February 6, If you don’t like the way I drive, stay out of the ditch!
Everything in Baracoa is close, it’s a pretty small town. We got in a 15 passenger van and started out. We had a little girl from Turkey with us, she was 19 and doing a long vacation before returning to think about school. She needed a little taking care of. We had to stop at her casa to get her bikini, she didn’t know we were going to the beach and swimming at a waterfall. So we did. She lost track of her water bottle. And then something else and something else. We got underway and all was well, patience is a required skill in Cuba. We drove by a Masonic Lodge on the way to her casa.
The Dutch couple who are driving around Cuba described the color coded roads as yellow with red stripes are good roads. The yellow roads are, well, OK. The white roads are, well, there might have been a road there at one time but are now mostly potholes. We were on a white road.
We drove by the only Chocolate factory in cuba started by Che after the revolution. Tours are not available but the smell alone is worth the drive by. We had packed a lunch made from our large breakfast and had our bottle of water. The chocolate smell made the lunch sound rather sparse.
The guide we had was Karl, althought he was fine with Carlos if you wanted to call him that. He was one of the best guides we have ever had. His gift with language was impressive. He showed and told us lots about the flora and fauna of the island. Included were a number of orchids, the cocoa, philodendrons, lots of different kinds of palms, an American Kestral (the smallest falcon on the island), the Torrococo the national bird of Cuba, a very small (1cm as a full adult) and poisonous tree frog, called eleutherodactylus ibereria( a frog that is about one tenth the length of his name), and a 6 inch long millipede. He also guided us safely around a number of extremely slippery muddy sections as well as a few fords over the rivers. We made it to the waterfall where we were to have lunch and there was a farmer’s wife set up with a nut brittle (almonds, and cashews bound together with a chocolate sugary coconut glue that was 99% nuts (all local from the forest) as well as a sweet johnny cake with a guava preserve in it. 0.50CUC for each so I had to try it. I had my swimsuit on under my pants so I peeled off and headed up toward the waterfall. I should have brought my aquasocks the rocks were murdering my feet. But I did manage to get up to it with only my normal whiney wimpy feet noises. I had my camera with me so I got pictures for bonnie. It wasn’t a great waterfall but the water was refreshing as it was very hot in the rainforest.
There was a farmer that had his oxen team cart that “Just happened” to be going our way and would be happy to let us ride the four fords of the river that we had to make. We were happy to give him a small donation to the cause if we could keep the shoes dry for a while longer. They were plenty muddy but still dry. Dry feet are happy feet. We got back to the bus and made the trip back to the Playa Maguana, according to the guide (and our casa owner) the best beach in the area. We enjoyed walking the beach and bonnie got a few sea beans, always a treasured surprise. We got back to Baracoa in time for a nice shower and a bit of picture processing time.