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DansDeals Forum => Trip Reports => Topic started by: Something Fishy on August 15, 2016, 02:04:50 AM

Title: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on August 15, 2016, 02:04:50 AM
This trip report will be in a similar format as the recent Icelandic one (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=54461.0), with me doing the bulk of the writing and whYME and Cat In The Hat adding their thoughts, pictures, and commentary. As with Iceland, color coding will help maintain an easy flow.

So without further ado, here it goes.


Photo by Something Fishy:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/1/775/20442423363_c67cd16c5a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/x9qLge)


Photo by whYME:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8007/28743427986_3a266e0932_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KMXzJA)


Photo by Cat In The Hat:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8750/28754847766_3e273bb5cf_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KNY7rm)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on August 15, 2016, 02:05:39 AM
[Something Fishy] Like many, I've always had a powerful urge to document and photograph that forbidden and mysterious island, Cuba. So close, yet so far. A mere 90 miles from the United States, Cuba has been off-limits to US citizens since President Kennedy imposed a complete trade embargo in 1960. While non-Americans have always been able to visit, for U.S. citizens it's always been an out of reach dream. Technically, the issue is not traveling; that's allowed. The problem is spending money there. The Treasury Department - whose responsibility it is to enforce the embargo - (rightfully) claims that it's impossible to go to Cuba and not spend money, ergo you may not travel there.

For many years now there has been a list of 12 allowed categories, which allowed you to visit Cuba if you fit into one of them. For example, visiting immediate family in Cuba, doing research, humanitarian, or journalistic work, and so on. The loophole that allowed ultra-expensive group tours to go was the "People-to-People" cultural exchange category. In such a case, you must remain with the tour group at all times, and you were only allowed to do "approved cultural activities" - take a salsa class, meet schoolchildren, and so on. For decades, this was the only legal way to visit Cuba as a tourist.

But by early 2015, big changes were afoot. In January, it was announced that travel restrictions will be somewhat eased; in July, President Obama would announce the renewal of diplomatic relationships with Cuba and the imminent mutual opening of embassies. The important part - for me - was the news that going forward, U.S. citizens could self-certify an affidavit that they belong to one of the 12 categories, throwing the journalistic window wide open. In the past you needed to have a legitimate press card, assignment, and Treasury Department approval to get the waiver. Now, you could sign a piece of paper and be good to go.

I instantly bestowed upon myself the title of DDF Travel Writer, declared that I'll be writing a trip report, and began planning this trip ;D.

With restrictions easing, I know it was just a matter of time before direct flights from the U.S. were announced, and business opportunities opened. It wouldn't take long before there was a McDonalds and Starbucks on every corner, and the last vestiges of the Cuban time capsule were erased. Unquestionably, the time to go was now.

Not all was smooth sailing, though. I discovered a more formidable foe than the U.S. Government, in the form of my wife ;D. She absolutely, flat-out, refused to go to Cuba. It didn't interest her as a destination, it was kinda dangerous (Alan Gross had just been released after being held for five years in a Cuban prison), and the fact that the trip was only quasi-legal didn't help either.

That Shabbos, we were invited for a meal by Cat In The Hat. CITH is a good friend of mine, who has come with me on multiple photography trips (see my Wyoming (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=3076.msg556928#msg556928) and Maine (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=1063.msg123927#msg123927) TRs for example). I convinced him to create an account before this trip, but he's not very active here on DDF. Like me, he'd harbored a long burning Cuba bug, and was mightily excited about the recent news. During this Shabbos meal, we were discussing the fact that neither of our wives are remotely interested in going, when the ladies exchanged an exasperated look and said in unison, "If you two want to go so badly then go together! Just leave us out of this."

And just like that, the trip was on ;D.

I can neither confirm nor deny that this Shabbos meal was all collusion between CITH and I :-X.

As soon as Shabbos was over, I called whYME - who I knew was itching to go to Cuba as well - with the good news that the trip is likely a reality. It didn't take ten seconds and I had him - once again - hooked on a Photo DO :D.

