Sunday, August 1, 2010

Segment 18: La Cayería del Norte, and Cayos Coco and Guillermo (June 14- June 23, 2010)

One of the revolution's proudest and most revered moments was the famed crossing of the yacht Granma, from Mexico to the southern coast of Cuba, which was carrying 80-something highly-trained guerrilla warriors, including Fidel, his brother Raul, Camilo Cienfuegos, and Che Guevara.  The yacht had been American-owned (hence the name!), and purchased by a Mexican contact of the Cuban revolutionaries in Mexico.  The yacht is preserved in glass in the heart of La Habana, next to the Museo de la Revolución.  Here we see it depicted on a billboard in Cárdenas, on the north coast:

flat agricultural lands make up a good deal of northern coastal territory

jason leaving a bread shop on the road, Corralillo

As we headed further and further from La Habana, we started seeing more and more bicycles, in common use, of all shapes and sizes, and performing various functions.  This was to be a major theme during our month on the island...

... as well as horse-drawn carriages...

... and even ox-drawn...

a work tricycle

Playa La Panchita

homemade style, proudly Cuban

playing Parcheesi at night with friends from a casa particular

a flamboyant roadside break from the heat

Jeff's nipple about 10 days after the accident. 

mother and daughter

husband and wife

the preferred type of taxi in Sagua La Grande, driver resting in the shade during noontime heat

scene from Sagua La Grande


motorcycles with sidecars are also a common method of transport

bike taxi seen in Caibarién

Here Jeff is lined up for what are Cuba's preeminent street food, MINUTA, or small fresh fish sandwiches.  This stand is in Caibarién, and we made sure to make the most of it:
Jeff's take: four fish sandwiches and four hush puppies

Jason repairs a flat on the causeway that leads to Cayería del Norte, 40 km across open sea and small keys

our campsite at Playa La Salina on Cayo Las Brujas.  There was incredible snorkeling here... we saw several lobsters, huge barracuda, a ray, various species of parrotfish, and schools of grunts and atlantic blue tang.  

amazing lizard at Playa La Salina

sunset, between Cayo Las Brujas and Cayo Santa Maria...

heading out to Cayo Santa Maria

the touristy fake Cuban village in the hotel zone on Cayo Santa Maria, which we dubbed Cuba World

Cuba World was good for one thing though: World Cup football matches.  Here we watched Algeria and England play to a scoreless tie.

we rode a nice dirt track out to Playa La Blanca...

the causeway has about 46 bridges in all

Our first stop after our return to Caibarién: more fish sandwiches

Jason and his 8th yellowtail snapper, tail and all

Cuban housing projects, Caibarién

horse, driver, family, friends, and Jeff

Camilo Cienfuegos larger than life

the Cuban bike taxi scene is no joke

the women who sold us pitchers of cold fresh mamey smoothies after a morning of hot cycling

complete with baby seat

the Cuban equivalent of cenotes: here we spend an afternoon at Los Lagos

our first spotting of flamingoes on this trip, Los Lagos

Jeff, tractor drafting.  Basically, the Cuban tractors roll at about 40 km/hour.  Whenever possible, we would maneuver behind and cruise in the draft zone, pedalling in high gear.  Yes, the locals thought they were hallucinating when we would fly by at 40 km/hour.

this cruised past us and we couldn't believe our eyes

even the bread man goes on bike

we showed up in Morón during their Carnaval festival.  We managed to find the best street food available, this time in the form of individual pan onion pizzas...
one pan pizza is worth about 20 cents in US dollars

the Pizza Man at work, who was from Camaguey

the damage... for starters we each ate 4 pizzas.  the beer bottle holds extra tomato sauce

curious bike and owner in Morón

flamingoes seen on the causeway out to Cayo Coco

Jason trying out a Cuban guitar (el trés) at Playa La Prohibida on Cayo Coco

flamingoes at dawn on Cayo Guillermo

the end of the road at Cayo Guillermo, near Playa Pilar.  Amazing snorkelling here... still warm water, visibility of 100 feet or more.   We saw lobsters and king crabs, in addition to loads of fish.

underwater snapshot before Jason's camera leaked and nearly fried itself on salt water.

What do you think this means?

The beginning of the Cayo Coco causeway, on our way back to Morón.  The sign says: "Here we must dump rocks without looking forward", and Fidel clearly smiles on this project

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