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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 2 - Exploring Havana

Day 2: May 15th, 2012



Click here to view a web album containing 66 high-resolution photos from this day.

Greetings! It turns out that Internet access is a bit trickier than I had hoped. We rode a bus to a large hotel in Havana that features a business center that sells Internet access. Cost: $14 Cuban dollars (about $16) for 2 hours of dial-up speed access. I’ll take it! But as a result, I will only be able to update the blog this once from Havana, and I will only be able to post low resolution photos. I will post high resolution photos at the end of the trip. I’m sure you understand!

Today was a wonderful day spent exploring Havana, both modern and old. We started the day with breakfast at our hotel:

We left at 9AM and headed by tour bus to modern Havana. Our first stop was the Hotel Nacional, Cuba’s most famous hotel. We toured the beautiful grounds, admired Cuba’s largest canons, and toured a bar that features photos of hundreds of its most famous guests, which ranged from Hugo Chavez to Gary Cooper to Audioslave:

Next stop was Revolutionary Square, a large monument to heroes from Cuba’s history:

From there, we traveled to Cuba’s old city. We spent several wonderful hours walking the narrow cobblestone streets, admiring the ornate building (some restored and some decaying), listened to street musicians, and shopped for local crafts:

I have to say that old Havana was my favorite spot on the trip so far. We all met for a traditional Cuban lunch (black bean soup, rice, potatoes, pork, ice cream) located in a shady courtyard:

From there, we explored old Havana for another hour, and then we drove to a local crafters’ market. Many souvenirs and gifts for friends and family were purchased! There was a dazzling display of paintings, wood carvings, clothing, leather goods, and other variety of art:

Our final stop of the day was a national rainforest park for a Cuban percussion lesson. A Cuban professor of music led us through and hour-long class on how to play each instrument, and how to perform various Cuban rhythms. Byran noted that, by the end, we were much better than we were at the start:

After our full day exploring Havana, we ventured back to the hotel. At this point, I headed out to the Internet hotel to upload this blog, while everyone else rested and prepared for dinner. Tonight: dinner at a local restaurant and then we’re all off to experience that night life of Havana!

We are all enjoying the trip immensely, with a sense of awe at all our new experiences. The Cuban people are universally warm and gracious. It is interesting to note that everyone assumes that we are Canadian, since American tourists are still quite rare.

I will update the blog as I can. Everyone is healthy and very happy to be in Cuba.

Best wishes from Havana,

Ejs

3 comments:

  1. I'm enjoying this vicariously! It sounds like everyone is having a great time, and I'm looking forward to hearing more whenever you can blog.
    -Lisa Urry

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  2. Sounds like a great first day. Great pictures (despite the resolution). Weather looks grey but is it warm? Where are you all staying? Loved the music lesson!

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  3. Hi guys,
    how was today. Are you now at the Playa Larga?? Looks good online!!!! Hope you are all great and safe. Special greetings to Freddles, Momma Bear

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