Victor & Joanne's Cuban Adventure travel blog

February 13 - Trinidad

Joanne's improvement is taking longer than expected and the rice and beans she had hoped to enjoy last night turns out to be a piece of bread and an early bed.

Victor ventured out solo again to chat with our hosts and wander into town for a bite to eat and a chance to listen to some music.

The prospect of spaghetti brought Victor to a Pizza Restaurant that promised some spaghetti con salsicha (sausage). Turns out they are out of sausage and they substituted ham. Not exactly what was hoped for, but it will have to do. The result is, to say the least, pitiful. A tiny plate of lukewarm, overcooked spaghetti with tiny chunks of ham and a small slice of white cheese and a little tiny bit of sauce that bore no resemblance to spaghetti sauce. It was sent back for some heating and returned with the cheese melted into the spaghetti. Barely palatable, but edible. The "cuenta" (the bill) was received on a hand written slip of paper totalling 17.50. The menu had listed it as 5.50. When the bill was questioned, they took it away and came back with another that said 5.00. We later learned from our host that the restaurant is known for its poor quality food and the fact that it normally caters to Cubanos and the bill was most likely in Cuban pesos, not convertible pesos as was expected.

The music emanating from down the street near Plaza Major was much better, with a younger seven piece band that produced wonderful salsa, cha cha and son music with incredibly solid three and four part harmonies that they often produced a capella in the midst of their song. Again, the solid, tight sound clearly demonstrated a well rehearsed group. The instruments in this group consisted of congas, bongos equipped with cow bells and a small cymbal the player worked with a combination of hands and sticks to create an incredible full percussion sound that rivaled any drum set. The electric stand up bass drove the beat while two guitars and three vocalists added great voices.

It seems that one can always expect several things when one encounters any musical group in Cuba; great musicianship, wonderful rhythms and vocals accompanied by old worn instruments. Also, each group will always flog a cd or ask for a contribution between their sets. In almost all cases, the entertainment value, along with a delicious mojito are worth every peso spent.

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