Baracoa

Late March: 

After one of tours we stopped at the side of a río to go swimming. It almost felt like being in the rainforest again. We heard some distant son music and one of the guys in are group disappeared to find it. He came back a few minutes later and said that a group of musicians was inviting us to go dance and listen. I expected it to be a touristy lunch place or the like, but to my surprise it was a simple front yard with a group practicing their music next to their pigs and their coconut trees. They gave us coconuts to drink while we danced and I remember the teeny young woman who sang and whose voice rang so loud and strong. It was pretty surreal.

Baracoa was beautiful, but it was also incredibly small and touristy. The night scene freaked me out a bit, to see all these old tourist women with young Cuban men. Men were especially pushy there, I think probably because it draws a really old crowd of tourists and here we were a group of young tourists, mostly women. But it was too much for me, and I was ready to leave after two nights.

I also found out later that Baracoa was the first place Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba--talk about bad colonial Juju!