Después de los huracanes
A quick post to show some of the hurricane damage left from Ike and Gustav around the resort we stayed at. Only half of the resort was open, the hotel-like Mares; the villa-style Luna in "Sol Luna Rio y Mares" was still closed for repair. All over the grounds were spots like this one, where trees had been uprooted.
Crews were working hard to repair damage to the grounds; most of the damage to the open lobby and lobby bar area had been completely fixed, but the cigar shop was still closed while staff fixed the roof.
Up and down the beach, bare poles that used to be palapas (thatched shade umbrellas)...
...were naked - or half-naked - and sad.
Signs of repair: thatchers work on the roof of a beach bar at Paradisus Rio de Oro. That's the five-star resort at the other end of Playa Esmerelda (Esmerelda Beach) where Husband and I spent our last two nights in Cuba. Just chock-full of stinking rich Europeans. But more about that later.
I wondered just how hard it'd be be to book a thatcher after the hurricanes (it's highly skilled work and I wondered how many there can be in Cuba). Looks like the Paradisus got theirs by the time we got there.
I mentioned before that unfortunately we didn't go into town(s) this time, and unfortunately weren't able to take very good photos from the bus on the way to the airport. (We arrived after dark.) That meant that we couldn't document the most significant thing we saw regarding the hurricanes, which was a number of single-family dwellings being rebuilt, often out of brick. Some of the families even stopped working to wave at the bus as we went by. (Did I mention that they wanted tourists to come, come now, and bring money??)
A couple of days into our stay, a letter was slipped under our door inviting us to move down the beach to Paradisus Rio de Oro for the last two nights of our stay at no extra charge. "It's like heroin," I said to Husband. "The first taste is always free." (Then we had a quiet conversation about whether they thought we were good prospects because it was our third trip, although not with the same tour company or hotel. "Do you think they... track these things?" "Uh - Iuhno - maybe... probably?") We debated it - we really, really enjoyed Sol Luna Rio y Mares - but decided we'd kick ourselves if we didn't go for it. So more about Paradisus later.