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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Havana, Cuba

Jan 25, 2014 - Cuba At Last

Bueno. After a three and a half hour flight, I have accomplished the main portion of my goal; to get to Cuba. My first reaction after landing in Cuba was; “oh my God, they have jet ways at the airport.” Why is that surprising? In thinking about my initial expectations, I put Cuba in a similar developmental class as Ghana and now, I know that I was significantly wrong. To put this in the right terminology, in my opinion, Cuba is the exact definition of a 2nd world country. I say this because despite having a communist regime, which has...

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Xela 2012

Mar 27, 2013 - Bay of Pigs and Cienfeugos

Today we drove back via Havana to the Bay of Pigs, passing Central Australia on the way. The area is named after a sugar mill built in 1904. During the 1961 Bay of Pigs American invasion Fidel moved his headquarters to the mill. Throughout Cuba the only billboards are propaganda ones and here is no different. There are huge billboards about Cuba's victory against the Yankee infidels. Our guide rushed us through the small museum dedicated to the battle before we were herded back on to the minivan. We continued on to Cienfuegos for the...

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Mar 25, 2013 - Vinales - Cuba's tobacco belt

Today we left Havana bound for two nights in Vinales, a picturesque rural village in the Pinar del Rio provence. It is four hours west of Havana and the farmers all grow tobacco. Here we saw our first sombrero wearing cowboys and farmers using oxen driven ploughs to till the rich red fields. We read that this part of Cuba has its own Yosemite, with limestone monoliths called mogotes in the national park. We did a three hour hike with a park guide that included a visit to a tobacco farm to see the process from growing the leaves to rolling...

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Feb 12, 2013 - Around Havana

February 9, 2013 Rick and I went off on our own today, We wandered down to the Malecon to walk along the seaside and look at the tall ship SeaCloud. We could not identify the flag it was flying , but Rick thinks it is from Malta. We explored Havana Vieja which has amazingly beautiful architecture, lots of it crumbling . And lots of it needing restoration. We also went to a beautifully restored building with a telescope in it that shows what is going on in the street below. We were the only English Speakers there and the guide gave the...

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21 Degrees North

Feb 12, 2013 - Next day in Havana

Sunday, February 10, 2013 Today we got a late start then got on a sightseeing bus. In theory you can hop on an off this bus but It wasn’t quite as easy as we expected, however it gave us an overview of Havana. We stopped for lunch at the hotel Copacabana then back on the bus to place that was having a rumba contest. It was a bit claustrophobic for me so then we walked back to the Malecon, a street along the sea. We decided to take an old American taxi back to the Plaza Vieja where we people watched and had another drink. Then we walked...

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21 Degrees North

Feb 9, 2013 - Havana

Up early 5 am. Lots of standing in line and waiting. Pay off -in Cuba this afternoon. Can’t believe we are really here! Started the afternoon with a celebratory mojito.Then walked around Havana Vieja for a while. We returned to our “casaparticulare”to rest, relax and enjoy a cervesa with our lobster dinner. The humidity hit hard arriving in Havana. The American cars from the 50’s and 60’s are incredible. Our Taxi driver pointed out the makes and models. He was very knowledgeable. Imaging a 1957 Bel Air turquoise/white cruising. It is a...

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21 Degrees North

Mar 3, 2012 - Budgeting 101 (Course Review)

We started by taking a wild guess about how much money we would need, then changed all our US money to pesos. We then changed nearly all the pesos to Euros because Euros get a better exchange rate in Cuba but left some reserve emergency pesos. Always a good idea to have an E-supply. However, our emergency supply of money was quickly diminished by the taxi ride, ferry ride, taxi ride #2 and the surprise Mexico exit tax we had to pay. Oh, well. Upon arriving in Cuba we changed our Euros to Cuban Convertible pesos. Great ready to take on...

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Who knew...

Mar 2, 2012 - Budgeting 101 (Course Description)

Offered through Escuela del Mundo (School of the World) -- Course title: Budgeting 101 -- Professor: None Pre Reqs: None -- Material: Any and all currencies -- Location: Cuba Passing grade: Get out of Cuba* -- What better way to learn budgeting but in the real world. Provided with the knowledge that home stays start around $8 per night per person, budget for a 9 night/8 day stay in Cuba for you and a traveling companion. Please note, all US credit cards and banks are invalid in Cuba and changing US currency to Cuban currency directly incurs...

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Who knew...

Dec 30, 2011 - Cuba, Canadians and Communism: Practice

Parting tourists from their money through sales, tips or scams, happens everywhere, but here in Cuba the whole how-to-get-hard-currency thing gets a much sharper edge; apart from family overseas, tourists are the only readily accessible source and with the 25/1 ratio, the differences are so steep that a lot depends on it. And as an added point of interest, how does the mix of sour behaviour of job-secure state employees and the need to please customers for tips work out (my reference points are the French postal worker for stoically closing...

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Dec 22, 2011 - Day 2 : Havaning a great time

Body Clock is completly knackered 3 hrs sleep and very hungry. Breakfast is on the top floor so off i scale. Breakfast with Irina OH we gotta smoker LOL! Only i could meet a romainian from Basingstoke who now lives in Wimbledon park BLESS! so grateful I quit :-) Breakfast cuban style consists of lots of meat and take your pick of fruit, random brown and grey things or chips. After breakfast I head downstairs and meet the troops very varied group kiwi's, canadian's, lots of English and a Manc. ;-P First point of call City tour of...

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Dec 21, 2011 - Day 1 : Viva los Cubos

The Time has Cometh..................... I awoke to a lovely winters day 630am after 4 hrs sleep after packing to military precission. Allowed 20 kgs got to Heathrow and my bag weighed 19.7kg :-) 5 kilos are clothes for cuban families, colouring in books, coloured pens and 10 packets of Haribo for the kids & me. So many people are so aggrevated and i'm cool calm and collective. It's the first time i've travelled abroad on my own since i stopped drinking LOL! as soon as i get through security and into the departure lounge a young lady walks...

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Dec 14, 2011 - Cuba, Canadians and Communism: Theory

“Cooperatives from a Socialist Perspective” the title of the book read. It had been a long time since I had seen anything being discussed from a ‘socialist perspective‘. I was peeking over the waist-low railing separating our balcony from that of our neighbours in Hotel La Ermita in Viñales. The ‘Rooie Rat’ Bookshop was (and is) located on the Oude Gracht in Utrecht and I occasionally walked in and leafed through the books, where the same subject matter I was studying at the Institute for Social Psychology (ISP) for my specialisation in...

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