Traveling on Astro on the Kaftro Route
Traveling on Astro on the Kaftro Route / Rebeca Monzo
Rebeca Monzo, Translator: Boston College CASA
About a month ago, my friend, Mariana, her husband and her mom decided
to go on a trip to Trinity through a tourist bus company called Astro.
They were very excited about the trip and expected it to go very well
since they had paid 132.00 CUP (Cuban pesos) for each person both going
and returning. They were anticipating a very comfortable ride with
amenities such as air conditioning.
The first stop was at the Mulles de la Coubre. At this stop, which was
not part of the schedule, five people got on the bus and paid the bus
driver directly. However, all the seats in the bus were already full so
the extra passengers were forced to accommodate themselves in the aisle
of the bus. The luxurious image that they had envisioned had already
been disrupted. They were not sitting in comfort, but were cramped in
the bus unable to recline their chairs.
My friends also noted that the bus driver would stop to pick up anyone
on the side of the road who offered him money, because of this the bus
began to fill up little by little. In front of Mariana there was a woman
who was holding a huge bag against her body and she had nowhere to move.
As they were arriving at Aguada de Pasajeros, the bus driver recognized
someone he knows. He starts yelling and signaling for the acquaintance
to notice him almost throwing himself out of the window. All of the
sudden, he hits the breaks, parks, and gets out of the car. He was there
for about half an hour conversing with his friend, while the passengers
waited patiently inside the bus. Then the bus driver returned and the
journey continued until they stopped at a Terminal, where they were
serving pork sandwiches without any attention to hygiene; there were
flies and abandoned dogs peeing on the table where the merchandise was
kept. All the passengers who desired this meal got down to satisfy their
appetites. Trucks pulled by horses and trucks from the 1950s waited for
Exhausted and tired and after traveling for five hours they finally
arrived in Trindad. The three of them swore not to return through Astro
and for that matter never again. After enjoying themselves for a couple
of days in this colonial city, they had to negotiate their return trip
to Havana through a taxi driver who had driven some people to Trinidad.
They were able to bargain for a fair price under the table. Their ride
back was much more enjoyable and peaceful.
Translated by: BC CASA
October 11 2012
Tags: bus, tourist