Caribbean | Cuba
May 31, 2008
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2007, Friday 27 April: Valle de los Ingenios, Cuba

Valle de los Ingenios, Cuba.
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The Valle de los Ingenios is a lush mountain-backed basin just north and east of Cuba's showcase colonial town of Trinidad. Countryside and town are jointly a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I drove into the Valle de los Ingenios in the late afternoon, having spent the day exploring and photographing Trinidad. The landscape was largely planted out with bananas but previously and famously had been given over to sugar cane. I stopped off to take a look at a fairly isolated hacienda and noticed that a group of field workers were squatting by a railway line. The old sugar line through the valley to Trinidad is today used spaoradically by a steam-hauled tourist locomotive making day exursions. Somehow, I didn't think this was what they were waiting for, so I asked the men whether there was a train due. They replied, that yes, there should be train any moment, but, laughing, said it wasn't a tourist train. This was a train for the campesinos, picking them up after working on the banana plantations. I stayed around and waited, walking a little way down the track towrds a photogenic tree and box girder bridge over the river. Sure enough, around ten minutes later, a little single carriage diesel railcar trundled into sight. It stopped by the dirt road crossing and the workers climbed in. Passing me with a tinny toot, the little train then rattled off down the line.
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