Trinidad has been our home for the past three days, and we’ve had an amazing time staying in casas particulares, getting to know our Cuban hosts a little better with each passing day. We attended Easter mass. We worked on circumlocution and learned some Cuban slang. We interviewed each other en espanol, and we discovered how much we love mangos. We swam three times in three different bodies of water. We´ve used a ton of sunscreen, and a ton of Spanish.
Our last night in Trinidad, we had an amazing conversation about our impressions of Cuba so far. We talked about the government slogans on the highway in place of advertisements; how quickly the city falls away into country; the unbelievable warmth of the Cuban people. We recapped some highs from the trip: swimming at the beach in the rain; singing with the Cuban amigos in the park; leaping from a cliff into a green limestone pool. During a walk, the simple that we were actually in Cuba. How many Americans have the chance to say that?
Today, we swam in a crystal clear cenote, and tonight, we’re salsa-ing the noche away. Manyana: a scavenger hunt through Old Havana, and a cena de despedida with the Cuban amigos. Time flies…we’ll see Boston soon! Till then, some photos:
We had another great day in Cuba–looking toward the earth that nourishes the Cuban people and continues to fuel their social revolution, and also out to the sea that continues to inspire and soothe. We checked out of our hotel and headed toward Trinidad. Our first stop was Organoponico Alamar, east of Havana.This group was feeling pretty good about that wheelbarrow full of garlic.
We had a funny and comprehensive tour lead by the daughter of this amazing semi-urban organic farm on the forefront of the organic farming movement that started during the Special Period in Cuba. The Special Period began when the Soviet Union fell and, basically overnight, Cuba lost the sustained import of food and oil from the Soviet Union. The pre-Easter winds calmed the hot sun and provided for a wonderful climate to walk around the farm, learning about all the different aspects of production, including medicinal plants, vermicompost, and strange fruits and plants that some were daring enough to try.
By the end of the tour, we started to hear the call of the sea and made the short drive to the small fishing village of Cojimar, where Hemingway lived for some time. We had the bus drop us off along the seawall away from the main tourist area, and walked along the ocean feeling its strong salty breeze, occasionally standing by against the seawall, daring the waves to jump over and drench us. The waves didn’t hesitate to do so, which made for some funny moments. When we arrived at the castle and Hemingway statue, we enjoyed sitting in the sun, listening to a small trio play classic Cuban songs, as well as one the old Cuban man wrote about the friendship of Cuba and the US told using the example of Hemingway’s love for Cojimar.
A couple students took the lead to guide us to where we ate lunch, using their Spanish (which is improving dramatically) as we walked to ask Cubans for directions. After lunch we continue the bus journey, arriving in Trinidad before sunset.
Upon arrival in Trinidad we met with 11 different homestay or “casa particular” hosts. We split up into groups and settled into our casas, enjoying wonderful homecooked meals. Some students reported that they had conversations of more than 30 minutes with their hosts–entirely in Spanish! After dinner we met up as a group again and headed to La Casa de La Musica in Trinidad. Just after we got there and settled on the cobblestone steps overlooking the band, this over 10-piece salsa group started performing with the typical Cuban energy and unbelievable talent. A group of students didn’t hesitate to go down to the dance floor and get people moving. The salsa lesson in Havana was fun and useful, but here we were living it, breaking free from the 123, 567, and reacting to the dynamic music.
The second day of our aventura Cubana was another full (& fenomenal) day! We sang songs and practiced our salsa steps with new Cuban friends, visited an artist collective, listened to a talk from a seasoned American journalist, and walked the Malecon. And you thought you had a busy day!
Optimistic gentlemen at Muraleando.
Considering some art.
Yesterday: a pause in front of historic hotel Ambos Mundos. Hemingway was nowhere to be found.
The rumors are true: even teachers dance!
Using our new salsa moves.
Una charla con periodista Mark Frank.
El grupo entero en el Malecon!!
Abrazos a todos. Hasta la promixa!
Wow! What a great first day. This group has some stamina, and the energy transmitted from the Cuban people gave us the extra push needed to make it through the first day with spirits soaring, despite a looooong travel day. We had a delicious meal overlooking the Havana Bay (in the restaurant where Beyonce and her family ate a few years ago, coincidentally), had a tour of two of the plazas, got settled into our hotel, and had a blast in our first salsa lesson. We’re geared up to have an amazing week in Cuba. Tomorrow we’ll go to an artist workshop and meet our Cuban amigos!
Greg, Julia, Brock and the Wayland crew.
We’ve received word from the leaders that the group has arrived in Havana, Cuba. They have had lunch in Old Havana with an orientation stroll around the Old City and will be headed to their hotel shortly.
Welcome to Putney! This blog is where friends and family can follow along with the Wayland group’s adventures in the Cuba. We will post periodic updates, photos, and stories from our leaders and students throughout the trip.
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