We stopped at a local ration store. Ari explained how the system worked.
In Trinidad de Cuba, (established 1514 like Sancti Spiritus) we talked with Julio Munoz, owner of a local casa particulare (Bed and Breakfast) and heard about the challenges of running a home business in Cuba. The owner, educated as an engineer is an avid photographer, horse enthusiast, and very animated speaker.
We learned about the religion of Santeria (a combination of African spirituality and Catholicism).
We had lunch at a paladar named strangely, Ananda (a Bengali and Hindi world for joy). Loved the house band there. They played a mix of Cuban and American songs. It was disorienting listening to Georgia by Ray Charles in small town Cuba. Each meal was an opportunity to meet our fellow travelers. Already by day 3 we had become a loose crazy family exploring together, learning together, staying together. All of our fellow travelers had fascinating travel stories to tell….elephant riding, Safari trips, hiking across Spain and more.
Visited the architecture museum after lunch. So impressed. Built in 1826 this house for sugar barons had running hot water, a shower, indoor plumbing, cisterns that collected rain water, indoor gas lighting….again in 1826! Crazy advanced and beautiful craftsmanship. On our way back to Sancti Spiritus we stopped at El Alfarero, a ceramics workshop in operation since the 19th century.
Back at Sancti Spiritus. What a day! View from balcony of our hotel room. In the morning we could see the elementary school kids going to school in their red uniforms, some stopped at the bakery across the hotel for a bite, many going to work, umbrellas in hand, a lady just carrying an uncovered pink and yellow-frosted cake, a Zumba class despite the hot, humid weather (without air-conditioning!). I am humbled by the dedication to health the women in that small town showed. Children and often women had an incredible ability to balance themselves on bicycle bars as passengers. At one point there was loud happy music, someone walking down the street with a speaker on wheels. Little familiar things in unfamiliar clothes.
Oh yes, and the tiny cup of strong and sweet Cuban coffee after lunch was perfect for mid-day energy!