In August we made it up to the highest point in Santiago de Cuba called the Gran Piedra. It’s a touristy spot so unfortunately we had to pay just to climb up the stairs to the rock base. When we ascended the mountain the unbearably hot August air cooled dramatically. The rock was full of tourists focused on snapping photos rather than relaxing and soaking in the sight from the base. Due to the insidious culture of tourism that has recently developed in Cuba, there was even a few knick-knack stands on the Gran Piedra. I was disappointed by the rude tourists but the view is really beautiful. You can even see the lights of Jamaica from the top at night. Noel told me that when he was 14 years old he ran all the way from downtown Santiago up the the observation tower. I can’t even imagine running that far! He also used to do clandestine military drills in the forest around Gran Piedra. We also found where he’d written his name back in the eighties. The scary part was descending the mountain on the motorcycle! Noel basically had to engine break all the way down.