Transport in Cuba
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October 2012
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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

possible clients.

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

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