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The Road to Cienfuegos
The Cuban travelogue continues.
Yesterday the group left Havana after having three lovely days there. We began our travels east to Cienfuegos. Along the way we made a few stops throughout the country.
Our first stop was at an arts institute located in the province of Matanzas for students after high school that focuses on visual arts, music, and dance. We were treated to both a music and dance performance. In addition, Pete and Matteo joined the band and performed a song by the Grateful Dead entitled “Franklin’s Tower.” For me, this was one of the highlights of the trip. Afterwards I asked Matteo how the performance went for him. He told me that he was sweating the whole time. When I asked if it was because he was nervous or if it was the heat, he replied that it was probably a little bit of both.
We continued east to Playa Larga where the group enjoyed lunch at a casa particular. A casa particular is basically Cuba’s version of a bed and breakfast, and it was one of the initiatives put in place in Cuba for people to make money after the Special Period in the 1990s. For those who do not know, the Special Period is the name given to the era of hardship in Cuba after the fall of the Soviet Union.
After lunch, students swam in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and had a wonderful time doing so. From here, we visited Playa Giron Museum. This museum presents an interesting change in perspective to us Americans because while the Cubans refer to this area as Playa Giron, we know it as the Bay of Pigs.
We arrived safely in Cienfuegos and enjoyed another lovely dinner located along the water. It was extra special because we had the opportunity to celebrate Pete's birthday.
Pete and Matteo playing with a Cuban band.
Celebrating Pete's brithday.