Another decent night’s sleep in our comfortable
king-sized bed at the Hotel Melia Cohiba.
After another spectacular breakfast at the
hotel we boarded our Havantur bus to begin our last day of adventure
in the mysterious island of Cuba.
First stop was the Plaza de la Revolucion.When Pope John Paul visited here in 1998 there were over a
million people in the square.
Next stop was the government-run
Julieta cigar store where I purchased several Cohiba cigars for
myself and for friends.
After spending time (and many CUCs) in the
cigar store, Hermes drove us to central Havana where we perused the
Capital building, the grand art-deco Bacardi building, and the
dozens of gorgeous classic American cars lined up there.
Bacardi Building in Havana
Tall people in Havana!
Next, characteristic of Bob’s generosity,
Hermes drove us to the Havana synagogue where a shabbat service was
Synogogue in Havana
After spending a few minutes in the synagogue,
we stopped to tour the massive Havana cemetery where a very animated
and enthusiastic guide pointed out highlights.
Back on the bus, our next stop was the
Fusterlandia area, where the artist Jose Fuster has created a
(En route we drove through the Miramar area and passed by one of
Fidel Castro’s many homes – actually a sprawling multi-acre
average Cuban lives very modestly in small houses and earns twenty
pesos a month, Fidel seems to be in an economic class all his own.)At many sites of interest during our visit to Cuba we have
been presented with Cuba Libra drinks as a welcome, and Fusterlandia
was no exception.
The Gaudi-like Fusterlandia in Havana
With friend Gary at Fusterlandia in Havana
With friend Charlene at Fusterlandia in Havana
Around 1PM we drove to Mediterraneo Havana
restaurant where we were treated to a question-and-answer session
with Rolando Macia Rodriguez, a well-known and highly-respected
retired professional Cuban baseball star while we enjoyed a
delicious lunch of spaghetti, pizza, bread, sweet deserts and
drinks.After lunch the
chef, from Italy, met with us and held his own question-and-answer
Ramiro translates for Rolando Macia Rodriguez
The chef came out to talk to us at Mediterraneo Havana restaurant
At 2:30 we were back on the Havanatur bus for
the short ride back to the hotel, where we showered, packed for
tomorrow’s return flight to Miami, and rested. Sadly, this is our
last few hours in the beautiful enigma called Havana.
At 6PM our group met in
the lobby.Bob informed us that a water pipe had
broken in the wall of his bathroom and there was now a foot of water
in his room.He told us he watched a pair of his
shoes float by.Carol and I had our own share of
problems – our air conditioner failed to cool the room and due to
the tremendous humidity, our clothes and even our bedsheets were
damp.Such are the challenges of travel.It helps to maintain a sense of humor
and go with the flow.In Bob’s case the flow was literal.
We boarded Herme’s
Havanatur bus for our last supper in Cuba.After a short drive west to La Fontana
restaurant, we were seated and treated to a serenade by an
all-female chorale group, followed by a tasty dinner of lobster,
rice, vegetables and drinks.
We are serenaded at La Fontana in Havana
After dinner Bob gave a
farewell talk and then we each took turns sharing our experiences
and impressions during the past week.Many of us were quite emotional.
Back at the hotel by 10PM, we finished packing and
fell into bed, sad to bid adios to a country and a people we have
come to greatly admire.