Sunday, February 07, 2016

Life at the dock in Cuba

This is where we are situated in Marina Hemingway. There are four long canals with cement edges and we are halfway along Canal #2. That means that the banos are at the end which can be a long way when you need to go. Once you get to the washrooms it is necessary to carefully select your toilet stall, 1 is there a door on the stall, 2 does the door latch 3 is there a toilet seat, 4 does it look like the toilet might flush, depending on your sensibilities you may chose to reorder these requirements and as Barry says in most cases the answer to all these questions is NO!  In the showers there is plenty of hot water, two out of the four stalls do not have a door, not a problem for me, in one the shower head does not hang up on the wall, in the second only half the water is directed up the shower head and in the third the drainage is very slow, which leaves stall number one which is my personal favourite, no door, but all water comes out, it is hot and you do not have to hold the shower head, bliss!! 
Directly across from us is a hotel complex reputedly half owned by NHL players and the swimming pool is right there.  We can use the pool for $10 per day, or slip rental being $20. We are treated nightly to loud salsa music and on the weekends an obnoxious DJ shouts out incomprehensible commands in Spanish, although I must admit they desist at about 2200 hours which is great. 
As you walk down the cement canal there are signs painted on the cement to commenorate boat's stays here.  I had fun painting ours and I am quite pleased with the outcome.  The 2016 is a bit squished but oh well, I am not about to paint over it and try again. 

On Saturday we headed to the local market and used up some of our local currency to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.  We are really enjoying the papayas, guavas and the small sweet bananas. There are two currencies here, one for locals and one for foreigners. The CUC is pegged to the US dollar so we are paying dearly for touristy things. Our first time on a bus we did not have any local currency and the bus driver let us ride for free because whatever we offered him in CUC was way to much and he had no change. 
This is just outside the Marina and we thought a fish might be a nice change of pace, he wanted $18 CUC for it which would be almost equivalent to a month's wages for a regular worker, we declined. 
We managed to find a place to get my passport photo taken, the ones I had done in Miami stuck together and were ruined when I took them apart. Then we found the Canadian embassy, got the forms, paid the money and new passports are being made as we speak.  We should get them back by Feb. 15, meanwhile we cannot switch marinas so we are here until our new ones arrive. Boat chores are underway, we have polished the hull and I am in the process of painting the lockers under both settees. Waxing the top sides is next on the agenda. 
The Conch rally arrived this week, a sailboat race from Key West-Varadero-Havana-Key West. It involved 60 U.S. boats and was a big deal. There was a big reception at the yacht club with a dinner with the Deputy Minister of Tourism in attendance and the dinner featured two roast pigs. It was great to meet the new sailors and hear their stories.  A number of Americans commented that they never thought they would have been allowed to come here. 
Internet access is not easy here at the marina and involves taking two buses to get wifi so blog postings will be few and far between.  I am having withdrawal symptoms from my former 4 times daily access to my Facebook friends and I have not spoken to any of my family since we have arrived.  I have been trying to get our winlink to work but so far have been unsuccessful.