Cuban Nature Break

Representing the west side…
Of Cuba that is. The Viñales Valley of Pinar Del Rio in all its glory. The strange rock-like masses sticking up like huge thumbs from the red pinareño earth are called mogotes. They are limestone formations, each with its own micro-environment.
Only 20 miles away from my grandfather’s birthplace, you can bet that this will be at the top of the list of places I will visit in a free Cuba.
(Photo courtesy of mabut via Google Earth)

7 thoughts on “Cuban Nature Break”

  1. Val,
    Not only is Viñales “off limits to natives,” tourists can enjoy a host of amenities at the various hotels available in the area.
    Directly from “Cuba Travel USA” “We urge you to get there before it becomes Americanized”
    Pinar Del Rio Hotel (one of many hotels available) includes: 136 rooms and 13 cabanas, with AIR CONDITION, private baths (with real toilet paper), radio, CABLE TV, central video, PHONES, and room service. REFRIGERATORS in the cabanas. RESTAURANT (Cuban and international cuisine), CAFETERIA, bar, pool, disco, money exchange, shop, central safe-deposit box, telegraphic services, post office and MEDICAL SERVICES.

  2. In 1979, an American friend who went to visit his wife’s relatives in Pinar del Rio took an identical photo from the same spot. He gave me a mounted copy. The bohio in the lower center part of the photo was there in 1979 and probably long before that. Amazing how after fifty years of Socialist revolution, Cuban guajiros still live in dirt-floor thatched-roof huts. In contrat, all bohios disappeared in Puerto Rico in the 1960s are were replaced with cement block homes.

  3. The mogotes, like the palms, are all waiting. They can wait however long it takes. People, sadly, don’t have that luxury. So many have died in exile, waiting for what never came in time for them. So many lives uprooted, mangled and mutilated, and for what? For whom?
    Even in the best-case scenario, which is unlikely to happen, there would never be proper justice, not in this world. The magnitude of the crime and the extent of the guilt are staggering. Maybe Cubans are ultimately no better and no worse than other people, but they certainly screwed up royally, to put it mildly. There are reasons for that, and the only sensible, mature and responsible thing is to look into those reasons VERY hard and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

  4. Ahh.. The memories. When I was a child, one of the most intoxicating scents was the way the earth smelled after the docile rain fell over Bahia Honda in Pinar del Rio. When we were leaving for La Habana (preparing to come to the US), I tried to hide from my parents hoping the the car would leave without me. My nanny found me sobbing behind a tree in the neighbors yard. She pesuaded me to go with my parents by scrapping up some of the moist earth and putting it a piece of old newspaper. She made it into a beggar’s purse and told me “Llevate esto para que nunca olvides de donde eres y para que te reclame toda tu vida”. Somehow, in my 5 year-old mind I thought that the little beggar’s purse had the power to keep me tethered. Forty years later, I know that my soul emanates form that place.

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