Pinar del Rio
Atenas de Cuba People-to-People Program

  Dispatch 7 - Vinales


  The day started with a couple of rain squalls. The first unseasonable weather in a week. Mostly the weather hasn’t been of note and worth a lot of discussion. It has been pleasant and great: enough sun so that we need sunscreen-applying rituals but enough overcast to keep the heat down and the winds were moderate. In the same period as this trip California, Texas and Peru were flooding, deadly tornadoes in Florida and blistering heat in Latin America. This all prompts the Cubans to tell a joke about the El Niño weather phenomenon – it is also a commentary on the economy. (You also need to know that in Spanish El Niño is the name for the weather phenomenon and "the baby.") "El Niño doesn’t come to Cuba because there is no milk."

Che’s command post (Cueva De Los Portales) as commander of the Army of the West for 45 days in 1962 during the Missile Crisis. Before Che arrived it was a tourist site. After the departure of Che it return to its recreational purpose but the tour now sounds like this:

  • "Che’s dinner table;
  • "Che’s kitchen;
  • "Che’s lookout post;
  • "Che’s writing table;
  • "Che’s office;
  • "Che’s bedroom;
  • "Che’s chess playing place;
  • "Che’s hammock tree."

Click to enlarge

Dinner raised another issue of Cuban economic system. Cubans get ration card for bread (a bun a day), eggs (less than one a day), meat (occasional) oil and a number of other basics. Here we are a bunch of foreigner, without ration cards, and the food was always on the table in greater quantities than would be allowed by the ration cards. Dinner tonight was an exceptional feast!


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