Cienfuegos - > Trinidad
Today we left Cienfuegos and drove to Trinidad, one of the first settlements in Cuba (~1514 A.D.), with the first mass being said there in 1513. While the population shifted away from Trinidad to other cities later, the city is still a popular destination for tourists. We'd heard that some of the beaches here are quite nice, but given our tight schedule, it's unlikely we'll get to see them. On the way into town, we passed a large fish/shrimp farm. And we caught a glimpse of large rectangular pond-like structures at the edge of the water.
Our hotel, Las Cuevas (The Caves), we were told, would be perched on a hillside above the town, and was built on top of a large cave system. And, somewhere very close to our hotel there was a disco built into a cave. This sounded like an interesting place to visit and photograph.
Artists, Galleries, Trinidad
After we arrived in the town of Trinidad, our first few stops were to art galleries, to meet artists (Arocha; Alain Fernandez Ferreira (shown at right); Daniel Rodriguez, and others) and to see their paintings, cartoon/animation style illustrations, multi-media pieces, and some sculptures. Ferreira's works combined text and images from both the revolution and corporate marketing.
Visual Arts School in Trinidad
After the galleries, and a short walk through town, we visited the Academia de Artes Plasticas (a visual arts school), that also has incorporated folkloric arts and dance. The principal met with us, and gave us a short tour. Classes had just begun, and the school was gearing up for the new year. We visited their art studio, and there were some very nice works in their gallery. Once again, we heard that students were interested in photography, but due to the difficulties and costs involved in obtaining materials, it was difficult to offer photography classes, even if they did have darkroom space.
We then went to our hotel, Las Cuevas (mentioned above); and got ready to attend a block party in town. This CDR event made for an interesting evening -- a little awkward initially, but a great opportunity to meet local residents and participate in a celebration with them. Cake and drinks were served and music and dancing took place, after young children recited verses and performed short dance (ballet) and gymnastics routines.
Matt Drown (pictured right, in a very grainy photo) generated some buzz by bringing a photo printer and paper, so that he could take photographs and print out pictures for the crowd that grew up around him. Seeing kids recognize themselves in the photographs was priceless.