This is my 1,500th post. It’s been a long ride and a fun one. I post less now, but I’m still doing it. I’m not living in Colombia anymore, but I hope to keep traveling and have interesting photos and comments to post.
The photo above was taken after my host, Eduardo, made me a great cup of Cuban coffee. He was the last home owner that I stayed with in Havana, Cuba, during my recent trip. My first two nights were with a woman in her house that I reserved online before I left for Cuba. She sent a driver to the airport to get me. I paid 30 CUC a night for a room. I had to go through her living room to get to the bathroom. I also had to climb 7 flights of stairs to her place. There was usually not an elevator operator. I figured I needed the exercise anyway. The driver charged me 25 CUC to bring me from the airport, which is normal. After my first night, I started looking for a new and cheaper place. I found an apartment with a room from a woman named Alina. She lived on the third floor of a building a block away. I had my own bathroom in my room with both air conditioning and a fan. I liked it. The cost was 25 CUC, roughly $25 a night. She gave me 3 keys, one for the front door of the building, one for her apartment door and one for my room. I could come and go as I pleased. The Cuban people are very trustful of their guests. I really hope that no one abuses this trust. After about 5 days, Alina told me that she had other guests already booked for my room, so I started looking around again. She had warned me when I first moved in that I might have to leave in 5 days. I mentioned to a friend I had met, then, that I needed a place to stay. He took me to check a few places near his home. Before that, I had found a place quite a ways from my location for only 15 CUC a night, a bargain, but it was too far. I settled on a place with Eduardo, only 2 blocks from the Malecón and ocean. His apartment was on the second floor in an area with mostly poor and regular Cubans. I was the only foreigner in the area. I loved it. Eduardo was a very friendly and gracious host. I had 3 keys again, for the building, his apartment and my room. He was very helpful with answers to any questions that I had. From him, I learned the prices and how to get the buses and collectivos, the old cars that are used as taxis by the Cubans. I paid him only 20 CUC a night, which was what I had budgeted. When my time was up and I would soon need to go to the airport, he had a friend with a van take me for only 20 CUC. He was trying to help me out with my expenses. Even though my door was always locked when I was gone, I usually left many things out in the room and not locked in my suitcase. I trusted the people that I was staying with. These places where I stayed are called casas particulares. Cubans are allowed to rent rooms to tourists now. Many tourists stay in tourist hotels and pay high prices for their rooms. Many also come in organized tours. I didn’t have that kind of money and I always prefer to stay in cheaper places where the regular people live. I also like to do what I want to do without a group. I prefer to wander on my own, meeting people and taking photos. I never worried about finding a place to stay. There are so many available all over Havana. If I ever go back to Havana, I would probably stay with Eduardo again.