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Day 7: January 8th, 2020

Oh, the things I’ve learned in Cuba. Mainly a few reasons why I’m glad to live in the US of A. We often take for granted the simple things like going to a hotel and automatically having access to free Wifi. My group and I had the opportunity to explore new places and food. I know we are all tired of chicken, beef, pork, and vegetarian food, though. I have already informed my mother that I will not be eating any pork, cheese, potatoes, or rice at least until Easter.

The culture in Cuba is as rich as their desserts, which they insist on having after every meal. Their welcoming personalities are everything. One thing I can say, if you are an American female and feeling ugly, take a trip to Cuba! The men will love you and will hype you up to no end. I can say that I will not miss the aroma of coffee and cigarettes. Yes, Cuba loves their coffee and cigarettes. But Cuba does not love toilet seats nor toilet paper. Or decent size towels for that matter. It takes 10 of their hotel towels to make an adult size towel.

Speaking of towels, I would like to take a moment to discuss one of the most common highlights of the trip, the beach day. On January 8th, 2020, the team traveled to one of Cuba’s most popular areas: Varadero. Varadero holds a very beautiful beach, which is lined with a strip of very expensive luxury hotels. On the day we went, the beach was very windy to the point of almost being cold. The ocean was a beautiful shade of turquoise blue, but was not safe to swim in because of the high tide. The beach and ocean were bordered by these large beautiful rocks. Needless to say, this was not an average beach day but more like a photoshoot. Some of us enjoyed books, built an official iMedia sandcastle, napped, or just simply goofed off. Others took note of their angles and played model for a day.

This small Cuban town also holds a small shopping mall and market of endless souvenirs. Everyone shopped and obtained all sorts of trinkets for those close to them. This market was for sure one part of Varadero that ensured that the trip to Cuba would truly be unforgettable.

Héctor and Mederos are complete opposites, but both of them love to talk. Mederos is a true lady’s man while Héctor is happy and content with his wife and family. We lost the soccer game, (as I predicted). Héctor talks a lot, but I guess it works in his favor.

One of the most memorable events was having the opportunity to explore and experience the wonderful cultural traditions of the Afro-Cuban people. I will forever remember their stories and talents. Overall, I am forever grateful for this great experience in which Cuba has provided for me.  

-Hyllary Bell, Photographer for Arte de la Finca

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