As much as I wrote that Cuba is changing in my last post, this doesn’t occur for people in the countryside, that is, the majority of Cubans. So it is for the family of farmers I have followed closely over 20 years, the family of Nuñez who lives in the beautiful valley of Viñales. Here life stands still, with only few changes happening over the decades – mostly changes that follow the life cycle, such as people been born and dying.
Paradoxically the town of Viñales itself is maybe one of the areas in Cuba that is changing the most. A few years ago, it was a little, sleepy town, a serene secret that only a few outsiders knew about. Today it’s definitely no longer a secret; every tourist coming to Cuba seems to want to go to Viñales, to experience its irresistible beauty and laid-back atmosphere. Where only one restaurant existed a few years ago, today the main street running through the town is lined up with restaurants, cafes and pubs catering to every taste. When I first visited Viñales there were only three hotels on the outskirt of the town. Today supposedly more than a thousand private rooms run as bed and breakfasts are available for tourist seeking to Viñales.
Nevertheless, tourists stay within the beaten tracks; what the guidebooks recommend or what the tourists have picked up by their fellow peers. Outside of the beaten tracks, not much is felt by their influence. As is the case with «my» family. The Nuñez’ live only 15 minutes drive outside the town, but they have not experienced any of the major changes happening there. Yes, once in a while a tourist stumble by their farm, but mostly they live their down-to-earth life and don’t feel much of the developing boom happening only a few stone throws away.
As always I feel almost unbelievable welcomed by the family. As I have written in posts in the past, they have almost become a second family for myself. Whenever I go to Cuba, I try to visit them. The pictures here are but a few I took when visiting my family this year.