I’m thankful for shoes.

I realize that millions of people in the world go without shoes, but other than children at play, I don’t recall seeing many in Cuba without footwear of some kind.

We were about two kilometers from the main street in Vinales when
We spotted this man walking on the paved road, in the hot sun, in the middle of the day.

He had no shoes.

How far had he come?
How far was he going?

We tried to communicate with him, but could not understand what he was trying to tell us.







Pit Stop

I was asleep when the dull thud woke me up. Something didn’t sound right, but no one else seemed to notice, so I closed my eyes again as the bus coasted to a stop. It was then that I realized it was too quiet. The air conditioner was not blowing and the engine was not running. I thought someone needed an emergency stop. After a few minutes I noticed more and more people leaving the bus. Some returned and some did not. Curiosity got the best of me and I went to take a look.

One belt broke and knocked some others off when it left the pulleys. The drivers were on top of the situation. There were spare belts on the bus and a mechanic arrived within fifteen minutes. All eight belts were changed and we were underway in less than an hour.

I was impressed.










This man, Michael, will arrange a taxi for you in Trinidad, Cuba.
You can find him in Plaza Carillo.
While negotiating a ride to Topes de Collantes, someone suggested that he needed an I-Pad.
“I have one” he said, “and its unbreakable”.
He pulled out his notebook and slammed it on the ground. When he picked it up, he flipped through the pages and said “see? … it still works”.

We all laughed for several minutes.







Caburni is the largest waterfall in cuba.

It’s located in the Topes de Collantes Natural Park, just west of Trinidad, Cuba

The river drops almost 200 feet over numerous slides and cascades.

It’s slightly over a 4 mile round trip hike with about 1300 feet of vertical descent.

The trail is steep in spots and somewhat slippery, but easy to follow. The humidity makes the climb back out seem worse than it really is.



We had to walk a bit on the paved road to reach the trail-head.



Some of the geological formations on the trail.







The quaint name for do-it-yourself repairs is “Shade Tree Mechanic”, but in Vinales, Cuba its serious business. These tobacco farmers are rebuilding a three cylinder diesel engine for their tractor. No “Snap-On” tool chest, parts washer, or workbench here. These men will proudly make do with what they have and get the job done.






Where did they go ?

On my most recent trip to Habana, my friends and I tried to visit a family we met a few months before. We found the correct building and doorway, but were told that the family no longer lived there. We were offered entry and a tour by the current occupant, as if to assure us that our family friends were gone.

It turned out that most of the building was abandoned. We were guided four rooms deep and three floors up through a maze of stairs and doorways until we emerged on the roof. We were within one block of the new hotel construction on the Prado.

I found myself wondering if this old building would be rebuilt or torn down to make room for another new hotel. I also wondered where all the families had gone.