Ernesto next suggested a trip to the Zapata Peninsula – to the “Swamp of Cienaga”, to be exact. Presumably he thought I needed to see a tourist attraction with more excitement than lakes, bird-filled forests and waterfalls. So after driving for at least an hour in the fast lane of the pot-holed and badly patched six-lane highway known as the autopista, we turned off towards Australia… that is, the village of Australia, Cuba. Apart from slaloming around potholes, it had been a fairly peaceful drive, during which we’d only encountered a handful of other cars and the occasional highway worker, machete in hand, cutting back the flowering bushes on the centre strip.
In Australia, a roadside policeman flagged us down for a document check. We held our breath while it was established that Ernesto’s papers and permits were all in order, freeing us to continue down this smaller road, past ox-carts, farmers on horseback or bicycles and uniformed school kids being transported in farm wagons. Continue reading At the crocodile farm with Ernesto