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Free room at any radisson tonight. I have a free night that expires tonight if anyone can use it.
August 31, 2016, 05:52:40 PM
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Amazon: $8.91 Osem Bamba Snack, Peanut, 1 Ounce (Pack of 24) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HQDUXTC/?tag=cl03f-20&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
January 04, 2017, 02:43:46 PM
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Re: Manhattan Kosher Restaurants
Good to know. Sandwich is what if not patty?

Pulled (brisket? corned beef? whatever it is, can't remember now), cole slaw, onions, and sauces, all on a burger bun.

Very tasty, but not filling IME.

The burger is all that plus an incredibly delicious (and thick) patty.

January 04, 2017, 11:45:10 PM
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Re: External hard drive Wow! 6TB for $100
January 06, 2017, 01:03:52 AM
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Re: FIJI Natural Artesian Water, 16.9-Ounce Bottles (24-Pack) $11.57 (0.48c Bottle)
Mazal Tov!

but so anticlimactic....Water??
Water is life.

January 06, 2017, 10:19:22 AM
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Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Any eta?

Hoping to have the next segment out pretty soon. My TR backlog is getting ridiculous, it's time I got going :D.

March 06, 2017, 04:35:38 PM
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Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Hoping to have the next segment out pretty soon. My TR backlog is getting ridiculous, it's time I got going :D.

Two more segments pretty much done, just waiting on some small changes. Should hopefully be posted pretty soon.

April 07, 2017, 12:38:01 AM
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Re: Hat Tip Leaderboard So I just opened the most amazingly mind-blowing and, simply put, thirst quenching (from something not so simple!) UPS package.  :D :D :D
(And there's even something to make the wife really really happy :))


Thank you Dan!!!!

April 07, 2017, 05:45:07 PM
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Re: TERRA Blues, Sea Salt, 5 Ounce (Pack of 12) $10.70 (Amazon)
Thought I had read somewhere that they nickel and dimed you and had poor CS. I'll have to revise that mental note I guess.
The exact opposite is true.

April 20, 2017, 05:14:09 PM
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Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Some important notes:

- As with the last segment, this one is split it into two parts, with the second half coming tomorrow.

- Due to the amount of pictures, let your browser fully load before you begin.

- All the pictures are by me, except where indicated otherwise.



[Something Fishy] After a good night's sleep, we were out and about before sunrise to watch Havana wake up.

We headed down Paseo de Marti, the main boulevard that runs from the Capitol and the National Theater to the ocean, and is bisected by a pedestrian walkway:








Turning into a side street, we came across a commentary on the revolution graffitied on a wall:



The sky beginning to brighten:



Early to rise:





Photo by whYME:



Setting up shop, under the ever-watchful eye of Fidel:







Photo by whYME:



In Cuba, does Dora teach kids English?



After a some side-street wanderings, we wanted to head to the Malecon to watch sunrise, but we had gotten disoriented. We were back on Paseo de Marti, but we couldn't figure out if we needed to turn right or left (even though the ocean was very near, the boulevard curved on both ends so we couldn't see very far). A pair of security guards were nearby, so we stepped over to them.

Me, pointing first in one direction, then in the other: "Malecon?"
Guard 1, completely clueless: "Malecon??"
Me: "Malecon!"
Guard 2, looking around hopelessly: "Malecon?"
Me: "Si, Malecon!"

Again, only stares. It's as if these two had never heard of the most famous place in their town, and which is literally three streets away from them.

CITH finally takes out his phone and writes it down for them.

Guard 1: "AH! MaleCON, not MALecon!! Malecon, there!"

Imagine you stop a cop in the middle of Seventh Avenue and ask him which way to Teems Square, but he has no clue what you mean because you didn't say Times Square. Yes, that's the level of genius displayed by these two nincompoops.

Five minutes later, we were at the Malecon MaleCON.

Morro Castle in the pre-dawn light:




First light over Vedado:



And on Old Havana:



Photo by whYME:



The tide was low, so we watched both human and animal getting breakfast.

Crab:




Great white egrets:





Humans. Photo by whYME:



Good catch:



Having some Photoshop fun with early morning traffic:



Havana in a nutshell, photo by whYME:



I remember taking this picture for a specific reason, but for the life of me I can't recall just what that reason was. Let's just assume it was something really profound, and keep it at that :D:



A recently collapsed building:



This crane was just backing in to begin the cleanup. Between the Cyrillic on the boom and the Lada taxi passing by, the whole scene had a very Soviet feel:



Early morning cleanup:



Pretty building, way past its prime:



This guy clearly missed the memo that he should be howling at the moon, not the sunrise:



Not everything has an explanation, sorry. Sometime you just need to accept things in life, such as this farm tractor pulling a... circus? Persian carpet display? A something, though the city:



Sunrise over, we crossed the MaleCON and went back to wandering random alleys.

For some uncanny reason, everyone and everything to come through this alley seemed to match the color scheme perfectly:










Except for this guy, which clashed horribly and made my OCD flare up:



Now that it was properly morning, I had one goal: find a new belt. My pants were still slipping and sliding after last night's wardrobe malfunction on the Malecon, and it was driving me crazy. It wasn't long and we found a couple of stalls selling trinkets to tourists, and lo, one had some belts. It was definitely used and had seen better days, but it fit me and had a working buckle. What more can one ask for?

