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Letter from the Robsons
Monday, 20th June, 2005
We were very pleased to receive this letter and wonderful photographs from Ruth and Roy Robson of Brooklyn.
Just back from our travels again, we had a superb 2 weeks in Cuba, Cayo Santa Maria is one of the Cayos (Keys) which was reached by a 48km causeway with 46 bridges (that's close on 30 miles) over a gorgeous blue sea.
In one spot the horizon was pink with the hundreds of flamingos. Unesco have named the key a "worthy of being a Biosphere Reserve, making this an idyllic haven where you can forget the rest of the world". It is a new resort only been open about 18 months, it's a lovely 5* hotel complex, air-conditioned and a really good selection of good food at every meal, it was "All inclusive ". The staff couldn't do enough for you. The pools were very large, with lovely sunbeds and most importantly large parasols because the sun was very hot.
Wherever you go there are vultures flying around and on the palm trees there are some brilliantly coloured lizards, blue & green, as well as the normal brown.
Tourists are now bringing in much needed finance. They are lovely people but life is very hard for them, food is still on ration (& the very poor can go to a special Ration Shop where they get goods cheaper or free) & some goods are either unobtainable or too expensive (all thanks to the embargo).
But they have gained in other ways, no litter, graffiti nor all those chewing gum spots. As they don't have money for fertilizers everything is organic and animals are free range. Very few tractors, oxen and manpower are responsible for the well tended fields.
We went on 2, two day trips one to Havana which is a lovely city with beautiful old buildings and architecture, the Capitol Building is a replica of the one in Washington, and pre 1956 cars, all well preserved, it was fascinating.
The other 2 day trip was across the mountain range to Topes and the National park, where we spent the night, and saw green fireflies in the dark. Next day we boarded Russian Troop Carrier trucks with wheels about 5ft high, and spent most of the day riding or walking through the forest off road, thoroughly enjoyed the trip with all the brightly coloured birds, and humming birds. Orchids growing wild, one of the orchids growing on a tree like mistletoe, we have had in a pot for almost a year, on the piano. Then on to Sancti Spiritus where we had a look around a cigar factory (very labour intensive) then an hour or two in Trinidad and back to Santa Maria.
Talking of pianos I was wandering around the pool one day and got chatting to 2 couples lying on their sunbeds and they come from Stonehouse, well the upshot was Dave asked if I liked classical music, they had a couple of pianists coming to play when we got home would Ruth & I like to come for the day,(there 'd be about 30 there) bring a bottle but there will be plenty to eat.
Since we arrived home, the news has been about methods used teaching children to read -in Cuba where there are very few resources and yet the literacy rate is 98%, -