07.02.2015 - 10.02.2015
Our journey from Trinidad to Camaguey was a few hours long and stopped at a "truck stop."
We arrived just as the sun was floating down.
Our hotel had a rooftop bar and seating area.
The Gran Hotel is in a perfect location near a plaza and on the boulevard, but this is where I had that terrible room for which I had to pay the single supplement. However, the nice big rooms are on the boulevard side of the hotel and many folks with the beautiful spacious rooms complained about the revelers. In the smaller towns and rural areas the cocks crowed at 5 AM; here the music and party-goers were going until almost that time - it is hard to please everyone all the time.
But, I still enjoyed my time here and would recommend the hotel for the location - unless you can locate a good particular (B and B) or a smaller smaller hotel for those of you not on a tour.
We were free to visit around the city on our own a bit.
We also went to the people's market. I think some of the vendors are entrepreneurs and some of the stands are owned by the government.
I bought some bananas from a man who sells the bananas from his own tree.
We visited a professional ballet company , the Ballet of Camaguey. Most of the members were touring, but we watched practice sessions and had a discussion session with the operations manager. The huge mansion and property had been her family's private home. She gave it to the government for use as the ballet company.
Be sure to visit Plaza del Carmen and the gallery of the artist Martha Jimenez, who has received UNESCO recognition for her work and the plaza that houses much of her work. We were lucky enough to have a visit with the artist. I purchased two small plaques. She does large sculpture, oils, prints - very talented and personable.
It is also possible to participate in this event as a tourist center-sponsored tour out of Camaguey.
Part of the tour takes you to a village where many of the residents are workers on the ranch.
We visited the school and had a cup of coffee and hand-pressed sugar water at a local home. They do not bet, but the children stand and hand you flowers. Had I known, I would have taken a bag of treats. Road Scholar does leave a donation for the school. Although initially you feel you are infringing on the people's privacy, they have actually organized this as a tourist activity and receive some monetary benefit from it. The local guide told me not to feel bad about touring this village and not having a personal gift. "This village gets more than any other surrounding village because they have a business."
I am sure this village is a bit tidier than the others, but it is still typical of many rural villages in this province and a delight to visit.
Back at the ranch, we were hosted to a very delicious pig roast.
While in Camaguey, we ate at several fine restaurants and were entertained by musicians at each.
This was also the town where I observed the morning trash pick-up. The horse would patiently stand in the street while people brought their trash out and dumped it in the wagon and as the driver went to some of the doors and received the trash in a bucket.
I also observed someone receive a citation for, apparently, being more reckless than the trashman.