23 May Playa Blanca
In the morning we ate a 3$ breakfast of coffee, a smoothie, poached eggs, bread and fresh fruit at Casa La Marina. It was delicious. We got a recommendation from Tarcy, one of the owners of the Casa Particular, to check out Playa Blanca – so we headed out to do just that.
First we walked along the Malecon (seafront) until we found a path down to the beach. We walked along the coast, through rocky black sand, and joined up with a man walking in the same direction for a chat. We weren’t sure how to get to Playa Blanca, but he led us around the water’s edge to the delta where a man in a small wooden boat waited to push us across the Rio Miel’s mouth to the other side for 20 CUP (approx. 85 cents.) He let us off on a dock like bridge that extended half-way into the delta which led to the entrance to the national park.
It cost us about 2$ to go to Playa Blanca itself and before arriving we walked through a small town where baby pigs were running loose in the narrow dirt lane. Then, the town turned into a lush tropical forest, the walkway shaded by overhanging palms and full of low-lying foliage. The beach was a bit of a surprise – for one, it was tiny (making us thankful to be two of the five people on it) – and two, the tiny bit of beach was separated from the water by large rocks which blocked the surf. It was quite lovely though, and despite the cool breezes and grey sky we felt nestled in a secret alcove, drinking young coconuts out of their green husks and collecting stones.
A few hours later Sean commented that he had fever. I touched him and, sure enough, he did. But, he said, he could have fever on the beach or have fever in his room; there wasn’t really a difference, so we stayed. When we did start back, he was feeling atrocious. I wasn’t feeling great either (headaches, sniffles and sneezes); and after our Cuban train ride from hell – it could be anything.
The owners of Casa Marina were so good to us. Tarsi was sweet enough to find us limes even though most had been destroyed by a recent hurricane by asking neighbors who grew them in their homes. She used them to make us a large pot of tea with local honey. She also made us a savory vegetable soup with rice and beans – a lighter dinner than normal but, our request due to our condition. They took wonderful care of us, constantly boiling water for us to drink and cooking us healthy restorative food so we could rest up and see what the next few days would hold for us.