Havana was wonderful in spite of the absence of the big draw, our original intended mentor. The disgruntled ones along with all the others were offered a free weekend of coaching with Steven Berkoff (who had had contractual obligations) on The Isle of White and the best fun ones went along and it served as a marvellous reunion. Hours were spent in elegant high ceilinged rooms and ye olde pubs with the mesmerising and formidable thespian and captivating raconteur.
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172 Kms from Havana
Day 5: key west time !! Seeing the southern most point on map got me excited. The drive is serene. Ocean on both the sides, beautiful lush trees everywhere.. what else one can expect from life. Travelling is life.. yahi he zindgi!!I enjoyed the drive then we parked our car on Duvall street. From there we started walking towards lighthouse. Beautiful view from there but not worth 10$. Lady on the counter was very rude. Good 360 degree view of key west. Next we went to the southern most point of USA. Can you imagine Cuba is just 90 miles from there!! Took few customary pictures to capture the precious moment then we headed towards the beach. There Are plenty of very cute small restaurants, bars and Cuban shops. It's a happy vibes kinda place. I think if I go back to Florida, I would want to spend more time in key west. It's a perfect laid back place for relaxing. The beach here was wonderful. Shallow and warm water for quite a while for people like me who are not swimmers. We had so much fun at the beach and in the calm water. There are restaurants along the beach so eat, swim, drink, repeat!!! It was getting late so we started back for Miami. We got stuck in thunderstorm for 1-2 hours. Same drive was looking really scary for that time. Water everywhere, dark clouds, heavy rain and thunderstorms, I really wonder sometimes that how nature has so many shades. It really got me thinking that same sea was so beautiful and delight to the eyes in the morning and now it has become so wild and scary in the dark. After rain stopped, we speeded a lil bit and reached our hotel.
161 Kms from Havana
En route to finding the path across the valley to the town I had come across two small restaurants, in one they told me that they had very good food for vegetarians and served rice and vegetables and wine. I tried to walk there at night, down a path by the hotel but after five minutes in pitch darkness with neither light nor light pollution the silence of the woods suddenly began to spook me. They had asked me if I was definitely coming and I told them I didnt know, in the darkness on the deserted path I realised I probably would have been there only guest as the night time seemed a time to dine in the hotel after all. On my last two days in Vinales I stared to slow down and make the time go more slowly, not doing so much and not reading so much but simply sitting, or lounging by the pool and watching the beautiful valley. This watching and deliberate slowing down of time was helped by the black birds of prey circling high above the lines of tiny horses wending their way through the valley and farmers, driving their oxen minutely below. The beauty of the lush emerald valley and the strange mountains rising up from it sometimes became a backdrop to the characters passing through it. I had positioned my lounger in the shade at the edge of the pool and at the edge of the hill top by a spot where I knew inevitably coach trippers would periodically come to take pictures and smoke and shriek.