Rest day in Baracoa
Will you Mayari me?

May 10, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes: I’m glad that we have our “mountain” legs under us now, because today would’ve been tough otherwise. He left Baracoa at the crack of early, which of course, for Cubans isn’t really that early. For instance, it being Mother’s Day AND a Sunday, hundreds of people were walking down the street to the cemetery to pay their respects, all clutching a bundle of red flowers. Passing every doorway, they would quickly yell inside, “Feliclidartes!” to whomever was the mother who lived in that house. It was really surreal how the whole town was celebrating together in this manner. Cycling through the streets of Baracoa, against the flow of pedestrian traffic, for many kilometres, I felt like a salmon swimming against the current in this sea of Cubans. Finally, we reached the outskirts of town, and there, the road stopped.

Well, to say that it stopped isn’t entirely accurate, but the pavement ran out. In its place was a cross between Dempster Highway, and the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix-Paris. We had heard that the road was in poor condition, but I think in my head I didn’t really believe it because everyone has a different perspective. As a cyclist, the road was passable. As a car driver, two shades shy of impossible. We did witness a few vehicles on the road, but most of the day was traffic free.

The road wound its way up and down along the coast, and swooped inland every now and again, the terrain changing from jungle to pine forest, the closer we got to Moa. There was very little in the way of services, so we tried to make the most of the kiosks whenever we could.

Some people had told us that the town of Moa was a bit of a dump. Approaching the town from kilometres away, you immediately see the source – industry. There are I think 3 nickel smelters in the town of Moa. A pall of dark grey cloud hung over the entire municipality, although from poor weather, or pollution, it was hard to discern. Yet riding through, I didn’t see a “wasteland” or a “moon-like” setting, instead, I saw what is pretty common in large swathes of Canada, natural resources being harvested from the ground and processed. Is it pretty? No. It just is what it is. So I didn’t find Moa that bad really.

We ended up riding through the entire town before finding the Hotel Miraflores. As part of the Islazul chain, it is pretty inexpensive. $30 got us a room, and breakfast in the morning; same price as a Casa really. In addition the hotel had a bar, pool, nice restaurant, and all the loud Cuban music you could ever hope for! Amanda and I had a delightful 3-course meal at the restaurant for $14CUC, watched a movie on the laptop, and went to bed early. Not even the loud music could keep us awake, we were that tired.


Today’s Photographs

Rest day in Baracoa
Will you Mayari me?