Off to the Caribbean

We’re finally going to Havana, this weekend.  Once there, I will have visited all the major Northern Caribbean islands except Jamaica where I have no wish to go.

Cuba, of course, is the biggest island by far.  Moving just east you run into Hispaniola, which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  I’ve been in Haiti on two occasions and the Dominican Republic once.

I lived 16 months in Puerto Rico, mostly in a San Juan penthouse with a Latina lass, overlooking the sea.

In dire need of a haircut

And I took a seaplane to the British Virgins once to get a haircut.

Cuba will be my second authoritarian state.  My visits to Haiti were in the days of the Duvaliers, father and son, Papa Doc and Baby Doc as they were known.

And this time it will be Fidel and Raul.  Two more stern fellows, but I have to hand it to Raul.  He seems to be seeing the light somewhat, a great thing.  Though I doubt he’s doing anything against Fidel’s wishes.

But all’s well that ends well, and it looks like Cuba will — in time — end well.  The government is slowly acknowledging the beauty and utility of freedom.

Now if the United States would just wise up and end the silly embargo.

See you when we return.  You’ll know us by our Ché Guevara T-shirts and Havana stogies.

13 thoughts on “Off to the Caribbean

  1. My postal box contained a very nice surprise on Wednesday — my copy of The Economist. But the surprise was the center section — an analysis of Cuba and its future. It is a good read. You should take a look at it on line when you return. And you know why you have to wait until you return. There are only so many freedoms the Castro boys are willing to allow their countrymen to enjoy.

    By the way, the editors agree with you on the embargo. Of course, so does RonPaul.

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    1. Babs in Cuba: Somehow I have trouble imagining that, but I hope you do it. Be aware that debit cards, credit cards, traveler’s checks, whatnot, are useless in Cuba if they have any connection whatsoever to the United States. My bank is Banamex, Mexico’s largest bank. Alas, it is owned by Citicorp, and I doubt Cuba even accepts that, so I’m taking a wad of pesos. If you were to go with a tour group as so many do, that would be taken care of for you I imagine, but we’re not doing any tour group. We are winging it.

      More on all this when I return.

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    2. PS: I found a tour guide online who has rave recommendations. I’ve been in contact with him quite a bit, and have lined up a few things, including being picked up at the airport in an air-conditioned car and our personal chauffeur. He is so popular he has his own employees.

      He doesn’t ignore email like Mexicans do. Out of curiosity, I asked him if Cuba shuts down between 2-4 p.m. daily, and he said no, that Cuba does not do siesta, which amused me.

      Tuesday, one of his fellows picks us up at our hotelito in Vedado, drives us out to Hemingway’s home on the other side of town, waits for us, and then will drop us off in Havana Vieja.

      Friday of next week, which is our anniversary, he is sending a convertible from the 1950s to our hotelito, with chauffeur, and we’ll be tooled about town for an hour or so in high style. My child bride does not know about that. She loves those old cars.

      She doesn’t read this website, which is why I’m mentioning it.

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      1. What a wonderful anniversary surprise para tu mujer! I love old cars especially convertibles, and you’ll both enjoy the ride — en Cuba.

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  2. Cuba is a big island, if you drove from one end to the other, it would be like driving from Cleveland to Boston. Steve is right about the Economist feature, a good read and it comes with a very nice detailed map of Cuba and its islands.

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  3. My husband did a tour of Western Cuba about 5-6 years ago. He says the real action is in the countryside where the paisanos live.

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    1. Carole: In the unlikely event we ever return, I would like to head out into the countryside too. Apparently, there are no restrictions on tourists doing that. Would be interesting, I’m sure.

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