Blogs from Oeste, Cuba, Central America Caribbean - page 7


Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Viñales October 14th 2011

Valle de Vinales is to Cuba as Pai is to Thailand. It’s a hub for travellers rather than tourists and its not-so-attractive town centre is surrounded by rural, self-sustainable dwellings with some of the country’s most spectacular views. Undulating fields of lush greens and deep red terracotta plots surround the steep walls of the towering, limestone mogotes. It’s different to Pai, though. The people seem better off. The houses are bigger and made of concrete rather than wood and mud huts. The plots of land seem more organised. And there’s a serious lack of marijuana. Maybe I’m just reading too much in to it already, but it seems here, for the rural, poor people that Che wanted to help so much – the campesinos – socialism has improved their lives. With half a day left, we ... read more
Campesino II
Ian in Wonderland
The Lobster

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana October 13th 2011

October is Cuba’s wettest month so today we tried to make the most of some good weather at Playa del Santa Maria. It’s one of the beaches in Habana’s Playas del Este region. The sand isn’t as white, and sea not quite as crystal, as the beaches of Veradero, but it was amazingly peaceful. You could pick your own 100m stretch all to yourself, if you wanted. The only other people there were a few Cuban families and the occasional old, hairy, white guy splashing about with his beautiful, black, Cuban girlfriend. I would love to show you some pictures of this charming stretch of beach, but the only one we have is obscured by Ian’s big toe. I was slightly annoyed, but I didn’t say anything. He was already struggling enough. Really struggling. Despite functioning ... read more
Surf 'n' turf
So happy
Cary and Carmen

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana October 12th 2011

La Esquina Caliente, at the corner of Parque Central, was buzzing this morning. This is the place Havana’s baseball-mad fans come to talk and argue about anything baseball. Last night, a nation hunched around their TVs to watch Cuba wrap up a comfortable 4-0 series whitewash against the USA in the World Series – baseball’s version of the World Cup. Although it’s mostly an amateur competition, with the MLB’s biggest stars staying away for insurance reasons, it didn’t seem to matter to these fellas; they’d got one up on public enemy number one. Completely out of our depth, we congratulated an old guy beaming into his plastic cup of rum and moved on. It was time to immerse. Cuba has hundreds and hundreds of art museums and galleries so we thought we’d start with the Cuban ... read more
Plaza Vieja

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana October 11th 2011

After the comfort and luxury, we knew Cuba would be tough, but I was pretty glad we didn’t stagnate any longer in Playa. We landed safe enough, around 4pm, but I had my doubts we would. The jet was pre-revolutionary spec and clearly hadn’t been upgraded since. If the passenger seats did recline, they did so at random times, straight on to the lap of the person behind them. Embarrassing for everyone involved, really. In fact, by about 11pm that night, Ian was thankful he was only staying a week and I was starting to wonder if I would have to check myself in one of the hotels at Veradero – a mega resort, an hour north east of Havana that has become a symbol of the degenerate westerners Fidel refers to. First thing we did ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana October 3rd 2011

Ignoring all advice to take a local (European) summer holiday we decided to make the most of free air travel for Heidi whilst we can and went long haul to Cuba! It is a destination we nearly visited during our Central America trip some years back and is somewhere we have wanted to go to for a long time. We cheated slightly by booking an all inclusive but compromised with a few nights in Havana and also some trips from our resort into the interior - not quite backpacking - but with Heidi in tow we needed a bit of luxury and organisation! So, in true form Sally spent several hours on trip advisor to work out which hotel did the best buffet, found a good deal, upgraded our flights to Virgin Atlantic - and we ... read more
Classic Cars
Capitol Building

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana September 1st 2011

ENTRY 57 - Cuba Cuba is a great place to avoid the Canadian winter. The main thing that Canada has in common with Cuba is that we are America's closest neighbors and are two of only a handful of nations who have been able to stand up to this mighty Superpower. For Canada, 1812 was the year we were put to the test. Normally, President Madison would never have dared to declare war on the British Empire. However, because the British were tied up with Napoleon in Europe, the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada were "ripe for the picking". We were in serious trouble. Governor-General Sir George Prevost of Canada wrote to the Admirals in Bermuda calling for help! French, English and Native Canadians put aside their differences and rose to the occasion. Our plan ... read more
Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Revolutionary Square, Havana

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana July 11th 2011

Some places attract our imagination more than others, and La Havana is one of these great mystical place. I don't know really where to start this entry, as there are tenth of ways to write about the Capital of Cuba. May I start by a wish, that the leaders of the country will stop keeping their own people trap like in a jail, unable to provide a lot of the basic necessities and choices that the 21st century should bring to such nice people. It's a wish, but I'm sure it's just a question of time... Why come to La Habana, multiple reasons, for the people, the cigars, the rum, the jump straight back in the past, or even for the architecture. We did all this, plus some diving and even a round of golf. After ... read more
At the Nacional
playing with the fishes...
Daiquiri at Floridita with Hemingway...

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas June 27th 2011

FIRST CLASS OF CUBAN PRISON CHAPLAINS GRADUATE On Thursday, 16 June 2011, a total of 87 pastors and lay leaders made up the first graduating class of prison chaplains in Cuba. Co-sponsored by the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Cuba and the Ecumenical Seminary in Matanzas, the graduation took place at the Quaker Center in Gibara, on Cuba’s northeast coast. Most of these graduates, from 26 different denominational backgrounds, have done prison visitation for years. With the Cuban government’s easing of restrictions on church contact with inmates, Dr. Francisco Rodés, retired pastor of First Baptist Church, Matanzas, saw a significant opportunity to increase the Cuban churches’ ministry among inmates. “Few of these chaplains receive economic support for this work,” said Rodés, who now serves as the Cuban Council of Churches’ national coordinator for prison ministry... read more
Prison Chaplain Training Team

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana June 21st 2011

I arrived to Cuba once again with little or no idea of where I was staying or even where in Cuba I was gonna go and how long I would stay in each place. In fact, all I knew of Cuba was the information I’d managed to retain from reading another backpacker’s Lonely Planet Cuba guide for a couple of hours on the eve of the flight. I never meant to go so ill-prepared and I’d always planned to read up a bit more, but what with all the beaches to lie on and the jacuzzis to soak in I just hadn’t found the time. One thing I had found out was that it’s a hefty $25 USD taxi ride from the airport to downtown Habana. I made big efforts to save some money and come ... read more
El Capitolio - Downtown Habana
Jorge Making Mojitos
Mojitos on the Terrace

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas June 9th 2011

LEIGH WROTE A WONDERFUL STORY ABOUT OUR TRIP TO THE CAVE WITH A MAGICAL SWIMMING HOLE (SEE PICTURE OF RACHEL FLOATING). SADLY, THE STORY COULD NOT BE FOUND AT PRESS TIME. IF IT TURNS UP, WE WILL POST IT LATER. KNOW THAT LEIGH IS BACK TO HER OLD SELF AFTER A FEW WEEKS OF AN ENERGY-DRAINING AND BELLY-ACHING SICKNESS. Joy Cucita Ever since I stopped going to Cuban school, I have had a Spanish teacher named Cucita. I go to her house for class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2-3 p.m. I have noticed a great change in my Spanish since I started classes with her. She has helped me a lot and I am grateful. Cucita’s house is on the main street called 2 de Mayo. It is about 2 ½ blocks from the ... read more
Joy and Cucita
Leigh and Her Cuban Teachers
Pressure Point Treatment

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