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The Pedestrians' diaries, parts 10 and 11

Days 9 and 10: Sugar beaches and the General's gun

Image: Photo of cars parked outside a hamburger stand in Varadero.

Excuses: the day job, other writing, selecting photos, an internet outage, real life ...

All true, all inadequate. But here we are at last, come to the end of our Cuban adventures.

Click here for Day 9: Varadero Sands, our last full day in Cuba.

And here for Day 10: Adios to Cuba, in which I encounter a General and his gun.

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The Pedestrians' diaries, part 9

Day 8: Last night in Havana

Image: Photo of the liquor shelf at the 'grocery store' across from our casa particular in Varadero.

Our last morning in Havana was our first evening in Varadero.

We learned that Cuba pumps oil on the sea shore, that good food isn't restricted to Santa Clara and Havana, and that we both looked forward to, and dreaded, the impending end of our journey.

Click here for Day 8: A hovel in the lap of luxury.

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The Pedestrians' diaries, part 8

Day 7: Last night in Havana

Image: Photo of Young Geoffrey with painting of Fidel Castro in Old Havana.

Our third full day in Havana was also our last; in the morning, we ship out to the beaches of Varadero.

But today? Today we returned to Habana vieja, riding instead of walking, visiting old forts, old streets and old cars.

Click here for Day 7: Cocotaxi, Habana Vieja & a '56 Ford Fairlane, and don't forget to play the video!

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The Pedestrians' diaries, part 7

Day 6: Havana by day, Havana by night

Image: Photo of yellow car, stripped or under repair near Calle Neptuno, Havana.

My Cuban diary continues, with our second full day in Havana.

As with the first, we walked, and we walked and we walked. No soldiers this time, but a shuttered Capitolio, the Old City, really scary street-food and Chinatown (yes, Chinatown!).

Click here for Day 6: Stormy weather on the Malecón.

Cuba: Day 5

Jan. 7th, 2016 07:04 pm
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The Pedestrians' diaries, part 6

Day 5: Soldiers on duty!

Image: Photo of El monumento Jose Miguel Gomez from the south, in Havana, Cuba.

My Cuban diary continues, with a report from our first full day in Havana.

Walking, walking, walking, we encountered smog and soldiers and monuments galore. And also, found ourselves back that the Viazul station, almost by accident.

Click here for Day 5: Schlepping in Havana (less politics, more pictures!).

Cuba: Day 4

Jan. 6th, 2016 02:11 pm
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The Pedestrians' diaries, part 5

Day 4: Adios! Santa Clara (Havana ho!)

Image: Photo of rear of statue of Che Guevara atop his Mausoleum in Santa Clara, Cuba.

January 6, 2016, OTTAWA — Life and work have got in the way of things. But here at last is the fifth entry (for the fourth day) of my Cuba diary.

The travellers come to Havana at last (and buy a pair of shorts)!

Click here for Day 4: Shopping in Havana.

Cuba: Day 3

Jan. 1st, 2016 01:26 pm
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Cuba: Notes from behind the Coffee Curtain

Day 3: Che sera, sera

The Note that wasn't

Image: Photo of Parc Vidal in Santa Clara, Cuba

My diary for Day 3 is a bit of a cheat. I over-wrote the original and was forced to reconstruct it from memory and visual aids (ie, photos).

But I remember the day pretty well. We had our first introductions to the realities of Cuban bureaucracies and the limitations on freedom that Cubans have to deal with. We also spent time at the Che Guevara mausoleum and rode home in a horse-drawn taxi — no calèche, but a humble cart.

Click here for Day 3: Che sera, sera.

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Cuba: Notes from behind the Coffee Curtain

Day 2: The chickens cats streets of Santa Clara

p>December 15, SANTA CLARA, Cuba — Our first full day in Santa Clara included a fuck-ton of walking, the worst spaghetti in the world, Che's cat, a yellow T-Rex, urban chickens and the most laid-back cops I've ever seen. Also horses and really dirty air.

And if all that isn't enough, I'll leave you with a gratuitous shot of Che's Cat, a mere sample of the pic-spam you'll also be missing if you don't click through!

The Streets of Santa Clara!

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Cuba: Notes from behind the Coffee Curtain

Day 1: A jet plane, a Lada and food! Glorious food!

p>December 15, SANTA CLARA, Cuba — The flight lasted only three and a half hours, delivering two Canadians from an un-naturally warm late autumn to sub-tropical heat. It seems also to have landed us in a world that Time has almost forgotten.

A blurry cellphone photo of the Aeropuerto Abel Santamaria, just after we de-planed.
The Aeropurto Abel Santamaria on the outskirts of Santa Clara, Cuba, taken just after we de-planed.

Our first day (or rather, evening) in Cuba began with lost luggage and a terrifying ride in a Lada (a Soviet-made knock-off of an Italian car) at least 40 years old. It ended with a lizard on the wall and fantastic meal in our bellies. The full report is here. Comment here or there, as you like (if you feel like commenting at all, that is).

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Cuba: Notes from behind the Coffee Curtain

A Canadian abroad: Memories of Cuba

December 27, OTTAWA — I imagine the word Cuba brings to mind all manner of things. To the historically-minded, it could be the Bay of Pigs, or the Cuban Missile Crisis. To the romantic, bearded Che and Fidel emerging from the jungles to over-throw the gangster dictator Batista. To automobile-aficionados, it is vast fleets of ancient Detroit steel and chrome still rolling. Even agronomists and ecologists have an interest, since Cuba is the first country to successfully transition from a "modern" industrial agricultural system to a more-or-less organic system.


A cop in Santa Clara talks with a woman. His relaxed body-language was pretty typical of those we saw in uniform during our visit.

Geopolitics was what first came to mind when I thought of that Caribbean island, but now that I have actually visited, the reality of people and places has pushed the abstract to the back of the bus. And what a reality!

Nine days don't make me an expert, but I think the experience was worth writing about — and worth reading.

A brief introduction to The Pedestrian's Diaries is here. If you hate introductions, the first full entry, Security theatre of the absurd is here.

Comments welcome here or there, as always.

Whoa!

Dec. 25th, 2015 02:38 am
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Was in Cuba for nigh on a fortnight, now back some 28 hours, including sleep and "Christmas" dinner at the pater's.

Much to say, but not now. So will leave you with a photo and promise of a travelogue to come. It'll be worth it.

Merry Christmas! (That's a statue of Che G on the pedestal below the rainbow, stage left; and that's a live Young G just right of centre near the bottom. No rainbow and don't take geography for politics.)

 

 

Young Geoffrey

P.S. I have no idea what I intended the now-deleted sentence above to mean. The rainbow was, in fact, very real and it hung around for quite a while, as if begging us to take multiple pictures of it blessing Che's statue. Which of course we did.

April 2017

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