|And we are off again on another adventure! This time to Cuba. We landed in Santa Clara last Mon. afternoon. After picking up a little Chinese Geely, we headed southwest through mountain and beautiful scenery skirting the large cities avoiding bicyclests, horse-drawn carts, old big diesel trucks and the occasional farm tractor. We started on a 4 lane freeway that quickly became 2 way traffic--a little harrowing. We saw lots of herds of goats, brahma cattle and occasionally horses. The scenic mountains gave way to an agricultural plain as we neared Camaguay. It was after 5p before we found a room for the night in Las Tunas.
Las Tunas is renowned for its one time resident sculptor Rita Lourna (spelling??) Here there are many memorials to her. One fountain is a reclining woman inthe shape of Cuba.
From here we went to Santiago de Cuba where we explored the Castillo delMuerto San Pedro de la Roca. We spent a night here. Maps lie. The GPS couldn't find it and both maps had it on different sides of the bay. Finally the GPS came through.
The next day found us following the coastal road past Guantanamo to Baracoa. Beautiful scenery. Lonely roads--great!! A hurricane--mathew--last October caught the southern tip of Cuba and wrecked havoc! Palms, cocoa trees and others were snapped in half, blown down or defronded. What a mess! Slowly people are cleaning up, repairing buildings and getting on with life.
It is a different lifestyle here. People move slower, eat on a different schedule, work longer hours, more than one job to make ends meet. Two sets of currency is confusing. The CUP is tourist currency and COP Cuban currency. Many times we have paid in 'cooks' when it should have been national....but we are learning.
Houses are smaĺ and seem tired for the most part. Some are brightly painted blues, greens, yellows, or pinks to reds....especially in tourist areas.
For the most part, the countryside is clean.
Baracoa was greatly affected by the hurricane. There is a lot of cleaning and construction underway. We stayed at a 'Casa Particulaire' just off the melacon. Painting and cleaning were underway. Breakfast was delicious with tropical fruits and juices, jams, fried eggs, fresh tomatoes and buns. ( toast does not seem to exist). In Baracoa we went to the local museum in an old fort to see the polychrita snails--the only place we were guaranteed to see these brightly colored snails. They hide after storms. Who can blame them? We also learned lots of history from before Columbus to present day.
Today we drove north along the Moa to Baracoa 'highway'. We started on a paved potholed road winding around the bay to the river where the bridge was washed out and replaced with a low paved causeway. From here the road was gravel. In places it went from one pothole--deep--to another. We had beautiful scenery with frequent views of the ocean, little bays and clear rivers. Little villages were scattered along the way. Traffic was light. But 55 kms and 2 hours later we were back on pavement with a large town, 3 mines (ferrous-nickel and cobalt) in sight and lots of truck traffic that thinned as we neared Holguin.
Tonight we areback in sugarcane country at Las Tunas. The hotel was easy to find. Tomorrow we are driving to Cayo Coca....causeway. The Geely can't swim yet.
Food has on the whole been good. We have enjoyed the rice and black beans. Scallops and shrimp cooked in enchillada sauce are tasty. (Tomatoes, peppers and onions). Langostina is delicious anyway they serve it. We haven't needed spice.
Shall say 'bye for now.