December 29th 2014
It’s crazy how life offers up so many near misses. There must be hundreds of times in a day, week, month or year that people have close calls with life and death or sustaining serious injury. Today was one of those days.
My morning was spent relaxing by the pool while dad was fishing with his new bestie, Carlos, a lifeguard at the hotel who accompanied him fishing before his shift began.
We met with Orlando our friend and the organizer of the salsa week in the afternoon. He brought us to a local mall to purchase a SIM card for my dad’s unlocked flip phone. So it turned out today there was a promotion at the mobile shop so there was easily 50 people waiting randomly outside the phone shop to get in. Orlando went in to the shop to at least find out how much the SIM card would be. Get this, it would cost $3 per day just to rent the SIM card and $10 additional to use it (I don’t know how many minutes the $10’s would get you but I imagine not much). Renting a SIM card? Can you believe it! We decided it was way easier to just use pay phones and the hotel reception phone to arrange gatherings when needed.
We walked back to the hotel after and came across a beautiful basilica. The church is actually the largest in Havana and second largest in Cuba. We went in and admired the art work and stained glass. There was a young girl who played her violin in the basilica which was something rare to witness. I got her performance on video (see below).
Following the basilica tour, we made our way down 5th avenue. 5th avenue in Cuba is this beautiful walk way that went in the middle of 5th avenue and paralleled multiple embassies. We saw at least a dozen, with the Russian embassy being the most impressive. The property was fenced with barbed wire and a massive 10 story+ tower which sat in the middle of the grounds.
While walking and admiring the old cars driving by, an old 1950’s car’s wheel all of a sudden fell off and rolled into the walking path and over to the other road. Luckily this happened about five minutes in front of us but had we done things differently earlier that day we very well could have been hit by the tire. Now that sounds not too bad, even funny but this wheel was from the 50’s and likely weighed 40+ pounds. Going 60 mph with that weight could have caused some serious bodily harm. Luckily no one include ourselves were injured. That’s what happens to these cars though. People in Cuba make them last forever and eventually something is gives. Seemed like this time it was the bolts holding the wheel on the car that gave.
The evening was spent relaxing, reading and eventually going to dinner to a nearby pizza place. It seems, at least in this Miramar, Italian is all the rage, go figure.