Wednesday, 4 December 2013

14th November, 2013
Washing of the bones.

We have done almost a full circle. 14 days of pure Cuba. After some debate it was decided we would head towards Varadero, the holiday Mecca of Cuba.

En route we stopped at Cienfegues. At the entrance to the town is a cemetery built in memory of a sugar Barron's young son who died of TB. Probably the most interesting tour we have done. Tombs are above ground and bodies are exhumed after a year when the family gathers to wash the bones. They are then replaced in a separate section of the grave, giving way to recycle the tomb. If your fella was a Casanova don't be surprised to find a group of senioritas to help you. Imagine the bone throwing that happens then.

Note how these mass graves are raised. The tombstones on the top have been taken from graves, bones washed and collectively gathered. Mass graves are used for poorer people who worked in specific fields, like doctors, engineers, teachers.

Every major town in Cuba has a memorial site for those who fought in Angola. When Mandela came into power he enabled the Cuban Government to collect the bones of the fallen soldiers, to be washed and brought back home. It was an important gesture from South Africa.

We have agreed that we are pretty useless tourists and dragged our feet around Cienfegues in the heat. The architecture is amazing, as with most places in Cuba.
The four hour drive to Veradero had its hair raising moments, wedging Joan further into her corner -more silence from the back seat.

We settled on a rather miserable 2 star Government nationalised hotel, called Herradura (should be Horror-dura), Rob and I drawing the long straw for the Rosita Fornes suite, complete with rusty fridge, dilapidated balcony, peeling paint and door-less cupboards.

These photos actually give the Horror Hotel more credit than it deserves, with a balcony you don't want to step off!

We had a couple of drinks at a local drinking spot, listening to traditional music. We moved on to the Salsa Suarez restaurant where we had the best meal so far. I had camonores (prawns) in 'bang bang' sauce which I had to send back to get rid of one bang! Eish, hot!

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