I promised my 70 year-old Freemason dad that, while in Cuba, I would find a Lodge and take a picture of it for him. That's what he asked me to do for him, and I didn't want to let him down.
After a few days, I approached a guard at the hotel entrance and asked him in Spanish, "Ola! Qui esse Logia Maconne?" (I didn't know if he'd understand me or not because I don't know a word of Spanish, lol...I just guessed!)
I must have come pretty close because the guard's face lit up with a smile. He got on his walkie-talkie (yes, they still use those there) and asked a friend of his where the nearest Freemason Lodge was. It turned out that the guy he asked, another hotel guard stationed in a different location, was himself a Mason!
I was told it was in Cardenas, Cuba. I asked the lobby guard how far away it was.
The only thing I got was that you could get there by cab for 25 pesos and 25 pesos back.
I was sold!
My wife and I walked out to the main road in front of our hotel and hailed a cat.
Sorry, not a CAT...a CAB!
An immaculate pink 1957 Ford pulled over for us!!! We couldn't have asked for better.
My wife's shirt even matched the car!
It took about 30 minutes to get to Cardenas, Cuba from our hotel in Veradero. The ride there was spectacular and, at the same time, very eye-opening to the level of poverty there!
Those pics don't don't even come near to doing it justice.
It was difficult to get good shots from inside the moving taxi while it moved through the narrow streets to get to our destination.
Take a guess at what that crack in the asphalt is. Yes, a latrine!
Horse and buggy! In fact, there were more of those than cars!
Okay, so after our driver makes a phone call to his wife, letting her know that he is in Cardena where they live, and that he would like her to pack a lunch for him, he pulls over and meets her to pick it up. They live there with their 5 year-old daughter!
That's our driver. Husband, father, and business partner with his father who owns the taxi he is driving. His hope is to one day take over the business when his father passes away - he and his family lives in his father's house which is his grandfather's house. If you are lucky, you will sort of inherit the generational homestead.
Off we go and our driver now pulls over to the curb where the Freemason Lodge is, except it's not a Freemason Lodge - it's a Russian offshoot founded by a Freemason in the 19th century.
So our driver waltzes right in there and knocks on the front door. He's speaking to someone in Spanish. I don't know what's being said but a friendly old gentleman comes out and our driver introduces my wife and I to him as travellers from Canada.
He was absolutely elated!
Right away, he shakes my hand, he's all smiles, and he starts taking us for the Grand Tour!
I'm taking pictures of everything he's pointing out to me. He's talking to me in Spanish and I can't understand a damned thing, but my driver is trying his best to interpret. He can speak a bit of english.
So here we go. I'm going to shut up and just post the pics for you now.
It turned out that we were in the wong spot! This wasn't an authentic Freemason Lodge; it was a Russian offshoot of Freemaonry estabished by this guy in the 1800's who was a Freemason:
So we thanked our host and said goodbye, then had our driver take a picture of us out front before leaving for the REAL Freemason Lodge 20 miles in the opposite direction. Talk about the scenic tour!
20 miles later our driver arrives at the real Lodge location.
There's a horse and buggy just outside the Lodge!
And then....there it is! The Square and Compasses!
I run across the street with my camera, hoping I could get inside.
To no avail. The Lodge is closed.
But I did get some shots of the outside, which made my dad very proud!
The Lodge was right beside the oldest Catholic Church in the country, built in the 17th century. It was a sight to behold!
As always, thank you for your support!
If you missed it, you can read my book. Click this link: Cracks in the Walls of the Watchtower