Yanelys Nuñez Leyva
HAVANA TIMES, April 3 — For Cubans, traveling in our own country to see its beauty is a veritable utopia. The difficulties lie in the relatively high costs of transportation, accommodations, food and leisure activities themselves.
This is why when the slightest chance presents itself to affordably break one’s daily routine to go somewhere, we have to jump at it – sometimes with our eyes closed.
My chance came recently when my mother’s union (made up of tourism workers) organized a trip to the Bellamar Cave, in Matanzas Province.
The excursion included transportation to and from the destination, lunch and a snack – all for the per-person price of 52 pesos (about $2 USD).
Unfortunately though, the trip was anything but problem free.
One of the mix-ups occurred even before we went inside the cave. We were informed by the huge sign at the entrance that in addition to various prices per person based on their classification (foreigners, Cubans and children under 5 years of age), people would also be charged 20 pesos for bringing a camera into the cavern.
This was something that came off as absurd to all the Cubans present, who acted on their common sense by simply not declaring their cameras and then surreptitiously snapping their photos once inside.
Once in the cave, the presence of a single guide for the more than 80 people required us to repeatedly stop during the long underground walk, thereby subjecting us to extended periods of stifling heat. All of this was endured only so that the guide could point out the abundant stalagmites and stalactites there in the cave.
At the resort located near the cave, where we should have been able to enjoy the lunch which had been reserved in our package. As for the swimming pool — the main interest of everyone who normally comes there — it was being cleaned, as was the one at Las Lagunas, the second camping resort (for Cubans) we visited to see if we could take a swim.
In sum, the countless setbacks were due to the lack of any real organization and management abilities on the part of the related state entities.
The best part of my trip was discovering the perfect view from the Bacunayagua Bridge and taking a deep sleep in front of the rough sea, which didn’t prove to be a deterrent for two teenagers — guests at the Las Lagunas camping resort — who were making love there in the full view of everyone.