Extract straight from my journal, 25th April 2008
Another Plaza, another bench
Once again, sitting and chilling in another plaza – La Plaza Maceo in Sancti Spiritus this time. I think this time I will have this bench to myself – all but the small part I’m sat on is directly in the sun – it’s still incredibly hot out, even at 4.30pm.
Unfortunately I wasn’t up so early today so left later than hoped, so having cycled through the midday sun and clearly not re-applied the suncream often enough, I’m radiating heat from my cheeks which even the fan on full blast in my room couldn’t help cool me down.
Sancti Spiritus may be bigger than Remedios but presumably it’s not on the tourist route as I’ve yet to see another camera-wielding, baseball-cap-wearing foreigner.
Cycling was tough going to start, the third day on the bike and I think the legs are starting to feel it. It seemed to take forever to get to Zulueta – so long in fact, I stopped to ask a lady waiting for a truck if I was going the right way.
However, once I made it to Zulueta it was no time before Placetas and then the rest of the 50km was easy. I think the badly rutted road on a slight incline was the main source of my pain at the start.
Up and Down… and Up again
Out of Placetas, it was one long straight road for miles. It just went up and down, up and then down again. Each time, I thought I would stop at the next ‘top’ in the shade, but when I got there, there never was any shade. A few trees would appear at the bottom, but not wanting to lose my momentum I’d keep going on towards the next ‘top’. And so it went on for a while – a long while it must have been – before I applied the brakes, sat in the shade, ate and applied the sunscreen.
Re-energised, in no time at all, I passed through Cabaguain and La Aurora (where I got side-tracked by ‘un helado’ – who can resist a refreshing, cold, mini ‘Mr Whippy’ when they’re only 1 peso) and then into Sancti Spiritus.
So here I am in Sancti Spiritus. The casa (Hostal Paraiso) was easy to find, the owner understands my spanish (if you can call it that), I had a lovely cold shower and headed out to wander round town.
Baseball – A National Obsession
In every town I’ve stopped in so far, you don’t have to walk far before you come across two or three ‘chicos’ with a baseball bat and ball – the boys in this town even have the gloves. Unlike in Santa Clara, where the kids didn’t even have a proper ball – instread using a taped up ball of paper – which seemed to bounce surprisingly well – full marks for ingenuity and creativity!