kumimonster: (me wcGreen)
screw this.
wrote giant blog post.
cuba day 1.
whole thing gone.
kumimonster: (me wcGreen)
Trying this again. Multiple posts already attempted. At least I sorted out the photo posting issue.

Took a red eye flight on March 10. Landed Fort Lauderdale March 11 early am.
Easy enough flight. Slept so-so. Jetblue flight so got a night packet with earplugs and sleep mask which came in handy just about everyday.
Met up with peeps then onwards to Holguin when that flight came up.
Here's photo of me and [livejournal.com profile] wrayb in Florida.



Landed in Cuba after a short flight. Then got on the bus - our part-time home for the next several days under the helm of Captain Pepe. I slept a lot on this bus.
We then proceded up to a hill - the Loma de la Cruz - for a great view of Holguin. It's possible to walk up the 484 steps. It's also possible to go up using other means. I prefer 'other means'.


Then off to the Soviet-era hotel called the Pernik. It's got an impressively sized lobby and pool area. Award winning I heard. It's definitely of an era that's long since been left behind however my first impression was that I liked it.
I didn't get to enjoy the pool. It seemed a bit not-chlorinated-enough for my taste. Also, if you ever come here, bring ear plugs. The place is an echo chamber/sound amplifier.
Once you get to the rooms, the place seems more basic. Very basic and minimal. Towel is thin - (towel: you get one. no biggie for me).
No soaps or other amenities. Shower head was OK but attachment to wall was broken. TV worked. Pillow (single) was more like a loosely stuffed half-a-t-shirt.

20170311_154038.jpg    20170311_154038.jpg


We rested for an hour or so before heading to dinner and the evening concert. That's in the next post.

From my written journal:
11 March
Waiting at the gate and watching the people pass by and those sitting here as well. There's always the one that takes up more seats than decently allowed. Shoes on the seats, etc. Now spraying perfume and assaulting everyone else's sense of smell.

Pet peeve --> annoyance. Excess noise pollution via personal electronics/cell phone use - we all don't want to hear your silly videos from across the room.

Finally on board. March 17, 2016 was the first entry so this has been sporadic journaling for just under a year. I need to write more though. What I really need at the moment is a nap. Here's hoping I can get oe in on this short flight to Holguin. Slept horribly last night. Usually plane sleeping happens for me but this wasn't as good as other experiences.

12 March
Yesterday first. Flights were no problem. Somewhat of a long connection at FLL but in the end it wasn't unbearable.
(Long? nothing at all like the 10+ hour ones I've done).
The only long line came after arrival at Holguin after going through passport control. Had to wait to go though a security check point and scan primarily used to check for items the govt could charge duy on for locals coming in or people attempting to sell big ticket items. From there we all jumped on a nice tour bus and headed up a hill over looking the city of Holguin witha great view of all the surroundings. On top of the area was a small fort-like structure as well as a cross. Later that night we'd see the spot from below lit up with white lights lining the 484 steps that went from street level to the top. The cross was lit up with a bright blue light.

...the Hotel Pernik. It's a pretty cool giant hotel with about five floors. The lobby area is large and spread out with dated decore. The hotel is a Soviet-era constuction that has totally gone off the vibe of the past with slippery tiled floors ad entrance way. INside the decore is in shades of dark orange and brown and red. Some of the furniture on the upper floor "lobby" areas show definite signs of wear. They're also very low-seating @ only a food or so of height.
kumimonster: (me wcGreen)
We got in the bus and headed into town to the Restaurante Avilés.
It was really nice for our first place and there we met the local historian/musician who gave us a history of the restaurant, the building itself, and some local facts. After we ate, he took us to the space next door to show us the room the band practiced in. The Orquesta Hermanos Avilés was founded in 1882. After that we moved to a larger space and the band performed for us. The private concert was finished off by everyone dancing.




Back to the hotel and bed to prepare for the next day.

From the written journal:
After a nice nap we headed off for dinner.The place was aptly named Restaurante Avilés. There we were given an opening introduction of the history of the place and a drink. I ended up getting one without the rum.
For food options there was a choice between marlin and chicken. I had the fish. Sides for the main was rice with a lot of beans. Ick! There were multiple courses though and then there was ajicao which was different from the one I've tried at home but still very good. Dessert was flan! :-)
Next door to the restaurant was an open sapve where we were given another history lesson by the local music historian of the area. The space was the practice room of the Orquesta Hermanos Avilés which was founded in 1882 originally.

We all piled into the bus once again and headed to a space that looked like it functioned as a children's day care or play space. Either way it was quite sparse. We watched the band play for about an hour or so. It was great. Most members of the group took photos or videos and danced.
kumimonster: (me wcGreen)
Day 2 started with a very nice sunrise before jumping onto the bus and heading to Sagua de Tánamo to see the Tumba Francesa de Bejuco. When we arrived, the town band was playing in the square and performed a song for us before we all headed into their local cultural center and a museum to listen to a local artist and town historian.
We're going to meet a lot of historians filled with information on their local areas. It's really enlightening and encouraging to see how they try and keep their traditions and culture alive.





After the dancing we jumped on the bus and had lunch with the performers. Afterwards they would then jump into the back of a truck for their 3 hour journey back into the mountains to Bejuco while we had the comfortable bus take us to Santiago. I slept for most of that drive. But woke up when we got to Santiago.



We checked into the hotel Imperial and rested for a bit. Then it was off to dinner which was on the roof of the hotel.
It's got a very nice view.




i tried to take a few panorama shots. I will attempt to link full size images to the smaller ones.

That's it for day 2.

From the journal:

Today is the long drive north and east to the coast followed by a doubly long drive to the opposite southern coast to Santiago. I think now is a grand time to nap.

13 March
Pretty much slept through all of the driving we did to the town where we saw the tumba francesa, museum and dancers.
Noticed that the dancing was very stiff and controlled. All due to the French infuence in Haiti Th ancestors of these dancers then came to Cuba and attempted to continue the tradition. The singer sang in Creole.
After the performances we went to lunch with them. It was chicken and more rice with beans. I really wish I brought the hot sauce.

I awoke again when we arrived in Santiago mid-drive.


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