Since it was the
wee hours of the morning, after check-in, we toddled up to our
rooms to go to bed. The rooms were nice, and were furnished in
antiques. The bathrooms had been recently redone. Overall, I'd
say they were very similar to older US hotels, such as the St
Francis in downtown San Francisco.
The only odd thing
about the room is that the air conditioning works with a key card,
and they like you to take the card out when you leave the room.
There's even a television, which is hooked into some kind of satellite
to receive European TV. We didn't spend much time looking at it,
but there was another that was left tuned to European CNN out
in the floor lobby. Interesting that the Cubans are willing to
allow this (we were told they can't have VCR's and here they are
watching foreign television), but Cuban Nationals can't stay here,
so maybe they aren't worried about it.
This is my second
brush with lodging in a communist country, my first being stays
in St Petersburg and Moscow some years ago. This hotel was definitely
nicer than the ones we stayed at in Russia.
Nacional would definitely do as a base of operations in Cuba!
The next morning
we awoke hungry, and proceeded out of our rooms to discover what
was available. Since we are staying on the Executive Floor, there
is a small floor lobby with a nice spread laid out for us.
There is fruit,
both fresh and dried, cereal (basic corn flakes and such), and
some Cuban pastries laid out. In back is coffee and hot water
with tea bags. Despite my love of coffee,
I've gotten into the habit of drinking hot tea unless I'm certain
the coffee is good.
The milk and cereal
is so-so, so I switch to oatmeal for most breakfasts, with an
occasional Cuban pastry thrown in. We later found out that milk
is a rare commodity here. It is rationed, and Cubans older than
6 get no milk except powdered. Probably ours was powdered and
that's why it tasted funny.
The Cuban pastries
were interesting. They're tasting, but not anything I'd covet
in quantity. They are much less sweet, much doughier, and much
less pretty to look at than the pastries we're used to here.