[whYME] Well I was hooked in seconds, but let's just say my discussion about it with my wife didn't go quite as planned. "CUBA?! No, not Cuba. Anywhere but Cuba!" Apparently she had also been reading about Alan Gross and was convinced that if I went to Cuba I would be spending the next ten years in a Gulag. And thus began a convince-my-wife-that-Cuba-is-safe campaign. One morning during this time my wife showed me a news story, that there had been a stabbing not 200 feet from our front door during the night.She looked at me strangely when I burst out laughing at this news, so I showed her a Whatsapp Something Fishy had sent me the night before that I needed to tell her that Cuba is safer than Crown Heights (https://emoji.tapatalk-cdn.com/emoji23.png). Eventually she was convinced that Cuba is safe enough (well, as long as you're not smuggling in illegal telecommunication devices) and I was given the OK to go.

To this day I wonder if maybe instead of pushing Cuba I should've taken advantage of "anywhere but cuba" and leveraged it for something bigger. Like maybe Antarctica? (https://emoji.tapatalk-cdn.com/emoji13.png).

[Something Fishy] With the group finalized, it was time to find flights. At the time there were no flights between the U.S. and Cuba, save for a few uber-expensive charters. We needed to find a roundabout routing, preferably using miles. After a ton of research, it seemed that the best available options were on Aeromexico via MEX or CUN using DL miles, AC via YYZ in rev (AC does not allow point redemptions on that flight), or Copa (CM) via PTY using *A miles. With DL wanting around a trillion miles plus one (1) firstborn son, and AC wanting real, actual money (horrors!), CM was looking the most attractive.

Right away though we began hitting roadblocks. United.poop wasn't showing a single flight to Havana - even on partners -, likely because they themselves weren't allowed to fly there. On the phone, every agent insisted that even though they can see the availability, they cannot book it. Trying United's Mexican office, they were able to book it, but not on points. After a whole lot of trial and error, we discovered that if you manually select to show only Copa flights on Avianca's Lifemiles site, you could force it to show availability. Once we found the flights we wanted, we discovered that SQ will be more than happy to issue the tickets for us.

So after a week of headaches, CITH and I had the following in hand for 60K SQ + $86.48 in J:

Sun., 8/16: CM831 JFK-PTY, 3:05p – 7:37p
--- 1:58 connection ---
Sun., 8/16: CM230 PTY-HAV, 9:35p – 1:10a, +1
 
Thu., 8/20: CM321 HAV-PTY, 8:47a – 10:26a
--- 11:08 connection ---
Thu., 8/20: CM808 PTY-JFK, 9:34p – 3:45a, +1

[whYME] I had a bit more trouble here. I was unsure whether I would want to fly from BOS or JFK, so I wasn't quite ready to book yet when they were booking. Ultimately I decided I would fly from BOS and return to JFK. But by the time I was ready to book, the PTY-JFK that the other guys were on was no longer available, so I booked one for the following morning hoping that the other flight would open up.

My booking looked like this, for 60K SQ + $91.63 in J:

Sun., 8/16: CM312 BOS-PTY, 9:26a – 2:18p
--- 7:17 connection ---
Sun., 8/16: CM230 PTY-HAV, 9:35p – 1:10a, +1
 
Thu., 8/20: CM321 HAV-PTY, 8:47a – 10:26a
--- 23:06 connection ---
Fri., 8/21: CM830 PTY-JFK, 7:41a – 1:50p

Wed., 4/20/16: UA631 EWR-SFO (threw in the free stopover)

I would be arriving in PTY 5+ hours before the other guys, and if I couldn't get on their flight for the return, spending an extra night there.

[Something Fishy] The final routing (yellow) was slightly bonkers, as we would be going nearly 2.5x the distance as JFK-HAV direct (blue). But if this was the price to pay, so be it. On the upside, this routing gave us a full day to explore Panama on the way home.

(http://www.gcmap.com/map?P=color:blue,+jfk-hav,+color:yellow,+bos-pty,+jfk-pty-hav-pty-jfk&MS=bm&MR=240&MX=540x540&PM=b:disc7%2b%25N)

With flights sorted and out of the way, it was time to find a place to sleep.

There are two main lodging options in Cuba: hotels or what's called a casa particular. Up until around ten years ago, no Cuban was allowed to engage in any sort of private enterprise; everyone worked in government factories, government groceries, and so on. But the Castros have slowly been opening up limited economic opportunities for citizens, and among the first reforms was that people were now able to rent out their houses or rooms to others. This created a market where private people were able to put up tourists in their homes, which got dubbed casa particulars (Hipster Cuba did vacation rentals before it was cool, apparently).

