It was time to hit the road again and our next stop was Palenque! The three amigos were sticking together for one more city! Mike was even already planning out our days before we left San Cristóbal. We were told by the ADO bus station that the bus ride to Palenque was 7 hours from San Cristóbal. Since the bus ride was only 7 hours, if we had taken an overnight bus we would arrived in Palenque at around 5 or 6am, meaning we’d have to wander the streets until check in time, which is normally around 12pm or 1pm. So we naturally opted for the morning bus in order to arrive at a decent hour.
Right next to the entrance to the Palenque ruins we heard there is a small community located in the jungle called El Panchan. Someone had recommended we stay at a place called Jungle Palace which is located in that same community. They have no phone and don’t respond to emails so we were just going to have to show up and hope they had room.
Santiago de Cuba may be Cuba’s second largest city but it has a small town feel. You run into people you know all the time. In the day and a half Lucas and I had been there we had already made friends and had a chance to run into them several times.
Lucas is now pretty much glued to the hip with Mariano, we call him Lucas’s dad. I’ve gotten into the routine of spending my days with Pepe (it went from a one time thing to an everyday thing). We occasionally combine the two groups for meals with Lianne or as we like to call her, Momma Chicken. We always eat at San Fransisco, the food is amazing and it’s pretty cheap. I’ve been eating there at least once a day. I’m also terrified of getting food poisoning again so, I haven’t been that adventurous with my eating.
I met up with my new best friend in Cuba, Leduane. We went to an outdoor cafe in Vedado. Vedado is a great neighborhood in Havana full of restaurants, bars and clubs. It’s much more “tranquilo” than Centro Habana and cheaper than Habana Vieja. However on the weekend the streets are filled with more people than I have ever seen and the party usually doesn’t stop until pretty early in the morning. I ate some ice cream that was basically soup and he had a beer.
I had mentioned to Cinthia that I wanted to go to a Mexican karaoke bar. I love karaoke back home and wanted to see what it was like here. Her friend Wen picked us up and took us to a swanky karaoke bar full of 20-something-year-olds all dressed to impress. I felt like a Grandma with how much clothing I was wearing and I wasn’t wearing that much.