Noel and I sought out the place where he worked as a scuba diving instructor in the late 2000’s: Hotel Bucanero. The highway abruptly ended and Noel deftly maneuvered the old pool blue Triumph through sand and around grazing cows and burros. Hurricane Sandy razed the hotel into the beach in 2012. This is 2016 and there has been no movement to rebuild Hotel Bucanero, which Fidel Castro called one of the most beautiful hotels in Cuba. Often, Noel and I joke that in Santiago de Cuba we live at the end of the world, or, “al fin del mundo.” Walking among the ruins of Hotel Bucanero, I realized that we truly do. Even though the sun was burning our backs, the scene was dreary. I half-expected some monster or ghost to rise out of the sand. I stepped carefully over broken plates and rusted metal, holding Noel´s hand. I was lucky I’d had my camera in my backpack when we’d spontaneously decided to catch the highway and arrive at this desolate place. I don’t want these photos to just represent another fallen paradise. I want them to show that Cuba, for some, may be an exotic vacation destination, a place that appears to be frozen in time. For others, like Noel and I, it is a tomb for memories and a harsh reality where the politics come first and people come second.

Where the highway ends: Se acabó la carretera
Last look back before entering the ruins: La vista de las últimas casitas
Which buildings were these?:  ¿Cuáles edificios eran?
The pools: La piscína para los niños
What’s left of the hotel rooms: Las ruinas de las habitaciones
The kitchens: La cocina
Reminiscing the loss: La tumba de las memorías
Rusting metal snakes: Organismo oxidado
Twisted car: Coche torcido
DURO: Tough
The ending driveway: Calle, Al final