They sure have an interesting mix for travel in Cuba...I loved the pictures of the old cars in your other post! In New York I saw bicycle taxis, too, but they were smaller and just for tours, not really for getting around.
Me too DrFumblefinger ! The Oxen pulling ploughs I've seen in Lancaster PA. but if you need a vase for Flowers (Birthdays) you get the bottom half of a 2 litre plastic Coke Bottle with wrapping paper around it. Looks quite good really ! But the bit that hurts is seeing folks suffer from curable things - like thyroid problems - that we take for granted now as being treatable. Homeopathy and Voodoo prevail... really !
Thanks for the link T&N. Bill Gates funds the School of Tropical Medicine here in Liverpool in its search for better treatment and a cure for Malaria. But tales of Save the Planet are all Hogwash. People who live in cool climates - like me - cant wait for the climate to warm up. When the Vikings discovered Greenland a thousand years ago they described it as a "Green and pleasant land with pastures and animals" - and now its just a frozen waste again ! Turn up the CO2 !
But not quite as free as all that. Travel is still restricted to the purposes (such as education, family visits, journalism, cultural exchange, etc.) that formerly required obtaining individual licenses. What has changed is that you no longer need to obtain a license; the government will assume you honestly belong to one of those categories...until and unless you irritate it.
According to the White House Press Office ,these are the twelve categories. (below)Without licenses ,like before, most everyone can fit into one of these categories legally if they really want to. (1) family visits; (2) official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; (3) journalistic activity; (4) professional research and professional meetings; (5) educational activities; (6) religious activities; (7) public performances, clinics,...
I've also heard that there are concerns not enough hotel rooms exist in Cuba for the expected flood of American tourists. Besides flights, it's important to have a room reservation at hand. I truly hope the flood of tourist money will be of benefit to the Cuban people whose plight I have great empathy for.
Perhaps TG Guru GarryRF can add something on this...he's been there often. My impression is that the lack of facilities may be overstated, because Canadians, Brits and others have been going there in large numbers. Of course, if you double that without building, there will be a problem, but I don't think the numbers will go up that fast until the hotels and airlines start offering the kind of attractive packages they do for other areas of the Caribbean. It may be a self-solving problem.
Many Americans travel to the Capital - Havana. Its a big - overgrown and mostly poor city. Not really a flavour of the real Cuba and its people. Wherever you go on the Island they do 2-3 day trips to Havana. The stores are mostly empty and food is strictly rationed to the locals. So you'll be better going to one of the hundreds of All Inclusive Hotels that line the coast. Inclusive vacations fly from Toronto to Resorts all around the Island. Very much like Dominican Republic - without the...
Most interesting Garry. I still have Cuba on my list as 'yet to be visited'. I'm not a great beach lover - a few days are fine - is there really a lot to be seen in the country as a whole if you take away the Ché-related hyped locations? Is it really worth making the effort right now before things change as they surely will? Unfortunately I still have a load of other places that are tugging at my sleeve for early visits...
Most city centres have been laid out in the Spanish style with an open park. This is lunchtime when all the school children and workers eat their packed lunches. No radio - music - skateboards - headphones - just peace and tranquillity !
Mac. Cuba has already changed since my first visit 15 years ago. Buses and cars are everywhere now thanks to those intrepid Chinese salesmen. Living standards are rising rapidly thanks to the tourist dollar. Fields of Sugar Cane are now rare. Castro has decided that Cuba's future lies in tourism. Bicycles prevail in most Towns and a horse and buggy are common. When I first went to Cuba it was painfully poor. It's like going back in time to a 3rd world country. But with safety and very civil,...
Maybe the answer to the number of Hotels needed to accommodate the new visitors from the US is all in the timing. Brits - Canadians - Germans love Cuba in the winter. It's the dry season with no hurricane threat. Warm in the daytime, 75-85f or 24 -29c. Cool enough for a sweater at night. Americans can have the summer !!!
Thanks IslandMan, There are many resorts in the Varadero peninsular. The Christmas/New Year season is kind of full. But other than that, still unspoiled to me. The tour guy told us that currently 80% tourists are Canadians. I can imagine if sanctions are lifted, there will be lots of tourists from USA, they are much closer in terms of distance.
I recall as a boy my dad's best friend had a Pontiac like this. It was a beautiful car and the pride of his life. It ended up being totaled in a car crash (he survived), but I still remember his pride in showing off the polished beauty! His was two tone brown, I think.
Originally Posted by PHeymont: Oldsmobile...think it's a 55, might be 54. My first car was a 53 Olds 88. PHeymont -- you owned a Rocket 88? Remember that old song by Ike Turner and Jackie Brentson? Here's the you-tube link to remind those who may have forgotten this classic song -- one of the first Rock 'n Roll tunes ever. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbfnh1oVTk0
On leaving Cuba last year our flight home to the UK was delayed. We had to wait on the plane for 4 hours. The airport had run out of Jet Fuel A1. So a fuel tanker was dispatched to fetch some. I do hope the US embargo stops before I go again. I'm not fighting American Airlines for the last drop of Jet Fuel !!
The internet is accessible for most people in Cuba. Phone lines are still a rare item for private houses. Many share a local service with business and families using the same web address. Just like we used to - when we shared a public phone. Yes - years ago - I know !
I know this is open to double meaning in this context...but yes, I remember sharing a party line. Leavenworth, KS, 1951. Our number was 779-J and we were #10 of the 12 families on the line. There was a distinct ring for each family...can't remember ours (I was 7 at the time).
Ours was 2 shorts and a long (or was it 2 longs and a short?), also early '50s, Danville, California. It was an idyllic new subdivision in the rolling golden hills, golf course next door and a community pool under the oaks, a short walk from home. It would never have occurred to us that a party line made life any less wonderful.
Many of my Canadian friends travel independently to Cuba. They all stay with these guys -Pinot and Agnia. Too far from Havana to travel but it will give you a taste of what to expect from Casa Particulars. http://www.hostalpinoyagnia.com/
Yes, Rob, that bottom image is scary because you just know a strong wind will knock those homes down. Poor people using what they can find to create a shelter and home. Part of the triumph of a half century of Castro rule.
Wonderful collection Paul. This collection is not to be confused with the Saturday Night Cruisers you see in Florida and other memorabilia shows. But a testament to the ingenuity of Cuban car collectors. The prices of these dinosaurs was in thousands of dollars each. And a will to keep them going forever.
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