It was even better than the ones we'd been getting at the hotel - more selections! (Not much more but hey, they had hot chocolate!).
Trying to get through this so quick summary of parts.
Back to the city center where we got a lecture on the local history from the local historian. He was pretty awesome. He knew a lot about the area and spoke about his attempts to carry his suitcase museum to other more remote areas to share and collect information. He's also got the title of historian of the country or something like that. I'll edit when I get the better details.
So the church we met at is the Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. The Cruz de la Parra is located here too. It's supposed to be one of the last remaining 29 crosses erected by Columbus in 1492 - or so they say. Now after carbon dating they realized that the wood doesn't seem to come from Spain so who knows what's really the truth? Regardless, the church has gone through some renovations but it is the one of the oldest - remember, Baracoa is also known as the first city of Cuba since this is where Spain is thought to have landed.
Facing the church doors with all his pride is Hatuey - the first rebel of the Americas. He seems to have been a pretty bad ass guy. Unfortunately he was betrayed in the end - isn't that how it always is? - and he got caught by the Spaniards and was burned alive. When he was asked if he wanted to repent, confess and get the chance to go to Heaven, he asked the priest if there Spaniards would be there too. The priest said yes and so he said he'd rather go to Hell.
"Here is the God the Spaniards worship. For these they fight and kill; for these they persecute us and that is why we have to throw them into the sea... They tell us, these tyrants, that they adore a God of peace and equality, and yet they usurp our land and make us their slaves. They speak to us of an immortal soul and of their eternal rewards and punishments, and yet they rob our belongings, seduce our women, violate our daughters. Incapable of matching us in valor, these cowards cover themselves with iron that our weapons cannot break."
He's also known as "The Indian" and Cohiba as well as some other brands use him as their logo. They couldn't have picked better. I started reading up on the guy. I'm surprised there isn't a movie out yet. I guess Columbus makes for better box office figures. And so Hatuey faces off in the town square against the Church and all it stands for. I really, really like everything about it.
We then wandered over to the local gallery where many of us bought pieces of art. I did too. It was a really nice gallery!
The Baracoa visit was one highlight after another. We stopped off at an old hotel owned by a woman from Russia and got the history of that - I was paying less attention here. And that was followed to a visit to the Museo Matachin for our next bit of entertainment.
We got in a bit too late the night before and instead of getting two bands, we only got one. The one that was about to play was pushed back to today and wow, we were all so thrilled not to have missed them! They were my favorite of the entire trip and yet they didn't have any CDs for purchase. Luckily I've already found them on Spotify and Amazon too!
Just going to drop the music right here:
The rest of the Videos are at my VIMEO page.
Just watching these over again make me feel really good. I really did like Baracoa and I need to plan a return that lasts a few days longer!
Then on to the next stop and lunch. That goes in the next post.