Blogs from Cuba, Central America Caribbean - page 62


I survived my first week as a student in Cuba! I've had a good time but I'm ready to leave after one more week. I received an email from Flight Centre telling me they couldn't change my Havana to Mexico City flight so I'll have to change it at Cubana Air on Monday. He said there are vacancies so there shouldn't be any problems. I saw Julia preparing food today and noticed the plantain fritters I like so much are slathered in butter before she fries them. There's no hope in hell of me losing weight in Cuba. I'm enjoying my Salsa lessons with Ramon. The first couple of classes we spent just dancing but now we spend 30 minutes dancing and the other half talking about his life here in Cuba. He tells the students ... read more

I got to sleep in til 9am as class started at 10am today. Amelia and Paula didn't get home until 7am. I'm glad I left at 2am, there's no way I'd bounce back from that. After class, I cancelled my salsa class and Paula, Katrin and I caught a truck (the transport the locals cram into) to La Estrella where there is the Castillo del Morro castle and a small beach. We took a bus back home in time for dinner and the weekly weekend planner meeting. Nothing was decided as a group for the weekend, so I'm hopefully going to do some diving at Bucanero Resort and do a tour of the Sierra Maestra. Clara cracked the shits today when she asked how I was writing my Spanish notes. I told her I write them ... read more

My Spanish class is made up for three students - me, Paula (who is Swedish) and Amelia (who is also Swedish). Amelia's father is Chilean. She said when she was growing up, her father spoke to her in Spanish but she replied to him in Swedish so while she can understand Spanish, she can't speak it properly. The other student, Paula, can speak some Spanish so that just leaves me, the idiot, sitting there scratching my head and asking the girls what it means in English. There is a rule that no English is to be spoken during the lesson so when I ask for a translation, I get a dirty look from the teacher. So I find I'm reciting the answers she wants from memory as opposed to actually understanding what I'm saying. There are ... read more

Spanish class started at 8.30am. It ends at 1.30pm. I have lunch at my casa. It's a huge meal - fruit, salad, rice, beans, some kind of meat and banana fritters for dessert -- there's no way I'm going to lose kgs here. And it's mangos mangos everywhere! I'm loving it! I have dance lessons at 4.00pm where I'm learning 'Casino Salsa' which is the Cuban form of salsa and apparently different from other forms of salsa danced around the world. I suck at it but at least I'm giving it a go. My dance teacher's name is Ramon. My host family's upstairs neighbour must be a young guy because he has lots of guys come over who sit on the stairs which are outside my bedroom window. He plays a mix of reggaeton, Marc Anthony ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba July 22nd 2007

Epilogue There has to be some explanation as to why it took me a full year to get around to editing my journal notes of this trip. And, frankly, the only reason I can really give is that I was not that enamoured with the place, and could never work out even remotely what makes it and its people tick. It’s quite a long way to travel for scenery that is - even at its best - not particularly inspiring (in the western half of the island, anyway). Or for a handful of concentrated areas of eighteenth and nineteenth century colonial architecture. And, other than the old city centres, the only places we were taken to see would not honestly pass muster as third-tier tourist attractions in any other country I can think of. There is ... read more
First Defeat for Imperialist Yankees in Latin America
Bay of Pigs Museum
Bay of Pigs Museum

It was a 4am rise to catch my flight to Santiago de Cuba. The plane was so dodgy, I had to carry my hand luggage on my lap because there was no room in the overhead storage or under the seat in front of me. I arrived at my host family's house at 8am after two attempts at the address by the unofficial taxi driver. His passenger door flew open twice on the journey. Good thing I ride in the back. My casa is located near a hotel so I caught up on my emails in the afternoon. This week is Carnival time in SCU (Santiago de Cuba) to mark the anniversary of the Revolution. The streets are closed off with stalls and there are people everywhere. I hate crowds so I'll just have to suck ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba July 21st 2007

The Truth about Cars in Cuba If you ever wanted to know why there are so many old cars in Cuba, it goes like this: 1. After the Revolution, the Castro regime legislated that any car bought before then could continue to be owned, sold, or passed down the family. 2. Any car bought after that could not be disposed of in any way (other than giving back to the state) So, 1950's cars are worth taking care of, worth repairing, and carry a high value in one of Cuba's only free markets. Any post-1960 car, beyond a certain point, is not worth spending money on since it has no re-sale or inheritance value. Even the state is bound by this, so there are fields full of rusting 1990's cars bought by state rental car companies ... read more
1950's Chevy
Hillman Minx (or even Mink!)

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana July 21st 2007

Today we: - Walked around Chinatown, got swindled by some hustlers and taken to a bar full of westerners with Cuban 'guides'. It was bound to happen at least once. - More coctails at El Floridita - Lunch at Hanoi restaurant - Heatstroke in Coppelia Park - Dinner at El Aljibe ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste July 20th 2007

As you can see from the diary date, we are running a bit behind hand on these blogs.. So in an attempt to try and catch up we thought we would let the photos do the talking. Needless to say we had a great time in Cuba, met lots of great people and have stories to tell when we get back. One area we didn´t have time to see but heard from many others its well worth a visit is Baracoa on the south east coast. Amint lathato a naplo datumabol, elegge la vagyunk maradva a blogirassal, ugyhogy ugy dontottunk megprobaljuk leroviditeni, az amugy elegge hosszadalmas "Mit is irjunk???" nyuglodest es hagyjuk, hogy a kepek beszeljenek helyettunk. Mondani sem kell lenne/lesz mit meselni!!! Altalanos info azoknak akik tervezik, hogy Kubaba latogatnak, Baracoa a sziget del-keleti csucskeben ... read more
It seems like home..
Isn´t it nice??? - Hat nem szep???
Varadero by day - Varadero nappal

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana July 19th 2007

Today we spent the day visiting: - Revolution Museum (again) - Drinks at Hotel Ambos Mundos (another Hemingway haunt) - Walked around Ospiso & O'Reilly Streets - Relocated the hidden park in Ospiso Street - Parque Ecologio Eseucla - Took photos of anti-imperialist signs along the Malecon - Dinner at the Nacional Hotel - amazing fresh daiquiri de Mango! - Walked along and sat on the Malecon until after midnight ... read more

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