It turns out I didn't break any laws because though Americans are forbidden from contributing to the Cuban economy, ie spending their money there, there is no interdiction on visiting the island. Since I didn't pay for any part of the trip, I figure I'm clear. Our hotel was on a wonderful beach on the South side of the island near the town of Trinidad.
Trinidad is a colonial city that once was the most important city in Cuba. The Wikipedia entry linked above describes its significance.
Although to our eyes, the town looks mired in poverty, there was surprisingly little begging, very little litter about, and the people seemed to be as happy or more than people walking around our modern North American cities.
I gave him a peso (that Serge gave me, ahem) for letting me take a picture of him. This was in the Plaza Mayor on a tour we took of the town. (Which Serge bought for us, double ahem.)
I really liked this shot of Trinidad.
I grew to love the Cuban music which seemed to waft about wherever we were. By the end of the week, I started to recognize some of the more repeated melodies.
Cuba seemed to be frozen in time. Although the tourists had access to modern taxis, buses, and resort settings, there were many ox and donkey and horse drawn carts about.
The place we stayed at was all inclusive, including open bar. It's pretty much the cheapest place to vacation in our hemisphere and it will probably stay that way until the Americans are able to vacation there. This is something I'll talk more about later, but the hotel employees make less than $20 a month.
We took a catamaran out to do some snorkeling and feast on paella on a deserted island one day. Before we could leave the dock though, our passport numbers had to be sent and approved by the government officials.
Big iguanas wandering around on the island. Eek!
Big conch shells just lying on the beach for the taking. We didn't take any though.
Jennifer, Serge's stepmom, took us on this trip and we can't thank her enough! I thought this was a great picture of the two of them.
This is our hotel pool. We alternated between beach and pool. Even though I stayed in the shade the whole time, I still got a mean tan. I don't get how that happens though.
We made lots of friends, including Orlando in the center who was one of the dancers. He gave us a couple Spanish lessons on the last day. I had no small crush on the boy. So cute!
Time to go home. Boo, hiss. We arrived to a foot of snow on the ground and this morning it's 8 degrees Fahrenheit. The post vacation blues are definitely setting in. Luckily, in three weeks we part again.