When we first woke up, we were hot like nothing you could experience in California. The air, being so hot and humid, sticks to your skin and weighs down your body. After fully waking up and applying liberal amounts of sunscreen and spraying so much bug spray so that the floor became slippery, we ate breakfast at the hotel buffet. Following that, we hopped on the bus and made our way to Old Havana. At Old Havana, we saw many dilapidated yet still beautiful colonial style buildings. As we made our way around Old Havana, we visited many squares where all the buildings had some sort of story behind it and decades of history. After our walking tour, we went to the restaurant, Café Taberna, where we had a typical Cuban meal of rice, beans, and pulled pork. But what made the restaurant special wasn’t the food but the traditional Cuban band, which provided music gave special entertainment. One of the dancers literally swept our tour’s concertmaster, Jessica Cao, off her feet to dance. Matthew Major and I were able to play maracas with the band and Sean played the bongos to thunderous applause. Afterwards, we visited more squares and saw the renovations that Cuba was undergoing before returning to the hotel for downtime. At the hotel, Omid oversaw a rehearsal for the parts of the Borodin with the winds while soloists also practiced their parts in preparation for the concert tomorrow. The rest of the orchestra was probably at the pool. After soaking in the sun, we relaxed in the pool and played games like chicken fight, and dunked each other. We dried up and ended our day by going to La Divina Pastoral. When first entering the restaurant, we could see cannons lined up next the river and we were able to enjoy an amazing meal while watching the sun set and paint the sky with one of the most beautiful sunsets that I’ve seen. Finally, we returned to the hotel and wound down with some friends before going to sleep and preparing for the next day.
~ Tiffany Bayly