It is our eleventh day in Cuba and we have four days left to go. We had an early start this morning as we woke up at 5:30 a.m., had breakfast at 6:00 a.m., and changed a small amount of money for our upcoming shopping excursions in Bayamo and Santiago.

Today we traveled to Bayamo, a beautiful city with museums and many street vendors. But today, because of the rain, the vendors were not out but that did not stop us from visiting the museums and appreciating the beauty of the city. When we first stepped off the bus we were slightly discouraged by the rain, but it was another experience, and I think in the end we all appreciate all the experiences we can have in Cuba.

First we went for a walk looking for a store that sold umbrellas, and in the end none of the stores had umbrellas, but we discovered a Hamburguesa, a Super Hamburguesa and a Pizza Tropical, not that we ate at any of them.

After that adventure we walked to our first museum, which displayed art of the three revolutions and taught us about Cuban history, and Bayamo´s history in particular. There was a very special exhibit which showed a sculpture representation of the time the people in Bayamo burned down the city to avoid being controlled by the Spanish again. Another defining factor of Bayamo is that the person who wrote the Cuban national anthem wrote it in that museum. The other major reason Bayamo claims itself to be the revolution city is because Fidel Castro came back to Cuba to a place near Bayamo when he returned from Mexico, which is where he went after he was imprisoned.

The second museum we went to was a wax museum, which had surprisingly realistic wax figures of famous Cuban people. Some of the figures were so realistic that I felt as if they were watching me and would move at any second. The most impressive thing about them was that the people who made them were not professional artists. The museums were very enjoyable.

Our guide Hector wanted to show us one more historical thing before lunch.  He took us to go see the window where the first romantic song entitled ¨Bayamo¨ was sung, which was a sweet thing to show us. Then we were hungry, so Hector saved us by allowing us to have lunch earlier than we originally expected. The restaurant was entitled La Bodega.  They served us bread and butter, tomatoes and cucumbers as appetizers, and then beef, rice, and mashed potatoes for the main course, and lastly rice pudding with cinnamon for dessert.

After we devoured our lunch, we got back on the bus and slept and journaled as well as dropped off our friends from the church. Bayamo was a raining adventure! When we returned to the church, we slept and read until Tom announced the option of a trip into town for the internet cafe and shopping that most of us decided to go on.

Following our experiences of checking our emails, facebook pages, and updates on our favorite sports teams and players, we wanted to buy hand-crafted gifts but the stores were closed. Luckily we were able to buy all the wooden trinkets we could want from street vendors, which I think is actually a better experience.

When we returned to the church, they served us a delicious dinner, as always.  I believe Nena makes better food than any restaurant we have been to.  All in all, today was another experience in Cuba that we would never trade.

Martina Russo

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