Robaina's plantation

Monday 10 December 2012

Encuentro de Amigos de La Casa Partagas (Dia de Campo) Nov.21/2012

                 This is one of my favourite of the Partagas Encuentro events. The 'Campo' day is always held at a park, sometimes near as in this case at 'Parque Lenin' and sometimes farther as in 'Las Terrazas' about an hour away halfway to Pinar del Rio. No matter the location, it's out in the country surrounded by nature and I enjoy seeing this side of Cuba.
                  The day starts at the Partagas store at about 9am, this is where we begin the day's events. Many of the participants show up a little bleary-eyed from the previous night's activities. There's always something to do in Havana and the nights could end well into the AM. We have a coffee, expertly made by the adorable Odalys, and talk about what's happening.  By around 9:30am we board an air-conditioned, comfy bus and head to our final destination.
                  The ride to 'Parque Lenin' to the entrance we use today is about 30 minutes from Partagas. We enter through the part of the park that contains the 'Equestrian Center'. It's a few buildings, stables, the one we enter contains horses. It's hard to say how many of the stables are holding horses. I wasn't nosey on this day, I wanted to spend it enjoying the company of friends while smoking several cigars. We were told that some of these horses were used in the Olympics. After spending a little time meeting the horses, we're led to a large 'Ranchon' close by. To the side of the structure a whole pork and some chickens are being roasted on a homemade grill over an open fire. That was going to be our lunch in a couple of hours. In the meantime , a buffet of fresh fruit and finger foods was put out for us and the bar was open. Local beer and non-premium local drinks are included in the price of the ticket. The horses and riders put on a show for us as we nibble on something. This is the time I enjoy, people relax, talk, play dominoes or just pass out and all the while the Park People put on a show to keep us occupied. They put on a mock 'Cock Fight'. The birds are never allowed to draw blood. The music starts soon after and they hold a dance contest for prizes. Finally it's time for lunch. Two long tables are set up for us with ample space. We segregate ourselves among the groups we travelled with or as in my case, I sat with the Italians. There's always interaction with other groups and many new friendships are formed from these gatherings.
                  After lunch we have about another hour of relax time. I chose to spend a part of that time walking around the park. I discovered some new vegetation and some abandoned stables. I enjoyed the exercise and the quite time with nature. We boarded the bus for our return trip around mid-afternoon bound for Partagas. Once back, another coffee and cigar and the day is done, time to plan the evening.
                   It was a perfect day except for the wind but the sun was out all day. This day cost 75cuc, about $80. We were given 3 cigars, snacks and a meal as well as drinks. While all this was going on we were also entertained. I think it was well worth it and will definitely do it again.

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