Imagine my surprise, returning to my hotel at the end of a long day to find that the towels had all been arranged on my bed so that they resemble swans. I found that this display of housekeeping origami was more the norm than not. Now think about walking into a small bodega-type store only to find that boxes of vanilla- or chocolate-filled cookies were pretty much the only packaged goods on the shelf. Not far away stretched a canopy of foliage where I spotted the world's smallest bird, the bee hummingbird.
Another day, I walked around a village that's completely wrapped around an eco concept, where a restaurant is solar powered and the hotel was built to accommodate the resident trees. In this village, Las Terrazas, I sat at a coffee shop high above lush gardens, ordered a cappuccino and stared into the foam at the barrista's insistence: the chocolate powder was sprinkled in the form of Che Guevara. Welcome to Cuba, a land of diversity and disparities, a land with warm, welcoming and exceedingly creative people, and protected green spaces that would satisfy even the most discriminating birder or botanist. I found a family of potters, a young jazz ensemble, a choral group whose repertoire included everything from Renaissance to Japanese folk music, and a slew of contemporary painters producing some very surreal work that I would gladly own.
Because it's difficult for Americans to travel to Cuba directly, I signed up with International Expeditions so that I could see the less touristy side of this politically-charged isle.
The above slide show will give you a glimpse into Cuba's colorful treasures.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Cuba In PIctures
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My parents just went to Cuba on an elderhostel trip of some sort. They loved it. I think they flew from Miami--it's getting easier and easier to get there. I kinda hope that they never get up to date cars because the old ones are so charming to see in the photos.
Hi Alisa, I'm so glad your parent enjoyed their trip to Cuba. I also flew from Miami. And, I agree that seeing nothing but old cars on the streets certainly adds a charm element to the landscape.
Towels arranged like swans sounds divine. I know that Cuba has some great filmmakers, too.
Beautiful pictures---thanks for sharing this slice of Cuba!
Hi Jane, I met so many creative people during my one-week stay.
Hi Irene, thanks much. Glad you enjoyed my slide show.
Wonderful photos. I want to go to Cuba!
What a gift to be able to travel this way. What an adventure.
Hi About the Book, If you want any advise on travel to Cuba, don't hesitate to ask me.
HI merr, Oh, it definitely was an adventure!
What gorgeous pictures. I've always thought that Cuba would make for an amazing vacation.
Hi MyKidsEatSquid, Even though I spent a week, there was so much of the country left to explore. I'd like to return next year.
Cuba is definitely on the list! Would love to go there one day soon!
HI Anthony, Cool. If you go, I would definitely visit the western part of Cuba.
I am fascinated by Cuba. Thanks for the vicarious trip. I just kept going back to look at the coffee. How DID they do that?
Hi Vera, The barista used a stencil along with the powdered cocoa to create the Che visage.
Lovely photos that make me want to push Cuba even higher on the to do list. About 20 years ago, I had friends who flew to Canada and visited Cuba against the U.S. laws. I'd love to visit Cuba sooner rather than later. I want to see it before tourism changes the country forever.
Hi Donna, If you'll be visiting Cuba, let me know and I can provide all kinds of tips. And, I agree that going before an influx of tourism changes the character of the country is a great idea.
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