Cuba People to People, Day 5

Waking up on my fifth day in Cuba at the all-inclusive resort Ocean Casa Del Mar by H10 in Cayo Santa Maria (aka the Cuban Keys) was one of the most glorious experiences in my life. This resort was absolutely breathtaking. The walk from my room to the restaurant for breakfast was a tranquil stroll, where I felt like I was on the only person on an island.

I enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Company Restaurant, the ​a la carte restaurant specializing in Cuban cuisine. I enjoyed a banana smoothy and a western-style omelet made fresh by two lovely people.

On our way to our first stop in Caibarien, we drove past a giant statue of a crab. This statue, which was erected in 1983 and marks the entrance to the city of Caibarien, was designed by Florencio Gelabert Pérez.

After the giant crab, we made our way to the Museo de Agroindustria Azucarero Mercelo Salado (Marcelo Salado Sugar Industry Museum). This museum stands as a testament to one of Cuba’s biggest exports during its heyday, sugar. In addition to showcasing the history of the sugar mill industry in Cuba, this museum also touches on the history of slave culture and houses a collection of pre-diesel locomotives.

After the guided tour of the mill, we were treated to a demonstration on sugar cane juice processing. This lovely lady processed a few canes and produced some of the sweetest, purest juice I ever had the pleasure of drinking.

After our sweet drink at the sugar mill, we made our way to the town of Remedios. Once we arrived in the town, we were treated to a taxi bike tour of the town.

As part of the tour we stopped at a food rationing station. Here we witness two ladies checking the quality of a shipment of eggs. They were checking to make sure that they were not damaged.  While our guide Yohandra was showing us how rationing worked, three beautiful children walked in with their parents. The staff perked up and offered the kids candy.  This interaction was another favorite moment; it showed the indomitable and enduring spirit of the Cuban people. Despite not having a lot, their is still joy in daily life.

Our taxi bike tour ended in Remedios.  While in Remedios we visited the Museo Parrandas Remedianas. This museum celebrates the annual Christmas festival, which takes place between December 16th to 26th. The parrandas, which dates back to the late 18th-century, was started by a priest who was concerned about the lack of parishioners at the midnight mass; he tasked neighbor children with waking up the adults using whistles, horn and cans, so that the adults would wake up and have no choice but to attend mass.

Today, the parrandas in Remedios is a fierce competition between the neighborhoods of San Salvador and El Carmen. Each neighborhood goes all out and their work is memorialized in this Museum, which opened in 1980.

Our next stop was the Parish Church of San Juan Bautista. While visiting this Church, we were given an overview of the history of the church and its importance to the people living in Remedios. Situated in one of the poorest part of Cuba, this church takes in gifts (donations) and then cycles them out to its parishioners.

After the busy morning, we retired to our resort hotel to have lunch.

Then we enjoyed a free afternoon on the beach.

The beach was glorious and the water and sand was absolutely perfect.

After a great early evening of enjoying the beach, I enjoyed dinner at the resort. I’m sure I ate more than desert, but this beatific plate of yummy deliciousness was very much loved and appreciated at the end of a beautiful meal.

At sunset, I joined one of my tour-mates on the beach to watch the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.

This was the perfect way to end a great day.

To view more photos from my fifth day in Cuba, click here.



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