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Thread: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

  1. #1
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    Default Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    I visited Cuba in December with friends. It's a pretty amazing place.

    Who else has been there? What did you see or do?


















    h

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    I've never been thre. My parents lived in Havana, teaching at the Colegio Metodista Central, from 1950 through 1952. They were there during the coup when Fulgencio Batista became dictator, and had some photos of tanks on the street outside the presidential palace.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 06-17-2017 at 09:40 AM.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    I visited Cuba a very long time ago, when I was eighteen and working on my very first international ship. We were in Havana for three days, delivering dynamite, and two days a couple months later, picking up a cargo of rum. That would have been in 1973, I think. My brother now visits every year. He started sitting in with the house band at the resort he goes to, and now his "vacation" is spent going from hotel to hotel along the beach, playing with the local bands. Every year he takes a guitar or piece of PA electronics (last winter he took an 8-channel mixer I found for him) and donates them to the bands he plays with. My Dad used to visit Cuba regularly when he was a ship's officer with Bowater back in the late '40' s and '50's, and has gone back on vacation semi-regularly in the past ten years or so.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    Nine days in April. Three in Havana Centro, three in Havana Vieja, three in Vinales. Self directed, the sort of trip Trump intends to restrict. Hundreds of photos, how do you choose which ones?









  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    Vinales was a real highlight for us. We were only there one day.

    I bought a pack of twenty farm-rolled cigars there, wrapped in a banana leaf. I'm smoking those sparingly. The guy at the tobacco farm farm taught us to smoke cigars with the mouth end dipped in honey. The folklore is that Che liked it that way. I've tried it, and it's OK!

    Post more please!

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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    Did you do the four hour farmland walking tour in Vinales? My wife bought a roll of twenty cigars there too. Perhaps from the same farmer?

    The following three pix are in Habana Centro, taken from our balcony, It was on Campanario, between Animas and Virtudes, three blocks off the Malecon. In the first picture, notice the steel railings on the balcony across the street to the far left.

    In the second picture notice the railing is hanging down and there's a brojken plant pot on the curb. We ran to our balcony after hearing a loud crash. Folks have gathered in the street to talk and evaluate he situation, move some wires, etc.. An injured person was whisked off to the hospital.

    And in the third picture, the guy who lived in the apartment off the balcony set about doing the important task - freeing up his TV antenna which was wired to the railing. He got it reinstalled on a window in about 45 minutes. His building was probably at least 150 years old.






  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    It will be a while before the balcony railing is repaired.




    We stayed in a very nice casa particular in Vinales. It was on a dirt road but all the fixtures inside the home were the latest from Germany (the owner's daughter had married a German and was living in Germany). It seemed like the owner of every other house in Vinales was adding on to provide rental rooms for tourists. Here, across the street from us the owner was planning a second story addition. I was mentally thinking: number of blocks, weight per block, 3 inch concrete roof slab, number six rebar at what spacing, walls at what spacing, etc., etc.



    Actually, Fidel didn't die. He lives happily in Vinales. The Cuban bio industry is quite advanced. Fidel is slender and the effects of aging have been pretty well reversed. He was riding his horse down our road and stopped to chat with the kid across the street. He kept in the shadows to avoid positive identification.


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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread


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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    The folklore is that Che liked it that way.
    Che, of course, was Argentine. That's why they called him 'Che' instead of Ernesto, 'che' being a meaningless interjection like 'um' or the Canadian 'eh' that Argentines use about ever third word, and Cubans don't use at all.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    Indecision. This is the intersection pictured in post #4. This guy made it around the ditch in the previous block. He knows he can't make it to the right. The street is busy and slow to the left. What to do? He reversed and got out of there. The green car of post #4 thought he could get straight through and accelerated hard. There was a surprisingly loud crash when his frame hit the street and his font wheels dropped into the ditch. I don't know what engine he had installed. It was unlikely to be the original or he would have flattened the oil pan. He tried to rock out before the bystanders kindly pushed him out.



  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    Depictions of Che everywhere. Lot's of depictions Venezuela's Chavez too. This building was pretty well shot. Pretty much gutted with a market place inside.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    I would like to visit Cuba before it changes too much, but the changes may slow with the US government's new attitude towards it, so there may be time.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    There's already a lot of Canadian and German investment there. Look for that to continue.
    An American startup wanted to build Farmall Cadet type tractors there from US supplied parts. I imagine that's down the drain.
    “What, Me Worry?". -. A. E. Newman

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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Stiletto View Post
    I would like to visit Cuba before it changes too much, but the changes may slow with the US government's new attitude towards it, so there may be time.
    If Trump has his way people will be herded into group tours. I was taken aback by the current treasury department regulations, and almost signed us up for a group tour through Roads Scholar. We've never, ever, been on a group tour, and my wife said she wouldn't go if it was with a group. So I studied the regulations and we did a self directed trip, and I believe we met the regulations. I have six pages of small print describing everything we did each day; where we stayed, who and what we visited, plus two pages of every expenditure. I'll keep those records for five years as required. Americans I met who were travelling by themselves were not meeting current requirements, and I didn't meet any American who knew the details of the requirements or was keeping records as currently required.

    Group tours take care of the treasury department requirements for you, but they are more costly and you wind up travelling with 12 to 20 Americans from Bumfock Idaho. You don't get the one on one experience that they claim, and the group impacts the area visited, as opposed to the area impacting you. Group tours are more likely to funnel money into hotels and facilities owned by Cuban military run companies. Self directed tours funnel money directly into individual Cuban pockets. For our nine day trip we spent just over $4900 total for the two of us, for everything, including airfare. Comparable group tours would have been $5000 each plus airfare. So better than a 50 percent savings. We stayed in wonderful private places - tiled floors, high ceilings, very clean, always had our own bathroom, and friendly, helpful hosts.