Looking at hotels, we found an incredibly limited selection, split pretty evenly between $150/night hole-in-the-walls and $500/night ultra-fancy places. With neither option being very appealing, we decided to take a casa. Luckily for us, Airbnb had just announced (http://blog.airbnb.com/cuba/) that they're beginning operations in Cuba, with over 1000 casas available from the get-go.

It didn't take long and we found an ideal place (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/6016869): it was in the heart of Old Havana, all of 100 feet from the national capitol building ("El Capitolio"), it looked nice and clean, and most importantly, it had AC. The listing even claimed that there was Wi-Fi, a true rarity in Cuba. It cost $39/night, which worked out to the princely sum of $13 per person. The booking process was a little different than usual, as Airbnb would not confirm the stay until everyone in the party filled out the affidavit through a special link they sent us. Other than that, the booking was perfectly painless; it was just like booking a place in the U.S.

The food situation was more complicated. Officially, the only food allowed in (other than dry goods, like bread, crackers, and the like) was "canned tuna from a recognized national brand". We never did figure out who decides what's well known and what isn't, but we did know that we're not taking any chances smuggling forbidden items into a totalitarian communist dictatorship...

The big question was what - if anything - could be bought locally. Obviously, there would be zero kosher food, but we were hoping to be able to drink something other than water and maybe get some local produce as well. The problem was that when searching online, half the internet claimed that there were fruit and vegetable carts all over town, while the other half insisted that they weren't able to find a single piece of produce.

Turns out a colleague of mine had gone to Cuba a year before on a cultural exchange program, so I want downstairs to find out what I could expect to buy locally. According to him, there was produce easily available, as well as Coke products. Two bits of good news - I just hoped that he was right.

In the end, we brought along rolls and wraps, PB&J, Tradition soups, granola bars, and tons of snacks (rugalech, chocolate, nosh, things like that). For protein, we took a mountain of tuna from Chicken of the Sea, hoping against hope that it was "national brand" enough for Cuban customs :(. [whYME] I personally was willing to take the risk that the heimishe tuna was"national brand" enough for Cuban customs so I went with that. Supplemented with local fruits and veggies, it wasn't looking too bad after all.

The visa situation was unclear as well. In the U.S., plenty of tour companies are happy to sell you a visa for $85, but only if you fly with them. Flying on our own, it was unclear how and when to obtain it. After much research, it appeared that they sell it at the airport in Panama for all of ten bucks.

Transportation-wise, we would be using taxis. Renting a car is possible, but the cost is exorbitant, the roads in pathetic condition, and the cars garbage. Most importantly, by Cuban law, if you're involved on a motor vehicle accident, you are not allowed to leave the country until the case is settled, which could take months. The fact that the bulk of the taxis are lovely classic American cars didn't hurt that decision either.

Our itinerary for the trip was purposely left very fluid. Even though Cuba is a fairly popular spot for Canadian and European tourists, there was a surprising dearth of practical info available online. Being that the goal of this trip was to photograph and document everyday life in Cuba, our plan consisted of basically wandering around Old Havana, observing, shooting, and interacting with the locals.

Many visitors to Cuba go to more than just Havana. The beaches of Varedero are legendary, but being that we were on a journalistic licence we weren't allowed to go to beaches (and as it turned out, we could've gotten into serious trouble upon return had we taken bathing suits along. But that story will have to wait ;D). Another popular option is to fly to Trinidad de Cuba, but it was too similar to Havana to interest us much, plus the timing simply didn't work out.

In the end I discovered Vinales. Supposedly a two-hour drive from Havana, this is real, rural Cuba. This is prime tobacco-growing country, and of astounding natural beauty. Hopefully, we'll find a taxi driver who could take us there for the day for a change of pace and scenery.

Finally, the plans were made, the paperwork filled out in triplicate, and I promised my wife - again - to try and stay out of trouble and out of jail.

We were ready to travel back in time.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on August 15, 2016, 02:32:43 AM
I feel like instead of "Viva La Revolución!" maybe the title should've been "agua fría" :))
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on August 15, 2016, 02:37:55 AM
I feel like instead of "Viva La Revolución!" maybe the title should've been "agua fría" :))

Or "MELecon!"