[whYME] One thing that was very different here than other tourist trinket markets I've been to, it seems the things here were actually locally made, not just the same junk imported from China.

Brightly colored necklaces. Photo by whYME:




Bracelets. Photo by whYME:



Nothing goes to waste in Cuba... Have some old cutlery? Make weird bracelets for the tourists!



Another stall sold hats, where I bought a classic Fidel cap, a Che beret, and a seriously ridiculous-looking fedora, and wore all three since I needed my hands to operate the camera (priorities!).

Photo by whYME:



[whYME] In a way this trip was very different from any other I'd been with Something Fishy. In all the other trips, with the primary focus being landscapes, we pretty much came back with pictures of the same things. Other than differences in composition and such, things were pretty similar. Here in Cuba was another story altogether, as there were many many times when we standing right next to each other but got completely different pictures of completely different subjects. 

For example, after Something Fishy bought his Fidel hat and was busy giving his old cap to a local...




...I got one of my favorite pictures of the trip, a kid sitting nearby and pondering life:



Some lovely colors:





Another crumbling interior:



"Mural CDR #8". CDR is the Cuban secret police, Comités de Defensa de la Revolución. This mural depicts the heros of the revolution: Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Camilo Cienfuegos, along with the yacht Granma that brought the revolutionaries over from Mexico in 1956 to jump start the revolution:



Lovely colors and patinas on some buildings:









Photo by whYME:



A pharmacy:



Pineapples, anyone?



Back on Paseo de Marti, beautiful birds were up for sale:





Big changes are afoot, no doubt. A year earlier this would have been absolutely unthinkable:





We watched the traffic for a while:









Avocados for sale, photo by whYME:



Quite the random decal:



A local playground, in true Havana fashion, locked and deserted. Photo by whYME:



Photo by whYME:



After that it was off to a shop to stock up on more water, and back to the apartment for shachris and breakfast.

Duly fed and watered, we went back outside on a quest: find a taxi to take us to Vinales. As I've mentioned in the introduction, we were hoping to take a day trip to the beautiful Vinales Valley, around two hours from Havana. The plan was - hopefully - to arrive in the area a few hours before sunrise, shoot some astrophotography, sunrise, and early morning activity before heading back to Havana.

So the search was on for a driver who knew the way, was familiar with the valley, had an air-conditioned car (preferably a classic, of course), and was crazy enough to pick us up at 1 in the morning, all for a decent price. Shouldn't be too hard, eh?

We noticed a lovely-looking 1953 Dodge and hung around to take some pictures of it:




[Cat In The Hat] One of SF's many, yet unadvertised, talents is tripping over his own feet ;D. I managed to catch him in mid-air as he was getting up from shooting the back of the car:



As we were shooting, the car's owner walked over to shmooze and find out if we were looking for a taxi. Well whaddya know, we actually are:

"Si! To Vinales!"

Yes, of course, he knows Vinales. Let's go now!

In our terrible mixture of English and broken Spanish, we tried to impress on him that while we did want to go to Vinales, we want to leave at 1 AM, and we need to discuss a price first. After a lot of back and forth negotiations (which included getting into the car to test the air conditioning
[whYME] And that air condtioner was working great, it was like stepping into a freezer.), [Something Fishy] we had a deal: for 120 CUC, he'll pick us up at the apartment at 1 AM, drive and guide us in Vinales, and have us back home at 1 PM.

Or at least we thought that's what we arranged. We had no idea if we were all on the same page, and it wasn't helped by the fact that he clearly couldn't fathom why we'd want to go in the middle of the night.

So there we were, all standing around awkwardly, neither side being quite sure if they understood the other, when suddenly...

"?וואס טוט א איד און קובה"

What???

This was last thing we expected to hear in Cuba, and with a flawless, hiemisha accent no less. We wheeled around to see an elderly Cuban, wearing a black yarmulka and a huge smile on his face.

"!נא? שלום עליכם"

It was like an angel had been sent from Heaven. Five seconds worth of translating from Yiddish to Spanish and the arrangements with the driver were concluded, and we sent him away to go take a long nap while we stayed to schmooze with our new friend, Lazer Shklar.



(I warned you about that hat ;D!)

He was born in Poland, where the Nazis murdered his entire family in the Holocaust. He came to Cuba as a refugee right after the war, all alone in the world, and had stayed on for the last 75 years. He would like to come to New York, but doesn't think it'll ever happen. He did ask for my address and phone number, just in case... He was as religious as possible under the circumstances, and was very upset about the state of the local Jewish community, which far from being religious, is mostly not even Jewish at all due to intermarriage.

He took out his wallet and showed us a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe that he carries everywhere, and which he says reminds him that he'll see his family once again when Moshiach comes.

On that sad note he bid us goodbye, shook hands once more, and slowly walked off.




May 02, 2017, 10:58:49 AM
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