|Choking down the really local brew|
As soon as we got back into town, we bee-lined it for the market. It is basically a concrete building with different “stalls” where the locals set up their goods. The prices were all the same between everyone, so we looked around to find the best looking veggies. They had a great variety of stuff there – carrots, green peppers, pineapples, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, herbs – and all in local pesos. We loaded up our bags and went down to the waterfront in search of the best 5 peso street pizza. We found it – it is made in Pizza-Hut like personal pan deep dishes, then put in a mobile brick oven! So good!
|Beer Garden - Cuba Style|
As we were walking back to the main square, we came across a very local watering hole…well, it was more like an alley with some tarps overhead (there was no roof) with tables and chairs underneath. For 6 local pesos, we all had glasses of not-so-good local beer from a keg. The glasses they served them in were actually the bottom of Havana Club rum bottles with the top cut off – very cleaver.
Cheap as the beer was, we could only stomach two and headed back to the music festival. We hung out close to it at a bar and again, sampled the mojito. The verdict? The first place still was the best, but this was a close second. We stayed there awhile and Josh and Connor came back with 4 locals they had met and we all sat down and chatted for a few hours as one or two spoke English. We were treated to another serenade by one of the guys who had his guitar. Boy oh boy can they belt out some songs – they all seem to have beautiful voices. At the end of the night, we went to pay our tab and it seems as if a few extra beers was put on it. Our new found friends tried to argue with the bartender for us, but to no avail – it seems it is a local practice to do this to gringos, so, my advice is not to run tabs but rather pay as you go. A good lesson for us, and luckily, not an expensive one as the beers here cost 1 CUC.
|Performance at the Music Festival|
We were a little hungry by then and walked to a pretty little park in a small square where there were street vendors around and got some fried chicken for 10 pesos. Then we walked to a disco – Casa de Musica and peeked in to see if our friends from earlier were there – we couldn’t see them and there was a cover charge to get in.
|Making friends with the locals|
We were getting sleepy so we decided to head back to the marina. We were longingly looking at a great old green car, not sure the make of it, and the driver came up to us and asked if we needed a ride – we negotiated 8 CUC and off we went back to the marina.
One note about Santiago – there are many people who will come up to you and ask for soap, clothes or money. We did carry around some soap and gave away a few articles of clothes to those who we talked to for a little bit. It started to get a little annoying, but we have heard that the “begging” is the worst in Santiago and not so prevalent in the other cities. Just a heads up to expect it.