I’m back! I’m covered in mosquito bites. Itchy. I’m sunburned. Also itchy. I’m feeling much more alive and functional than I was before I left, although my brain is also super scrambled from the complexity of this trip.
What a trip! I went in with certain expectations based on our previous trip and a certain familiarity with the area around the hotel we chose. But when we got off the plane we were informed that something was busted at our hotel and there was no water so we were being sent to a “fancy” resort 3 hours from our hotel and to a region (Guama) I knew literally nothing about. This new hotel was considered an upgrade, one we would be happy with if we could stand the idea of spending a week at a resort, but we decided right away that when you go to Cuba you have to expect the unexpected. So we just accepted that whatever happened would be what it was and we would go with it.
It turned out to be much better than I expected. I could do without the dynamics of the resort, but boy was the landscape beautiful. The buildings were situated on the side of a mountain so we were right there with stunning views and amazing plants all around. I found it difficult to reconcile the beauty of the landscape and the complexity of being where I was, in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by poverty, with the ugliness of resort life. But again, we just decided to chalk it all up to experience and soak it all in.
Anyways… the plants. Bromeliads and tillandsia everywhere! Some flowering. Palms of every kind. I hugged a lot of palms. This region, more than the area closer to Santiago was covered in the majestic Cuban Palm (Roystonea regia), the national plant of Cuba. What a gorgeous, regal plant! I’m so glad I got the chance to get up close to them this time around.
To my surprise and delight the hotel had a stunning botanical garden as well as a productive food garden. I was also able on this trip to see more agriculture and gardens. So while I missed a second chance to visit the Cactus Garden, I got a lot of unexpected and equally amazing botanical experiences in exchange.
I have lots to write about but I also have a ton to accomplish on my first day back. More soon.