FRIDAY, 25 MAY 2012
HOT AND MUGGY
The schedule this morning called for a walking tour through Old Havana. Jim had mentioned he would like to visit a tobacco factory, since Cuba is famous for its cigars. We asked Annie if it would be possible to visit one. She and Ale' arranged for the four of us and two other couples on our bus to visit the largest tobacco factory in Havan. Unfortunately, no cameras allowed, so not pictures. It was very interesting to watch the workers (mostly women) slaving in the hot factory...the first floor we visited had women pulling the main vein out of the dried leaves and sorting them according to size. The next floor had many workers sitting and rolling the cigars by hand. The next floor we saw them wrapping labels on the cigars and boxing them. The top floor had a small number of workers assembling the boxes by hand. The shocking news? The workers make $1-$2 a day for working 8 hours. We figured the beggars on the street make a lot more.
The bus picked us up and took us back to Old Havana to meet up with the rest of the group. The heat and humidity were stifling. I had to buy a visor because I forgot to bring mine.
Art is a big business in Havana, so the first top was a studio. Next we walked the streets for awhile, and once again saw some interesting people.
We stopped at a senior center, then made our way to a restaurant for lunch. they offered chicken, pork, or fish, along with rice and french fries, and...mojitoes!
We had some free time from 1500 until 2000. We were all exhausted from the heat and decided to rest for a few hours. At 1830 we took the hotel shuttle back to Old Havana for some evening pictures.