Day 11

We started the day with a nice breakfast and packed up. Although we had one more night in Camaguey, we would return at noon and move down the block to new hotels. Scheduling snafus!

There was not much hot water in the morning for showers and they had a few other plumbing problems too!

The pedestrian mall was already busy at 8:30am!

Mechanical improvising!!!

This morning we’d visit with staff from CITMA, the Cuban national version of our Department of Natural Resources and National Park Service.

Cuban version of a government office cube . . .

. . . no modern time clocks here!

We had a great overview of their system, followed by a lively question and answer period. The Cuban’s are very worried about  and studying the effect of global warming on the oceans . . . especially since they are an island!

Not sure if all presentations end with this slide or not!

Introductions and gifts were exchanged given by our group . . .

After the visit, gifts of chocolate and cookies were passed out by our hosts.

emJay discusses with our representative from the Institute of Friendship and Andréa, an environmental specialist with CITMA.

International relationships formed . . .

Bobbie and Gary hitting one more art studio on the way back to the hotel . . .

. . . local gendarmes on patrol.

At the CITMA meeting, we talked a lot about recycling and there was evidence of it along the pedestrian mall . . .

The street cleaner who uses this cart makes about 400 CUC’s or the equivalent of $20US/month . . . the same as a teacher!

. . . to put that in perspective, this Frigidaire full size refrigerator was close to $1000USD! Several years pay!!!

. . . and a HUGE window air conditioner, the equivalent of $900USD!

When traveling, we always like to check out the local markets or grocery stores. This grocery was in a regular store front on the pedestrian mall and exhibited their wares in the window just like a shirt of appliance store. Funny!

Lacking some supplies but not liquor . . . which is subsidized by the government.

. . . certain items were in stock, some were not . . .

. . . frozen chicken was widely available.

Back at the hotel right before lunch to transfer our luggage . . . one last chance to buy cigars in the lobby!

Jon, Jeff and Eric stayed in a hotel on the corner and the rest of us were right down the block in this one level 5 star hotel.

The entrance . . .

. . . reception area . . .

. . . and the courtyard with our rooms off on each side.

Very clean room . . .

. . . and bath, with TWO rolls of toilet paper . . .

. . . and all the goodies one might need.

We rendezvoused back at the boys hotel for lunch . . . where emJay decided to order the ‘Mysterious Chicken????’

. . . which as close as we could tell was, Mystery solved: chicken with grilled onions.

Bobbie, our retired accountant takes care of the finances.


Then it was off to tour a local hospital and meet some of the medical staff.


On the way in . . .


. . .  behind the door in the middle was the Cardiac Unit, a reassurance to several of us who have had ‘issues’ in the past.


Eliseo interprets for Dr Hottie, who wore 4 inch black heels to work!!!


The hotel where Jon, Jeff and Eric stayed. The rest of us stayed at a hotel just down the street on the left side . . .


. . . where we had a nice open air atrium to enjoy. Only our group staying here tonight!


We walked over to the boys hotel . . .


. . . where Eliseo had arranged a nice cocktail party to kick off the evening, before we walked to dinner.


Lot’s of laughter, all around!


As we had observed all week there was music and dance EVERYWHERE. As we walked to dinner, here was a dance class taking place just down the street from our hotel.


It was hard to believe how fast the trip had gone as we reassembled at the same restaurant we had had our kickoff dinner, 10 days before. Tonight our group had the head table, sitting right in front of the dance floor and entertainment.


Everyone was in a very festive mood, including Barb, Alberto, emJay. Barb and emJay both spoke Spanish so were actively able to engage Alberto during inner, something that was hard to do during the wee when he was behind the wheel. . . .


Tom, Cindy and Greg . . .


Alberto, Karen and Michael . . .


Michael, Laurie and Jeff . . .


Eric, Bobby and Gary . . .


Brenda, John and Carol (missed Jon and Mike!)


It was time for the committee to do it’s work. Barb and Laurie made the presentations . . . first to Alberto . . . . of course, Eliseo was on hand to interpret Alberto’s responses


Then on to Eliseo, where we shared many of the lighter moments of the week . . .


. . . and among our gifts a PACKER flag!


The entertainers were nice enough to hold off with their performance until we were done with our ceremony  . . . then time for dessert


. . .and lots if action!


Eventually it was time for the audience to get up. Karen and Alberto got us first, he really had the moves . . .


and soon the floor was packed!


But way too soon, it was time to say goodnight as we snapped a few more photos . . 596


. . . and of course did a little more shopping during our stroll back to the hotel.

Goodnight poochy!  A few more rums at the hotel and it was time for our last sleep over in Cuba.