It has been so hot that when we went to bed
last night I set the air-conditioner to absolute zero.The efficient device took me at my word and we froze in the
night so I had to get up and turn it off.It has been extremely hot and humid here in Trinidad,
situated along the azure blue Caribbean Ocean on the southern coast
of Cuba. Our AC at hotel La Ronda was a blessing.
Woke at 6AM, showered, dressed and joined our
group in the hotel bar for a quick breakfast.Unfortunately Mike, Rob and Jan have come down with Castro’s
Revenge, an intestinal bug, and are staying in their beds at the
At 8AM we boarded the bus for the hour and a
half drive into Cienfuegos, a bustling historic town on the bay.We toured government shops and pharmacies where locals buy
goods using the Cuban peso, and other shops where the merchandise is
purchased with CUCs (Cuban convertable pesos.)
Here is a link for more information on the Cuban CUC.
Annette and amigo
Bob, Ramiro and Hermes then took us on a tour of one of the
fascinating and legendary government-owned cigar factories, the
Upmann Fabrica de Tabacos.
Next we visited a graphic arts studio where the
works of several talented local artists are created, displayed and
Back on the bus for a two-minute ride to a
bay-side restaurant called Villa Lagarto for a delicious lunch of
fresh warm bread, mango, pineapple, soup, omelet, grilled
vegetables, yucca, soda and flan.
Throughout the day various members of our
group, including Carol, have begun to feel ill either from
intestinal distress or heat exhaustion.
After lunch the Hermes delivered us to
we shopped until 2PM.At
2:00 we met at the museum for a truly memorable mini-concert
performed by a local chamber music orchestra. the Orquesta de Camara.At one point, the young spokesman/violinist said “We have a
gift for you and we hope you enjoy it,” and they performed for us a
very sweet, melancholy rendition of Shenandoah.Many of our group were in tears.It was a truly beautiful and unforgettable experience.
Here is their beautiful rendition of a great American song,
Click above to hear the beautiful rendition of Shenandoah
After the sweet hour or so listening to the beautiful music of La
Orquesta de Camara in Cienfuegos, we wandered around the town
square, basking in the ambience of the old and grand city. I
spent some time at a gazebo listening to a fairly decent busker.
Street busker in Cienfuegos
At 4PM we boarded the Havanatur bus (wonderful
Hermes is always there to help us on or off) for the hour and a half
excursion back to Trinidad.I sat with Tyler and we compared notes about guitars, amps
and music in general.
Back at the hotel we rested for a while. Carol
is not feeling well but we walked in the vicinity of the hotel with
Bob, DeeAnn, Bonnie and Phil, stopping to visit with a family that
Bob had befriended on a previous trip.Their warm and gracious hospitality overwhelmed us. The
matriarch of the family served us delicious, cool tamarind juice as
Bob schmoozed with the various members of the family in Spanish.We love Bob’s strong Boston accent and I wondered if that
accent was evident as he spoke Spanish throughout our trip.
Bob's beautiful and gracious friends in Trinidad
All too soon we had to bid adios to our new
friends and we strolled back to the hotel to freshen up and rest.Along the way we passed several paladars, which are
restaurants that people set up in their houses (capitalism?) and
through one window we spied several tables and chairs set up in
Carol is now officially
ill and has started a course of Cipro antibiotics.She rested in our room until 8PM and
then we went downstairs to the hotel bar/dining room to join Jerry
and Mary Caye for vegetable soup and bread and interesting
At 10PM we were back in
our room.Carol feels a tad better now and we
finished packing for tomorrow’s journey to Havana.By 10:30 we were fast asleep after
another adventurous, fun and exhausting day.