Woke to very cloudy looking skies this morning. Today was another nature adventure and we all made sure to take out umbrellas.
We said goodbye to our room at Porto Santo . . .
. . . and left a few gifts for our maid, Mabel.
Surprise . . . Alexis was waiting outside our door to help with our luggage. My boots had disintegrated during our first jungle hike and I was going throw them out but he was happy to take them and repair them with lots of a glue. I commented they might be too big for him but he thought they would fit just perfect (maybe with several pair of extra socks!)
We asked him if Mabel was around and soon she appeared to say goodbye too. Nice to meet her since she had provided such nice service during our stay.
Other groups were leaving too . . . always important to make sure your luggage gets on the right bus!!!
Our guide for the day, Porfilio, accompanied on the bus ride to our first stop. Along the way we passed 11 of these unique little bays, located right of the ocean. What a place to retire!
Porfilio pointed out the small grove of palms along the way that are only found in Cuba, and only in this small area. VERY tall trunks with very little top.
He suddenly asked Alberto to stop and back the bus up 50 feet . . . to where, as we were motoring along at 40 mph, he had spotted this snail on the tree.
It is an example of the endangered species being harvested by the natives to sell to tourists.
We stopped along the way for a bathroom break at a small camp where children would come for environmental studies . . . we wondered if it looked anything like the ‘all inclusive resort’ we were traveling to at the end of the day.
The bathrooms . . .
. . . were of the rustic variety, this being the men’s. The woman’s looked very similar to this one, other than the log on the right side just up from the trashcan. It was a PERFECT place for the small notebook emJay had so busily scribbling notes in all week long to dislodge from her back pocket and slide down. NEVER to be retrieved!!
Porfilio explaining the soil structure of the the Humboldt National Forest we were touring.
We would make a 2 hour loop tour partially up, partially down, along a river, through a river . . . sort of like a three hour tour!!
The rain added to the slickness of the clay type soil and several of our adventures went down!
A hermit crab we found along the way taking up residence in a snail shell . . .
. . . great SMALL, teensy flowers along the way.
As we hiked along the riverbank . . . soon of course it was time to head up to high ground . . .
. . . and it was quite a hike up. Hand over hand!
After our ascent, out of the blue, around a corner, we came to this ‘rest stop’ right in the middle of the jungle . . .
. . . as soon as we all assembled our ‘hosts’ appeared to make sure we were all well refreshed . . .
. . . including newly prepared coconut drinks complete with a bamboo straw souvenir!
Eliseo had told us the world’s smallest frog lived in the forest and we might see one. We did not along the way, but here at the rest stop they had one to show off . .
. . . it certainly was a small critter!
When walking in the jungle one needs to keep both a macro and mirco view so as not to miss too much. Here was delicate little flower one might walk right over . . .
. . .but getting a little closer. . .
. . . a whole new little world opens up!
One of seven river crossings we made during our trek. Of course, for some the objective was not to get their feet wet . . .
. . . and Eliseo was going to show us how to pick a route to stay dry . . .
mmmm . . . maybe next time, as he almost took a header!
Plenty of time to stop and ‘smell the roses’!
Soon we were back to the bus and said goodbye to our geologist guide, Porfilio who became an adjunct member of the Nature Conservancy!
It was on to our all inclusive government resort we would be staying at for the night. We hoped to get there earlier in the afternoon to enjoy the beach but traffic was terrible delaying our arrival. Again, everything that moves must travel on the highway and progress can be quite slow. Here is an example of what happens when you continue to use 1950’s American vintage trucks. As parts in the engines; rings, valves, pistons, etc. continue to wear the gas begins to burn incompletely producing LOTS of exhaust. Interestingly though it is probably not a MAJOR source of air pollution on the island, as a whole, because there are so few vehicles. This was one of the local ‘busses’ that would hold as many as 50 people crammed in the back. Cheap transportation though for the locals.
Here is the type of ‘people mover’ they use in more populated areas known as the, ‘Cuban Camel””’!!!
We arrived at the all inclusive hotel after dark and were presented with the customary ‘welcome cocktail’ . . . some had more than one!!!
We didn’t have much time to explore the area in the dark . . . but checked in and watch a little CNN news regarding the US elections. Our biggest room yet!
BIG buffet with something for everyone’s taste . . .
. . . including ‘made to order’ banana and papaya foster compete with a rum flambe!
Most of these all inclusive’s have a nightly show for the tourists. This one was sort of a Cuban version of a ’Cirque du Soleil’ . . .
. . . with very agile and and muscular performers. After a couple more rums some of the gang talked about getting on stage and showing what we could do . . .
. . . like maybe keeping a dozen hula-hoops going at once!
We said goodnight to the performers, (all the narration was done in English because of the mostly Canadian audience) had one more rum (liquor is included at the all inclusives) and headed off to our cabana . . . dreaming of hiking in the jungle!