ETA: We gotta stop with these inside jokes or we're gonna get stoned here ;D. @Everyone else: this TR will be substantially faster than the Iceland one, so rest assured that you'll understand the meaning of these corny jokes before too long.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: yakrot on August 15, 2016, 03:23:25 AM
Sweet waiting for the rest...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on August 15, 2016, 03:52:16 AM
Sitting on the edge...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moishebatchy on August 15, 2016, 04:47:25 AM
I hope Fishy and whYME did something on the trip to piss off C.I.T.H; like this, the next episode could be titled "Revenge of the Cith".  ;D
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on August 15, 2016, 05:55:43 AM
Golden pen!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: benjie1305 on August 15, 2016, 07:05:38 AM
I hope Fishy and whYME did something on the trip to piss off C.I.T.H; like this, the next episode could be titled "Revenge of the Cith".  ;D

Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Ergel on August 15, 2016, 07:40:03 AM
Awesome. The reason why you won't find any information on traveling to Cuba from Canadians is that they all go on all inclusive programs to sit on the beach, drink and smoke pot for a week.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yaalili on August 15, 2016, 07:47:49 AM
Awesome start, can't wait for more.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: tageed-lee on August 15, 2016, 08:24:15 AM
Amazing picture tease! Looking forward to the rest.... Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Super Speed on August 15, 2016, 08:36:33 AM
Awesome read!!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: @Yehuda on August 15, 2016, 09:53:33 AM
Very enjoyable. Keep it coming!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Dawie on August 15, 2016, 10:48:47 AM
[Something Fishy]

Not all was smooth sailing, though. I discovered a more formidable foe than the U.S. Government, in the form of my wife ;D. She absolutely, flat-out, refused to go to Cuba. It didn't interest her as a destination,

smart woman ;-)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: yoruel on August 15, 2016, 11:18:08 AM
Golden pen!
If you ever need a Journal License, there are many here that can vouch for you. Great RR.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: stbaum on August 15, 2016, 01:59:13 PM
i was almost having withdrawal symptoms now that the Iceland trip is over. so glad i have this to look forward to! at least this time i won't feel super cold for you guys  ;)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on August 15, 2016, 03:30:00 PM
Wow, nice start to what I expect to be a very interesting TR, especially due to the lack of online information. Looking forward!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Aaaron on August 15, 2016, 03:37:42 PM
Was waiting for this one!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Luvtotravel on August 15, 2016, 03:43:26 PM
never one to idle, eh? so glad this ones on a roll already!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: bznt on August 16, 2016, 12:26:21 AM
How do they maintain these old Cars ? Parts , bulbs,
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on August 16, 2016, 12:29:49 AM
Thanks everyone, already hard at work on the next sections.

Awesome. The reason why you won't find any information on traveling to Cuba from Canadians is that they all go on all inclusive programs to sit on the beach, drink and smoke pot for a week.

Sad. It's a wonderful place to visit, to meet and mingle with the locals. What a waste to go and just klutz.

How do they maintain these old Cars ? Parts , bulbs,

I'll get into that later in the report, but the quick answer is that these cars are pretty much all Frankensteins, with random parts from all over cobbled together.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: LoLo on August 16, 2016, 01:01:10 AM
How do they maintain these old Cars ? Parts , bulbs,
https://youtu.be/NcC0asQ8zlU
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on August 16, 2016, 01:02:43 AM
https://youtu.be/NcC0asQ8zlU

...Aaaaand there goes my night. Thanks a lot >:(.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on August 16, 2016, 01:09:26 AM
...Aaaaand there goes my night. Thanks a lot >:( .
+1
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on August 16, 2016, 01:13:00 AM
https://youtu.be/NcC0asQ8zlU

Great line
"This is just a taxi parking area. In the States this would be a car show."
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on August 16, 2016, 09:45:39 AM
smart woman ;-)

That is true, but she was wrong about Cuba. We only got arrested once.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: 3yummyboys on August 16, 2016, 10:05:46 AM
That is true, but she was wrong about Cuba. We only got arrested once.

That's just plain mean
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: bznt on August 16, 2016, 01:14:54 PM
Identify yourselves, who is s.f. whyme and ciht in the clip ?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on August 17, 2016, 03:31:00 PM
[Something Fishy] Unlike a regular photography trip, this time we needed to go small and light on the camera gear. There were a couple of reasons for this:

With that in mind, I settled on the following gear:

[whYME] Having made the switch to the dark side before Iceland (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=54461.msg1266491#msg1266491), I was also on Nikon.

