped half dead from exhaustion under a palm tree in the backyard when Coralia asked me to get ready as Maria called for me to come over for a fiesta. Few moments later Jorge appeared - he had a passanger to the area and dropped by to check on me; we chatted for few minutes and agreed that he will come to Cienfuegos a day before my departure to take me back to Varadero.
I've had a suberb evening although my brain started screaming for a break under attack of so many Spanish verbs, sentences and expressions. Maria, her husband, their friend Jose and myself wouldn't stop laughing at mutual attempts to communicate in pieces of Spanish and English. They are wonderful people, full of joy, innocent of decadence and existentialism, taking life for what it's worth despite all road blocks. They have fantastic sense of humor and somehow we managed to understand each other and share thoughts through laughter. There was one interesting moment when Maria's father paid her a brief visit : Maria said that he was a dedicated communism and therefore (???) he hated foreigners as a source of decay and compromised values - Maria hid me in her bedroom in order not to get exposed to her father's wrath. We never really discussed politics in depth due to communication barrier but it was so very obvious to me that there is no love lost between the "system" and younger generation. Also, when a neighbor dropped in unexpectedly our conversation became immediately more restrained and moderate - after all there's no knowledge of who would report whom to authorities.
My grey matter started seriously hurting after so much absorption of everything. A day of such lingual immersion is probably worth at least a month of schooling.
I observed that Cubans love to touch friends when animated or just friendly. I had been introduced to zillion people by now and introduction always starts with a kiss on a cheek. Also, in Cienfuegos is much less "pssssst" to attract attention compared to Havana. On the other hand if not introduced properly, Cubans in this region don't seek comradship. Once introduced, however, they become your immmediate friends.

  • Last visit to Cienfuegos: Feb 2003
  • Intro Written Feb 13, 2003
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Comments (5)

  • shmulie's Profile Photo
    Jul 8, 2006 at 8:21 PM

    you mean socialism not communism....

  • TravellingSpirit's Profile Photo
    Jun 27, 2006 at 11:56 AM

    you have some wonderful photos here - thanks. I think the decay of the buildings is sad, but sadder still to think that many were built and certainly were maintained in the past with profits of slavery - I'd rather the buildings suffer than the people?

  • Feb 22, 2006 at 6:15 PM

    this is the Cienfuegos Yatch Club. My grandparents are from this magnificent city. They attended society gatherings there. I have some pics. I visited three yrs ago and it had been renovated

  • Helga67's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2006 at 12:57 AM

    Excellent overview of Cienfuegos. I'm looking forward to going there myself

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2003 at 1:46 AM

    Amazing picture and very interesting text: they hate foreigners? really?

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