    Our biggest expense was hiring a guide for four full time days. This was a bit more time consuming to arrange, but I found him before we actually purchased our airline tickets (we flew direct from LA to Havana on Alaska). We corresponded and we described what we wanted to do that would meet "educational and full time activities involving meaningful interaction with Cuban people" as required by the U.S. Treasury Dept. He was 27 years old, a black man, fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, with a college degree, major in literature, minor in art. We had him all to ourselves, all day long. He made an itinerary for each day per our wishes and changed it if we desired. He had friends supply auto transport as required. We spent all day together, ate meals together, and discussed every imaginable topic: education, art, architecture, religion, sex, guns, crime, police, politicians, politics, family life _ everything. The orientation that we got from him made us feel comfortable and confident for the five days that we spent without him. Normally he would have a group of perhaps 10 people. We paid him $1100 for the four days to have him to ourselves. We felt that it was a worth while expenditure for us. He was very happy and not one peso went to the Cuban military. Some people say we paid him too much - it was just over 20% of our total trip cost and it made the trip for us.

    Next time. and there will be next time, Trump will have no say. There are flights from any number of other countries and the Cubans are most welcoming.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    I've never been there, but Hemingway was--Pilar.

    Last edited by Shang; 06-17-2017 at 04:21 PM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Shang View Post
    I've never been there, but Hemingway was--Pilar.
    Hemingway's place is a bust. We went out there. Our guide was polite about it. You have to drive out there, then pay the $10 per head admission, then avoid the tour groups to look through the windows. I said to our guide "I got over Hemingway 50 years ago and no longer have admiration for him, and now we're paying to avoid tourists and look through windows in the place where he once lived. Look there's the bidet he once used, and there on the wall are all the animals that he killed." Our guide laughed and said "I dislike coming out here too, I feel exactly the same way, but all the Americans want to come. I didn't want to discourage you. Let's get out of here!"

    I won't post photos shot through Hemingway's open windows. There's a walkway around Pilar, and they won't let you leave it to poke around underneath the hull. Here's some quick shots:






  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    I'd rather go to Key West and Pet a 6 toed cat........
    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    Don't under-estimate Jack. He's purty damned talented

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    Speaking of Hemingway, here's Floridita, the bar where he used to booze. Always busy. Plenty of tour groups queue up in front around noon to drink where Hemingway drank. We never went into the place. Does Trump know that a Cuban military owned company runs the place? Guess where the money goes when a tour group goes there?

    Our guide pointed at the place with disdain and took us a few blocks away one noon time. He lead us to a green door in an old building, no signs, a narrow stairway up to a nice, clean restaurant and bar with lots of open tables with views off the balcony. Nice open roof top sitting too, but it was too hot to go up there in the sun. Lot's of high fives and introductions when we entered. Excellent meal, great service, low prices. So good we went back on a Friday night - every place is busy on Friday night in Havana


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jack grebe View Post
    I'd rather go to Key West and Pet a 6 toed cat........

    I used to fly to Key West for work, it was always fun. Thing is, it's just a 45 minute flight from Florida to Havana. I was thinking how convenient it would be to do that next time. Zip over, take a few classes for a week so that I couldn't be called a tourist. But, thanks to the Donald, Florida and an American airline won't be getting my money. The Canadians or Mexicans will. Fock him.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    As we were driving by I caught a view of this vessel out of the corner of my eye. Got a quick shot of it but we were headed somewhere else. It got my curiosity, and I tried to make sense of its purpose and function. My picture doesn't reveal all that I thought I saw, but I was sure that I saw something quite unusual:



    So I searched on line, and my eyes weren't deceiving me. That's the turret from a Russian tank that the Cubans have cut off and mounted up forward, with a missile canister on either side. Helicopter deck aft. It's the "Rio Damugi." They've converted an old Spanish built fishing boat into a naval vessel, There's not much left of their Navy since the Russian's abandoned them, but just as they improvise with old American cars, they've improvised with this fishing vessel. Probably 15 knot maximum speed, and I doubt there's any sophisticated fire control for the tank turret, probably just point and shoot. Who knows what's in the missile cannisters and what the control system might be. Is this something for the Donald to fear? Absolutely not, but I'd guess that hollow man is afraid of just about anything. Here's a better picture from the web:


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    Good movie, "Buena Vista Social Club".

    Thanks Dave for all the great pics and stories.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Cuba - pictures and stories thread

    Someone told us: "They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work." These guys were fascinating to watch, did good work, and very friendly too. We were having an early breakfast at an outdoor cafe. A crew of up to 7 guys appeared from time to time to replace the section of old cobblestone street with new concrete bricks. They all sat around talking, reading papers, slowly getting into being there. Neighborhood kids would come by and play with their tools every now and then.

    Then the work commenced - all would sit, one guy would go for a wheelbarrow load of bricks then return. A little group activity, then one guy gets sand while everyone else sits and chats. Neighbors come by and talk. There was one older guy did the measuring and leveling in between reading the paper. They were all occupied and engaged with each other, the neighborhood, and the work to a greater or lesser degree. There were no hassles, and the finished section slowly grew larger. We came back for a few minutes over several hours and the work looked good. Everyone disappeared around noon.










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