Part 5 - Between Propaganda and Palm Trees
After this almost ball-breaking success we want to leave the city. Not that they have less potholes out there but the air should be a lot cleaner.
Freeways in Cuba have their own charms. Few cars, many potholes. Room enough for our bikes and Ernesto‘s panhead.The hard shoulder is decorated with vendors, spectators and a group of travelers, obviously waiting for the bus we passed 3 miles down the road, changing a wheel. Soon the first wayside bar beckons. We slow down by a tobbacco plantation, and order some Hamburguesas. When we ask for „Ketsup“, the guy behind the bar starts to laugh. He has „Ketsup“ sure enough, but for so many of us? A weeks ration is in danger of being wiped out. We get the drift that the stuff is a real luxury here, and use it only sparingly.
After coffee we fire up the hogs again and move on, direction Viñales, deep in the tobacco region. Scenery right out of a kitschy Hollywoodmovie. Together with the dramatic clouds in the threatening sky, perforated by violent beams of sunlight everything feels overdone to the excess. Every other mile huge wayside signs tell the passing motociclista uplifting revolutionary thoughts by El Lider himself or his buddy Che in hand painted typography.The evening is drowned by another tropical downpour. We spend it under the roof of our friends‘ interior garden. After the fourth, maybe fifth rum and the third power outage the eldest of the family starts singing stories about motorcycles and cigar smoking strangers who drink rum in the black of the power outage. In a back yard in Viñales.
The next day sees us tooling down red gravel pistas, through villages out of another time, passing friendly people who still watch long after the red dust has settled. We park right at the end of the road, where the asphalt crumbles into the bright white sand. Welcome to a beach that even in a glossy brochure would seem out of this world.