As we made our way along the path back to our room, we encountered Alex. He asked if we made it to the gardens and how was it. Since he had already told us earlier that Mr. Ryan is a friend of his, we graciously, but cautiously, told him that the gardens were lovely. We left out any reference to his friend being the biggest bore we have ever encountered!
Totally and completely exhausted, we collapsed on to our beds and had a much needed siesta before we had to get cleaned up and go to town for dinner.
After once again enjoying the cool summer evening (and a few Cuba Libres!) on our beautiful little porch, we headed downtown to the “fancy” restaurant. This was the same one where B and L had eaten the night before. They thought it was so nice that they wanted me to experience it also. I’m still not sure if they were joking or not!
It was one huge room. It reminded me of some VFW basement somewhere, except that it had windows of course. It was full of tables and chairs, much like the kind you would rent for a wedding reception. In the back was a huge bar, carefully guarded from prying eyes by a large piece of plywood in front of it. I could still see over it though. Just off to the side of that, carefully affixed to the wall so everybody could see it, was the obligatory TV. As usual, turned on but no sound coming from it. We were one of four tables occupied for the dinner hour. This meant that there were a lot of empty tables and a lot of space between diners!
Menus were delivered and drink orders taken. I mentioned that I felt like soup. I was feeling just a bit chilly, seeing as how the temperature had dropped to the high 70’s! L recommended I try a CR specialty, one that he had had in the past called Black Soup. So I ordered that and a main course of, what else, pork, rice and beans. We also ordered an appetizer of deep fried plantains with (you can guess by now!) black bean dip! I wasn’t sure what this was when we ordered it but I liked the name. Tostones. (I really liked saying that name too, like, boy does he have big tostones!) Since all of us were consuming tremendous amounts of beans, I was thinking that our little jungle lodge room would be an interesting place that night! The soup, when finally delivered, was quite impressive. It truly was enough for a whole meal….if you could eat it! It was a very thin dark broth full of whole black beans. Added to that was bits of onions and tomatoes. And of course, the egg. Much like Egg Drop Soup, they dropped a raw egg in and let the broth cook it. The result being strangles and gaggles of badly scrambled egg stuck to everything. Truly, it looked like last nights drunk’s dinner!
But one think I have learned over the past few years is to never judge a dish by what is floating in it. Even if it is the end of a pig snout, holes and all. This actually happened to me in Mexico once. I ate everything in that delicious soup but I did not eat or even pick at that snout! So, spoon at the ready, I took a taste. Then another. Then another. It really was delicious. I just couldn’t bear to look at it though. In combination with the gargantuan amount of food piled on my regular plate, I was only able to eat half of it. Plus down the two beers I ordered. I was one full puppy when we walked out of there!
We were watching the soundless TV for awhile. There was coverage of a huge hurricane that had hit somewhere in the tropics. Muddy river banks collapsing and carrying along anything that got in its’ way. Tremendous damage everywhere, survivors being interviewed. We were quite concerned because we had not heard any hurricane warnings and hadn’t been near an internet for a few days. We knew it was somewhere in Central America and hoped not someplace we had yet to go! Later we learned that it was a documentary reliving Hurricane Something or Other than struck this area ten years ago! Of course, we would have known that had there been sound. The bartender saw us watching TV and turned up the volume for us, but not in time for this story. But we were able to listen to the next one with great interest.
It was while sitting in that restaurant that we learned that Castro was gravely ill and expected to die. (according to this news source!) Last year, while visiting Xalapa, Mexico, we passed a TV and found out that the Pope had just died. We decided that we must have some strange travel powers or something if great people were just going to wait for us to travel so they could croak. Alas, if that were the case, I would travel to the ends of the Earth to make one certain famous the world over but hated by everyone but American Republicans, croak! Anyway, having just witnessed two boatloads of Cuban refugees land on the shores of the beach across from our house shortly before we left on this trip, we thought we know knew the reason people were fleeing Cuba in droves again. Because they could and the powers that be were probably not paying much attention at that time. As of this writing, Castro is still alive and we are just waiting to see what happens on that front in the future.
Personally, I wish this stupid embargo would just end.