2002 Ensemble Tour to Cuba

Tour Dates: 

July 3 - July 17, 2002

The flight was long but uneventful. Other than missing a bit of sleep and lugging bags around four different airports in three countries in about 12 hours, everyone is well. The children's love and thoughts are with their friends and family as you celebrate the holiday. We arrived in Havana as the afternoon rain ended. About 90 degrees and humid. The bus was awaiting us as were our tour leaders Paige Betten, Mike Fuller and Wilma. Guillermo and Ismael are our drivers. The drive to the hotel went through part of the countryside and parts of Havana. The Copacabana Hotel is northwest of the downtown area. It fronts the ocean and provides beautiful views of the sea. The kids have doubles and triples. The water works and air conditioning is welcome. The Choir sang for the hotel guests and the hotel provided us with written stories about Cuba together with fresh Guarapo (made from freshly ground cane).Opting to keep going, everyone checked into their rooms and then gathered on a patio near the pool for some private salsa lessons. We had a great teacher to take everyone through the basics - both the steps and body movement.From there, onto the bus (which we have stocked with bottled water) for a short tour of Old Havana and dinner. We took over most of a restaurant called La Mina and that features a beautiful patio in the center of a old but renovated building. One of the first things to catch our attention was the flock of peacocks that inhabit the place and wander above and alongside the diners. Everyone welcomed the meal with the added fun of two Cuban bands. Lots of music and a little dancing and then it was onto the old fortress and the Christ statue that overlooks the Bay of Havana.It was then off by bus to the Karl Marx theater to see the theater and do a sound check for Thursday's performance. This was the last event in a long day and it was back to the hotel and immediately to bed. Young and old immediately turned in and got needed sleep.

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