Just Step Outside

The best bit of travel advice I have ever had. Just step outside and sit/stand in the same spot for 15 minutes or so. See what happens. Seamus has been travelling before – he knows.

A bit tipsy I step outside of a bar in Havana with my camera. A bird is flapping its wings above me. It’s in a bird cage – I’d never noticed it before. A little girl stands next to me. Her eyes dart to look at me and when she sees me looking, they dart back. “Hola” I say, “come te llamas?” (what is your name?). I tell her my name is Ola. She looks at me as if I am a stupid tourist but I reassure her “si, si, mi llamo Ola…Hola Ola” (Hello Ola) I gesture waving to myself. She chuckles and then all of a sudden 3 other children surround me. The smallest one, Michael, jabs at my camera lens with his finger. The older girl slaps him round the head. I have fun with these kids and take pictures of them. I grab their address from a local woman who comes up to us wondering what all the fuss is about. I promise i’ll try and get the pictures developed and sent to them. I go back to the bar where Seamus is sitting. Well, how was it? he asks. Pretty fucking awesome, I say.

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In Trinidad I did the same. I sat on the steps by the famous Plaza Mayor and an old man selling bags sat down next to me. He started talking to me – I really didn’t want to buy his bags and told him politely that I couldn’t speak Spanish very well, and continued to watch children fly their kites in the square. I felt like I had been a bit rude and so nudged the old man gently and commented on a man with a huge beard who walked past us. He chuckled and pointed to a fat woman walking up the steps. A few German tourists stopped and enquired after his bags. He managed to sell a couple and turned round to me holding up the coins he’d just earned, slipping them into his pocket, chuffed. We made conversation and Seamus bought us all a beer. So there we were, talking with an old guy about nothing in particular and drinking beer, the three of us, people watching, laughing. He offered me a piece of fruit and invited me round for dinner but I explained that that evening we had been invited to attend a Cuban wedding.

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Check out my highlights and travel tips for everywhere I travelled to in the world: CubaMexicoColombiaEcuadorThe Galapagos IslandsArgentinaLAFijiNew Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and Japan.


 

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