So much has been said about Cuba, it's hard to imagine what can be left to say. After numerous trips, I think I've got the lay of the land and the consciense of the people down pat. I can deal with the, "Hey...my fren!" boys, I've got a stable of women all over the island and I LIKE it there. Cuba is still an enchanting island. I've been from one end to the other, to just about every major city except one....Pinar del Rio. There hasn't been alot written about the place in general so I figured I'd better do some scopin' for the boys. At just a 2 hour ride from Havana, its within easy reach. Plus, I like the smaller, quieter cities of Cuba vs Havana and touristy spots like Cienfuegos and Holguin. Sure, you need to speak Spanish and be a little savvy but, man, the rewards are worth it for sure. There's something about those simple, sweet country girls that I love (mainly that they're not hard core ho's). Plus, the people tend to be very hospitable and sincere.
The Road to
What a great ride! If you enjoy driving, Cuba is a great place to drive. Yeah, there's the cows in the middle of the road, ditches big enough to fit your rental car in and very few services along the Autopista. But, there's also almost no traffic, lots of hitch hikers and beautiful scenery along the way. The road to Pinar del Rio is in good shape and smooth. I suggest cranking up a little "Guajiro Natural" by Polo Montanez (a Pinar native) on your CD player and hitting the road.
There's actually three ways to go: the Autopista which is a straight shot, the Carretera Central which is also a straight shot but cuts through all the small towns on the way and the road along the North Coast which is tiny but very scenic. The North Coast road cuts through Vinales before you reach Pinar del Rio. There's TONS of hitch hikers on the way if you want to pick up some company. Either way you decide to go, to go from Havana, here's what I strongly suggest. Its easy and quick. Follow the Malecon from wherever you are to the Miramar Tunnel.The road on the other side of the tunnel is La Quinta (5th Avenue) which is the main drag through Miramar and Playa. Follow it past 70th Avenue staying straight through any circles and you'll soon run into a sign which says 'Autopista" on your left. If you want to take either the Autopista or the Carretera Central, follow that and its subsequent signs (its a no brainer). To take the North Coast road, just stay straight towards Santa Fe and Mariel (you'll pass the Marina Hemingway on your right) and you're headed in the right direction. ** A word of caution: There's some fucking nut about 5 miles outside of Pinar on your way in that will stand in the middle of the road (with a very official looking stance) holding a BIG, bright red sign signaling you to pull over. He wants you to think that he's some official but he's nothing more than a stupid (albeit resourceful and daring) jinitero. I never stop even for the police when they signal me but I slowed down enough to here the obiquitous "My fren"....what a fucking asshole. Anyway, be careful 'cause he will come right in the middle of the road and play chicken with you to stop. Slow down just enough to throw something at him
Junction" - Welcome to Pinar del Rio:
If you've ever been to Santa Clara, you'll relate real well to this. Jiniteros are just part of the experience of Cuba. You can't avoid them and if you find a good one, they can be a real help in getting the lowdown on a city real quick. However, they are a pain in the ass because of their insistence. "No me molesta por favor" doesn't work anymore so I use the street slang of "No me sofuckee" (spelling?). It works real good Anyway, Pinar has got to be the worst city there is for jiniteros. They don't see alot of tourists, and the ones they do see are the backpacker crowd (ie no money). If you come in off the Autopista, just as it ends, it turns into Main Street Pinar. The boys on the bikes are waiting for you in full force.
Where to Find
There's six good venues to find chicas in Pinar del Rio:
1. The Street - If you know how to speak rudimentary Spanish and know how to smile, this shouldn't be too hard to do. Walking around town between some breaks in the rain (Pinar is actually a pretty small place) I got lots of eye contact and reciprocal smiles. I pulled in a cute little juagira that was shopping with her sister and took her back for the afternoon for a few hours. Man, what a great girl!! When I gave her $20 her eyes lit up for a split second then looked downward, almost in shame, as she held on to it tightly. I told her it was shopping money, and that I didn't think she was a 'ho. Seemed to work as she gave me a great goodbye kiss. My cold was getting worse and it was just what I needed to get some siesta time as the skies opened up to thunderstorms and torrential rain that was to continue from then on in).
2. The Jiniteros - The boys will bring you girls even without soliciting them. Three different times, even after I had told them to fuck off, I was approached by them and told to look across the street. Everytime, there was some sweetie standing there on cue smiling and waving ever so slightly. However, I just hate these fuckers 'cause its probably their own girlfriend that they're hustling. One was oh so tempting, and he and she both knew it, and were surprised when I declined.
