Returning to Havana

A view of Havana at sunset from the roof of the Saratoga Hotel. Photo by David Lansing.

I don’t know which is worse: Getting up at four in the morning to catch the five hour bus ride down to Jucaro or getting on the bus in Jucaro after a four hour boat ride knowing you won’t get back into Havana until seven or eight at night. Probably the later, particularly on this trip where we shared the bus on Saturday with a group of rowdy Russians who passed the time by getting exceptionally drunk.

Actually, as it turns out, they weren’t Russians. They were Finns. Which is about as close to being Russian as you’re going to get. Except I think the Finns drink more. Actually, they weren’t such a bad bunch. We met them again Saturday night at a club in Havana where they were (once again) getting completely shit-faced. They certainly were better fisherman than we were if you’re to believe their stories. Two of them got the triple crown—catching a bonefish, tarpon, and permit on the same day. That’s pretty astonishing. Particularly since none of the six of us even caught a permit.

One of the guys we talked to told us, in slurred English, that one of the guys who got the triple crown was the captain of Finland’s national fly-casting team. That’s amazing. Who knew Finland had a national fly-casting team? And for what reason? Are they trying to get fly-casting into the Olympics? Does the U.S. have a national fly-casting team? God I hope not.

Even more amazing is that the second Finn to get the triple crown of fishing is, according to his mate, “the most famous movie actor in Finland.” Again, I’m shocked. I didn’t know Finland had a movie industry. I have seen Swedish movies, of course. And even some from Denmark and Iceland. But I can’t honestly say I’ve ever seen (or heard) of a Finnish movie. What would it be called—“How to Drink a Bottle of Vodka in Under Ten Minutes”?

Even saying someone is the most famous movie star in Finland is kind of contradictory, isn’t it? I mean, it’s like saying someone is the most famous lacrosse player in the United States. There may be a lacrosse athlete in the U.S. who is better known than any other (although, help me out here—who the hell would that be?) but he still wouldn’t be famous. Because nobody would know who he was. And that’s kind of the way I felt about the “famous movie actor” from Finland. I think they even told us his name, but I’d never heard of him so five minutes later, I didn’t know who he was. You see what I’m saying?

Anyway, Saturday night we got to our hotel, the Saratoga, about 7:30 and everyone took a quick shower and then we headed for a nearby bar where we immediately ordered a round of Kristals and shots of rum at the bar and proceeded to get a bit tight. Hanging out for five hours on the bus with the Finns had made us all quite thirsty.

Tags: ,


  1. Janet tillman’s avatar

    Beautiful photograph,Dave. Sounds like your trip was really something!

  2. david’s avatar

    Thanks Janet!

Comments are now closed.