This morning we meet with a few of the writers, artists, and musicians of the Union of Writers and Artists in Cuba (UNEAC) to discuss the role of the arts in Cuban society and how they can help to preserve Cuban culture. Then we visit some artists' studios in Cienfuegos to view their works and hear about the challenges they face in earning a living through their craft. This afternoon, we participate in a social program with some of the younger residents of Cienfuegos. Dinner tonight is at another paladar in Ciefuegos, La Finca del Mar. Then, after dinner, we return to UNEAC to hear a local son band such as Los Naranjos (who have been playing Cuban classics since 1926) perform for us. Son is the lively Afro-Cuban musical style played over a rumba beat that has enjoyed worldwide popularity—and we may find it difficult not to break out in dancing with some of the local artists and writers who will attend the performance with us.Meals included: B D - Accomodations: Hotel La Union-----
Sunday January 15
After breakfast we met to walk around the hotel to the plaza again. This time Migdalia told us about the Theater and the statue etc.
The statue is of course Jose Marti, his name is always said with the added "our national hero". José Julián Martí Pérez (1853-1895) a writer and poet, dedicated his life to the cause of Cuban independence.
On the other side of the plaza was the entrance to the UNEAC. Several artists greeted us, talked to us and answered questions about their work and life.
During the meeting I saw that he was drawing people. I didn't know that he was drawing me, I don't really care for caricatures. He got a tip anyway though. James' caricature was done by somebody else.
After the meeting we went to different artists' studios. Adrian Rumbaut first. Big pieces. Unite unusual. He had displayed in the US already.
This is the artist who drew James. We really liked his work. Unfortunately he didn't speak much English. I would have liked to ask him some questions about some of his work.
Back in the bus and to the printing workshop.
Some nice pieces there too. Migdalia showed us how the cigar bands used to be printed.
The bus then brought us to the house of a photographer. He is already quite famous too and has exhibited in the US. There were a bunch in pagesavers on the table for sale. No question that they were special.
Like most houses it was open to the back.
Another studio on the Paseo del Prado. The lady painter, the youngest member of the UNEAC, shared the place with two other artists.
This was the end of the official part. Free lunch, ha-ha, which means we are free for lunch on our own. James and I decide to not go back with the bus. We will find our way and some walking will be good for us. The Paseo del Prado is lovely with trees in the middle.
One of the places recommended by Migdalia was just a few blocks along with the lovely upper terasse. We were 20 steps away when a bus stopped and a big group emerged. Oh no. I walked in and the waiter wanted to seat us with them. Ha-ha, free lunch? I explained that we were not with the group and wanted to be upstairs ... no problem. And it was lovely up there.
Not sure about the sugar though. I think I will skip that especially what one in our group had observed I child do previously to a sugar bowl.
Interesting house. So much to see. So many interesting things.
Back in the hotel. I just remember, this is not the hotel with the towel artist maid. But still, nice. It is the custom in Cuba (like in some other countries we have been to) to leave a CUC (about 1dollar) per person on the pillow. It is greatly appreciated.
After a short rest we meet again. Back to the UNEAC. Children who are participating in extracurricular workshops here will perform for us.
Some went to another artist, James and I went to have a look at the TTT Teatro Tomas Terry for 2 CUCs each.
There just happened to be a dance rehearsal.
But eventually we got some light. It was very interesting. Much like the one in Manaus.
After that we strolled between the vendors and back to the hotel.
On the way to dinner later we stopped at this former mansion of a rich person, now a hotel.
James and I went straight to the roof for a view. So worth it.
View to the other side to see the mountains.
Am I getting better at this selfie thing?
Hurry down to the bus.
We are not last. Still can have a look at the flowering tree.
Our dinner place was another private restaurant. The owner is without doubt resourceful. Spices from Costco? Sun umbrellas from IKEA? Can't remember the other things we saw.
Ha-ha, why did I gain several pounds?
Very nice dinner. Another lovely day.
* * * * *
THANK YOU to Fellow traveler Terri for sending these photos to me. At one point some of us were asked to participate at the children's performance in the afternoon.