Monday, December 15, 2008

Guard the Cow!

The first photo that seemed worth taking was one of the public art installations in Pearson Airport in Toronto. Big kitties!

This time we returned to the Holquin area of Cuba, the southeast of the Island. We stayed at Sol Rio de Luna y Mares (Sun River of Moon and Sea), which is less poetic than it first sounds as Sol is actually the name of the European company that owns the hotel and resort chain. We were in Guardalavaca, which means "Guard the Cow". This apparently dates back to colonial times and sea-faring raiders striking this then-cattle-rich area, but I still found it unreasonably amusing. The actual beach the hotel is on is Playa Esmerelda.

We didn't do much... in fact, due to a rather unusual schedule which saw our time split between two different resorts, we didn't even go into town this time. (But more about that later.) Here's a shot of Hobie Cats lined up at Luna y Mares, waiting for sailors.

A parasailor flies high over the sea and the sail of a Hobie. I didn't take advantage of this no-doubt-thrilling but absolutely terrifying-looking recreational option.

One rainy morning I went to the top floor of the hotel and took a shot of the hills in the distance.

Everything was beautiful and we couldn't have asked for more - but just in case you were tempted to forget that Cuba is a little bit sidewise, there were still reminders.

(The sign reads "SCHEDULE: Since the beginning to the end of operations.")

On a sunnier day I returned to the top floor to take a few more shots of the pleasant colonial architecture.

SeƱor Fish. He lived in a fountain in the lobby. He looks like he is up to something.

Every time we go back to Cuba there is some moment when we just look at each other in astonishment and acknowledgement that this truly is an alternate reality. On this trip, this came while watching a show about birdwatching on CubaVision. I'm actually a bit of a birder and very interested in finding out about the birds in Cuba, about which little has been written in English, so I was really excited to see this show on tv one morning even if it was in Spanish. After showing footage of each bird and describing it, the tv would show a map of the bird's territory. The first couple of birds were limited to Cuba and some of the nearby Caribbean islands, but then we moved on to a bird which roams all of North America and Cuba. Now, I didn't get a screen shot of the tv, but I've duplicated it as accurately as I can using Photoshop. Husband saw it too and can back me up (or at least call me out in comments if I'm lyin'!) and I swear on Veronica and Mojo's little heads that this is a duplicate of the map they showed:

I am not making this up. The United States of America does not exist on Cuban educational television.

As I mentioned, we ended up spending the second half of our vacation at a different place, the Paradisus Rio de Oro, so more about that later.

I'll also blog and post some pictures about the after-effects of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Amazing reconstruction efforts taking place.

More later,

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Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Any map that puts LA in one country and SF in another is more accurate than most people outside of California might think.

11:51 p.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Are those trees, growing around the red roof of that building??

Beautiful pictures - i particularly love that one, partly because i'm a clouds/mist/rain fan. Oh and trees. I kinda like trees too!

And i'm interested to see that i live in subtropical Canada now.

5:04 p.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

hey, you're in cuba again!! jeez...i think i'm jealous as all get out (that's how they say it in ND). guess i have to get my butt over there and see it for my own self. your photos make it soooo enticing!

8:04 p.m.  

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