A somewhat typical day; hotel breakfast included. The food to me was only bearable. Breakfast for me usually consisted of terrible American coffee, a mystery juice, a roll or two, some 1/8″ sliced cheese and a type of lunch meat.
My Day 1 Spending – Note a CUC is the Cuban currency for tourists. To me it looks and feels just like monopoly money. Unfortunately one US dollar roughly equates to about .87 cents give or take up or down. In Havana I always encountered bad math, i.e. your food bill is 15 CUC’s. You pay with a 20 CUC bill. Lo and behold your change comes back in 2 or 3 CUC’s. The mojito was 4 CUC’s. You pay with a 5. The guy says drink up, I don’t have change so will keep filling your glass up. I win.
25 CUC – Taxi from Airport to Hotel (New Russian Lada taxi) Gave the driver one of the baseballs I brought plus pencils for his kids
10 CUC – Hamburger and a Sangria (Why? Because my brother drops me off at the airport at midnight on the day of my flight; I thought the USO would be open all night like in LA; not, they close at 2100 hours. For a 6 a.m. flight check in started around 4 a.m.
2 CUC – Beer at the pool
10 CUC – Gave five each to two groups of five kids fishing in some god awlful smelling water near old town and cruise ship terminal. They didn’t seem to be catching much. I nearly started a riot when I picked the leader of each group and gave each one 5 CUC for ice cream. It was almost like throwing a bone into a pack of hungry wolves. They all wanted to be the boss. Thankfully I picked a strong leader in each group then just walked away and let them handle it.
14 CUC – Dinner and two beers; plus a mojito, water
5 CUC – Bicycle taxi – The guy tours me around old havana as I had hundreds of pencils I needed to give away.
3 CUC – Lemonade
10 CUC – Tip to a 6 piece band playing at the Hotel Vedado (Gal on a flute, singer, drums, two guys on guitars and one on maracas.