Cuba teaches student to ‘go with the flow’

Hannah Childress,

On my last day of exploring in Cuba I decided to return to Marina Hemingway for one last visit in hopes of catching an interview with the dive master at the local scuba dive shack and capture a few more photos of this ghost town of a resort.

I arrived at the entrance to the marina at about six in the morning via taxi. At the gate there is a guard shack where the security guards stop each car entering the marina and ask what the purpose of their visit is.

Two days previously the same instance happened and the guards did not object to our visit. This time I did not have such luck. With what little Spanish I could understand between the taxi driver and the guards, the marina is a private resort only open to timeshare holders that are staying at the resort. The guards reluctantly agree to let me take photos for only five minutes.

After setting aside the time to wake up early and spending 20 CUCs to get to the marina, I was frustrated that I was only allowed five minutes on the property. I only let that frustration sink in for a few minutes because during my stay in Cuba I had become accustomed to daily curve balls being thrown my way.

In the end I was able to get a few shots that did not pan out as I had planned due to the tide being low, but I was still able to capture some usable photos. I did not get the chance to swing by the dive shop, which was disappointing. I did manage to obtain an email for the shop during my first visit to the marina. Fingers crossed I can get a few interview questions answered via email.

After my five minutes were up I told the taxi driver to drop me off just outside the gate. I didn’t know exactly where I was headed but after spending 20 CUCs on a one-way taxi, I wasn’t ready to head back to the hotel.

I started walking along the road that runs parallel to the ocean, looking for a crossroad that could lead me to the water. A fence ran along the road for a long time ensuring my exile from the marina. For a moment I considered hopping the fence but Cuban authorities have a strange way of appearing out of thin air to catch you in the act.

Trespassing didn’t feel like a wise option so I continued my walk down the road and after about a mile, I found an empty lot with overgrown grass and trees between what I thought were abandoned buildings; however, they were not abandoned.

This lot had a creepy vibe which put me on edge. I stood on the street for a while to get a feel for the place and watch for who was in the area that might pose a threat to me. I knew this would be my last chance at taking photos in this area so I quietly walked into the lot and walked towards the water. The grass cleared and my view opened up to glass water front lined with beautiful houses.

If there is anything that I have learned during this trip to Cuba, it is that things rarely go as planned, and if you can keep an open mind and stay flexible, you can end up with beautiful results that will surprise you.