June 29th

We went to the beach this past Sunday. The plans were made hastily the night before with sparse details. We hailed máquinas (Cuba’s hybrid of hitchhiking and an Uber ride), and drove to our first landmark Hotel Inglaterra.
From there we waited for a bus that was supposed to say Transtur. The bus eventually arrived; we paid a $5 round trip fee, and watched the countryside pass by.
Upon arrival, one is nearly stunned. Minimal trash, white fluffy sand, palm trees, deep azure waters, and a kindly smiling sun all greet us on the Santa Maria beach. We spent nearly six hours alternating between lazily wading in the waters and lazily sprawling on the sand. Many local vendors were selling grapes and beverages, but many more local Cubans were doing precisely what we were doing: enjoying a Sunday afternoon on the beach with friends. We all (the local beach-goers and my friends and I) found some circuitous path to get here, and we all were certainly struck by the beauty of the beach.
After leaving the beach, we waited for the bus and took it back to Hotel Inglaterra. As the bus traversed the countryside, I looked out at many abandoned homes, stray animals, aimless wanderers, and overgrown bush areas and thanked the forces that be for my great fortune to be able to visit such a lovely beach.