......Trip report part dos de dos
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Nov 8, 2012 9:13 PM Last Post By: VirginiaE
Nov 7, 2012 5:34 PM
......Trip report part dos de dosShit, the luz came back on at 10:30 this morning and at 10:37 Guatemala got hit by a 7.2 earthquake. Deaths will be in the 100s. See; http://www.prensalibre.com/ for info as of 6:30 tonight.
After Sandy I'm starting to think someone may be after me.
Anyway, after a sleepless and nervous night in the car on a hill the skies cleared. I could actually see the road below about a foot of water. So I went for it and we crossed without much problem.
We went about another 20km and were stopped at a Punta de Control to be told that road we came in on was now closed but we "might" be able to make it 7km to the Hotel de Elguea (which I had wanted to go to). The problem, the police said, was that the Embalse Palma was overflowing and they were going to open the floodgates any minute!
I headed off towards the hotel and came upon an Ectecsa truck and another car stopped. When I looked you could see the water flowing over the road for about 400 yards. Me, being me, went around them and through it to the dry side without too much problem but then we saw the next section which had more water moving much, much faster. I felt I had no choice but to keep going. It was touch and go with water coming in the floorboards and a gf who was shrieking and I swear turned white (which is not her normal color) but we made it. When we reached the hotel all the people, which consisted of six employees, came running out and looked at us like we just escaped from the "Planet of the Apes".
The Etecsa truck came in a bit later and told me he followed my lead but the water was now much higher. He called his boss and said he and his two man crew were not going anywhere until things settled down.
Note: The hotel, although in the middle of nowhere, was typical Cuban spartan style but with a great pool and I guess it is famous for it's medicinal thermal mud baths. They had a whole Health Spa section which was closed but I will be back to investigate. $28 for a double BTW.
The manager declared an emergency and it was free food for everyone as we waited to be drowned by the dam. I bought 3 bottles of rum, ate fried chichen and congri until I felt like Buddha and won 200 CUP playing poker with the staff and the Ectecsa guys. (Cubans are not much better at poker than they are at Monopoly).
It was a clear night with stars and the next morning the water had gone down a lot so we were off.
We were stopped again and rerouted up a good secondary road to Santo Domingo which is back on the Carretera Central. I talked to a Viazul bus driver and he said the country was currently cut in half but if I continued on the CC through Colon I could cut off to Maxio Gomez and then on to Mantanzas. We did so without any more problems. After a stop in Mantanzas we hit Havana without a hitch.
In Havana you would have thought nothing had happened although the Malecon was closed.
I dropped off the car at REX and they gave me a free day! then proceeded to "my" penthouse and drank 179 Cristals.
I'll be back in December.
Nov 7, 2012 6:00 PM
1quite frankly, mate, if you're gonna drink Cristal.......some might say you deserve what you get!
How horrible for Guatemala, fortunately no tsunami but small comfort to those whose lives have been affected or destroyed.
I don't drive through flooded roads any more, after one far too scary experience years ago, when I thought that my peugeot could go where others couldn't.....I fully understand your woman's shrieking!
Nov 7, 2012 6:01 PM
Nov 7, 2012 6:30 PM
Nov 7, 2012 8:55 PM
4Maybe it's a Santiago thing, drinking Bucanero.
And as an aside, I just called Lázaro and he was working at la Trova - music playing, a return to normal - tell all your friends. There is electricity on Heredia, the music lives!
Nov 8, 2012 11:14 AM
5I gotta say good luck to all the people headed to Santiago . . . and the people who live there too.
Nov 8, 2012 1:58 PM
6OK, I am headed to Holguin, Santiago, Guantamamo, Baracoa and Moa from 6 December to 16 December. If there is any way to fit in Bayamo in there I will but it looks unlikely given the time frame and road conditions. I expect it will be an adventuresome trip. Fortunately I am not the normal tourist looking for comfort and relaxation.
Nov 8, 2012 3:10 PM
7Bob, I'm sure that Santiago will welcome even abnormal tourists in December :-)
And even if the trees in Parque Cespedes have been stripped of their branches and leaves that won't matter so much in winter. I bet the rumba is still happening there on Saturday mornings.
Nov 8, 2012 4:22 PM
8Bob, the Moa - Baracoa road which is part dirt will be the toughest if there was much damage. It will be the last one that is repaired.
Nov 8, 2012 5:20 PM
Nov 8, 2012 5:23 PM
10Great report, chef! Your statement that "Cubans are not much better at poker than they are at Monopoly" got me to thinking: What would a Cuban version of Monopoly look like? I know there are new updated versions of this game, not just the old 1930's Atlantic City version. Such a game could help Cubans learn to thrive in the new economy.
Nov 8, 2012 5:25 PM
Nov 8, 2012 6:00 PM
12Chef / John: I may have to scratch Moa if inaccessible. But I go places because they are real, not because they are pretty and nice. If I wanted that, I would just drive 45 minutes across town to Disneyworld, whose resorts are honest five star.
Nov 8, 2012 6:05 PM
Nov 8, 2012 6:30 PM
14#13 yes our guy has all those minature thingos for each player too - he always
bags the racing car.
#12 Bob just suggesting that there are a lot of "real" places reached with much less difficulty via more interesting terrain. Mind you I would love you to go to Moa so we could compare notes on its ugliness.
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