Saturday, October 8, 2016

Baracoa

A notice in Cuban official media said recovery efforts are underway in the beautiful little city of Barbacoa, which surrounds the twin bays on the far southeastern tip of Cuba where Columbus landed. Baracoa was hit by the hurricane, Matthew, that pounded Haiti badly and is now drenching the US southeast. (More Cuban media hurricane coverage and photos here.)



If you look up Baracoa on Google maps there are some nice still photographs of the town there, of which this of the lobby of the Hotel Porto Santo is one.

Baracoa is surrounded by mountains and the waterfalls of the many rivers that flow toward the bays, and for centuries it could only be reached by sea. Recovery efforts will be quicker because of the road that now reaches Baracoa that was one of the first accomplishments of the Cuban Revolution. Baracoa is said not to be overrun by tourists because of that inaccessibility. There's just the one small road and a small airport that gets occasional flights from Havana.

Barbacoa is in Guantanamo Province. We've heard of "Guantanamo Bay," the Yankee name for the US military base and its notorious prison and CIA torture site, but Guantanamo is actually a Cuban province.

Earnest Hemingway, as you may know, hung out in Cuba quite a bit. He eventually had a small rented estate there, but it was outside Havana, a long way from Baracoa.

You wouldn't see Hemingway in Baracoa. No corespondents, literary agents, no writers of reviews. I can see myself spending my days lounging in the Hotel Porto Santo lobby, where no one would ask me why I haven't published any novels or short stories, not even me.






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