3. Cafe Pinar
- The Rumbos - Definately ground zero for chicas. Its open from noon on
and something is usually mulling around. At night, there's live music and
the bartender there told me its chica haven. Its a nice, open air place
and on nice nights, you can sit there, pick from the lot and enjoy live
music under the stars. Unfortunately for me, it was fucking pouring by early
evening again and it closed down for the night.
4. El Criollo - I hear that this is a great spot too. In an earlier report, a TSMer had written that "A nice place to go is El Criollo, which is an open-air cabaret close to the pub La Taverna at Calle Solano Ramos. There is dancing after the show and there are always lots of gorgeous chicks around, most of which are very available. The Criollo is not open every night of the week, but there didn't seem to be any fixed days when I was in Pinar. Better ask around first if you want to go there." It was closed while I was there. SHIT!
5. El Rumayor - This is another cabaret/disco located just outside of town. Again, as luck would have it, it was closed because the rain was so hard, that part of the building had gotten damaged. Man, was I having shit luck or what?
6. The Disco at the Pinar Hotel - You'll pass this hotel on the way into town. Its right across the street from the U of Pinar dorm rooms!! Never got a chance to check it out because of the rain, but I bet just hanging around the area during the day would bring some excellent results! Anyway, the disco was nothing to write home about, but it was OK. At least it was inside and and dry! They wrote down all the girls carnet numbers going in. Entrance was $5US for 2 but that included credit at the bar for a couple of drinks. The night I was there (Friday), the disco was about three quarters full. The girls there are not your aggressive "Johnny's" ho's. They wait for you to approach but I promise, 90% are available.
What else....money!! How much? That's up to you but I have yet to pay a chica more than $25 (with a few exceptions in Havana) and that was for exceptional service. Usually its $15-20. No, I'm not cheap but that's just what the going rate is anywhere outside Havana, simple as that. Here's the dialogue with the one I brought home at night. Mind you we're butt naked, in the middle of things: "Listen mi amor, tell me what you need from me before we go any further. I want us both to be happy and get it out of the way"
"Whatever you want to give me"
(I laugh)"OK, how about $5?" I say jokingly to keep it from getting heavy and to give her an opportunity to say what she really wants.
"How about seventy?" she says.
"What...pesos?" I respond. "Surely, you don't mean dollars" still laughing.
"No, dollars" as she lets go of my dick.
"OK, get your clothes on, and get out" I say kindly.
"OK, how about fifty?" she counters.
"Don't forget anything when you leave, I don't want you coming back here"
"OK, OK...how about forty?".
Now, I'm getting irritated and she sees it.
"OK...get the fuck out before I throw you out"
"But I want to fuck. I have to fuck now! I'm sorry. Just give me $20".
Finale to the story. By now, I was so aggravated with her I wouldn't fuck her if she paid ME. Got her out after some whining and hit the street 10 minutes later to go to the Rumbos for a rum to feed my cold.
As luck would have it, who do you think was at the corner? Yup, the guajira WITH her sister under a makeshift piece of plastic as an umbrella. They had obviously seen the whole thing and looked a little disappointed. I told them what happened and we all had a good laugh. Then came one of those comments that are music to our ears.
"My sister needs a few things for herself but has no money".
Well, after all the shit luck I'd been having, I was due. She wound up being as sweet as her sister. She spent the night, gave me a great morning BBBJ, and was happy as a lark when I gave her a $20 plus an extra $10 to share with her sister. Hmmmm....never did get that rum I wanted.
Would I go back? You bet. Is it a pussy haven? No, but there are definite possibilities there. Even with all the rain and shit luck and not feeling good, Pinar was OK. Under better circumstances, it could be great! However, keep in mind, if you are a "point and click" P4P kind of guy, and don't speak Spanish and are not aggressive enough to approach women, stay away. You'll be disappointed. You will definately need some language skills.
I'll hopefully be back under better circumstances and give you guys an update. I'll also get to Vinales and scope out whats going on there. I know its a beautiful place and I'm sorry I couldn't go due to the weather. Thanks for listening.
A few notes:
There are no regular taxis in Pinar, only bicy-taxis and Taxi Particulars.There are LOTS of casa particulars all over town. If you don't have wheels, stay close (within 2 blocks) to the town center. Its a little noisy but everything is within easy access. Most casas are $15 a night.At 2 - 21/2 hours from Havana, its close enough to drive down in the day and if you don't dig it, to get back to Havana by night.
here to see the photos
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