The soft morning light was perfect, the lagoon still and quiet, and the calmness enveloped me, the only sounds those of the occasional bird calling and the oars gently splashing in the water. As we got nearer, the flamingoes started to move. In perfect sync they all put their heads in the air and started walking in the same direction, an army of long pink necks marching away from us.
Turtles are my second favourite animal and though I’ve previously encountered them while snorkeling they’ve always been shy and have retreated into the distance at the first sight of me. At Akumal they were unconcerned by my presence, happily munching on the plentiful sea grass on the ocean floor, just 50 metres out from the shoreline.
“If there’s an eruption”, the guide said, “stay calm, and stay with your group. We’ll head back to the boat and get you off the island as soon as it’s safe to do so.” I looked around me at the clouds of steam billowing out of the crater, and wondered just how long might it be before it was ‘safe to do so’ in the midst of a volcanic eruption?
I experienced so much Harassment in Cuba, I had to write three whole posts about it! In this final instalment, strange men follow me numerous times and I get chased down in the street by a man who wants to ‘help’. Then a nice man turns very creepy in a cave and I almost cause a fight!
For me, Cuba was full of stories of harassment. Sometimes it was the ‘normal’ harmless but extremely annoying sexual harassment, other times it was more serious, with men insisting that they MUST talk to me, and not taking no for an answer. There was so much, it nearly sent me to a breaking point.
When people rave about Cuba, the one thing they don’t tell you is that there is an exceptional amount of harassment, especially if you’re a solo female. I often felt like I was walking around with a giant target painted on my forehead. In this first of a 3-part series, I’m here to tell you what you can expect.
By the time I’d been in Cuba for a couple of weeks, I’d had enough of the food. Too often I ate meals that were bland and overcooked, not to mention overpriced for what I was getting! So here, to save you the same difficulties, I am giving you my recommendations for where to eat in Cuba!
There it was, right in front of me, finally. The tocororo. Cuba’s national bird sat on a high branch, her red belly just about bursting with the effort and blue-green back shining in the sunlight. That was it. After five weeks, on my second-to-last day in Cuba I’d finally seen the elusive tocororo. My trip was complete. I could leave now.
Once in a while I get stuck in a place. Actually, ‘stuck’ is the wrong word, it’s not that I am trapped in any way, it’s just that I don’t want to leave. Valladolid was the ideal spot for some much needed R&R for me, but it felt like a place I could stay, and just like I have in a few other places I started to imagine myself settling there permanently.
Suddenly the ocean was surrounding me on three sides. Ahead, it stretched out for miles, all the way to the horizon and beyond my range of vision, interrupted only by a few small islands. To my right it collided with the steep cliffs, carving narrow caves and crevasses in the soft rock. And to my left it was calm and shallow, lapping gently on the bay’s long sandy beach, and I could see right down to the bottom through the swaying kelp and stands of coral.