[Cat In The Hat] I shoot Canon, so my gear was slightly different:
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: stbaum on August 17, 2016, 03:40:26 PM
  • Oben CT-3520 carbon fiber travel tripod with a BB-1T head. Small and light, it has a detachable monopod as well, which, combined with a GoPro gimbal, comprised my FishyStickTM.

for those (like me) that wonder:

Side note: Selfie sticks are now banned from all PhotoDOs, with violators getting dunked in the nearest body of water (bonus points if the water in question is the Arctic Ocean (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=44320.msg1390908#msg1390908) - take note, Chaim'l).

An exception is made for truly epic selfie sticks, such as my own:

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1460/24262081723_dedea0678b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Rs2p8C)
(FishyStickTM in action at the Cuba PhotoDO)

[Chaim'l] Interesting, the guy in the middle holding the selfie stick looks a lot like SF... Or was that a "FishyStickTM"?

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1645/24904266512_3d99140fdf_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/129901934@N03/Je69S2)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on August 17, 2016, 03:50:15 PM
for those (like me) that wonder:

LOL,  thanks ;D.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: aradisc on August 17, 2016, 07:53:50 PM
Hope you guys maxed out your $100 US Customs allowance of rum/cigars!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on August 17, 2016, 09:29:06 PM
Hope you guys maxed out your $100 US Customs allowance of rum/cigars!

And more. Turns out the lady will write you a receipt for $100 and sell you whatever you like ;).
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yaalili on August 17, 2016, 11:09:43 PM
And more. Turns out the lady will write you a receipt for $100 and sell you whatever you like ;).

Lol :)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: LoLo on August 17, 2016, 11:27:26 PM
And more. Turns out the lady will write you a receipt for $100 and sell you whatever you like ;).
Public forum alert..
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: stbaum on September 09, 2016, 08:41:30 AM
So you just gonna leave us hanging, I guess
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on September 09, 2016, 09:41:58 AM
So you just gonna leave us hanging, I guess

Paging whYME ... The next segment is done from my part.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on September 09, 2016, 10:42:18 AM
Paging whYME ... The next segment is done from my part.
Great. Now I'll actually need to write something of substance
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on September 10, 2016, 10:14:46 PM
Great. Now I'll actually need to write something of substance

We're all waiting...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: ChAiM'l on September 11, 2016, 06:48:21 AM
Yeah, how long does it take to write a TR already?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on September 11, 2016, 11:03:55 PM
Paging whYME ...

BUMP
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on September 12, 2016, 11:41:12 PM
Working on the next part while whYME finishes up... So far I've culled the pictures I want to use from over 250 to 187 :o. And that's before videos and GIFs. This is gonna be a beast, I'm afraid.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: shulem92 on September 13, 2016, 12:03:43 AM
Working on the next part while whYME finishes up... So far I've culled the pictures I want to use from over 250 to 187 :o. And that's before videos and GIFs. This is gonna be a beast, I'm afraid.
Just post them all, I can't believe anyone will be upset at you :)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: akivak on September 13, 2016, 12:26:56 AM
Can't wait!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Dawie on October 06, 2016, 11:46:59 AM
...If one of those bottles should happen to fall, what a waste of alcohol.

98 bottles of beer on the wall, 98 bottles of beer...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on October 06, 2016, 01:35:20 PM


Ooh, shots fired ;D

(https://media3.giphy.com/media/KBfKueAjIJV8Q/giphy.gif)

But like I said...

Paging whYME ... The next segment is done from my part.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: a mirrer on November 02, 2016, 10:04:45 AM
Paging whYME ...
Bump
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: iAm on November 02, 2016, 11:45:04 AM
I'm headed to Cuba at the end of this month. Any chance you can make an effort to somewhat complete this before Thanksgiving?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: enwhycee on November 02, 2016, 12:14:08 PM
Great thread!

Heading there in early December.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 13, 2016, 02:42:51 AM
[whYME] Sunday, 4:00 am. After having spent Shabbos on Cape Cod I was now an hour and a half drive from the airport. I still wanted to stop at Walmart for some last minute supplies and needed to return my rental car, so it's time to hit the road.

7:15 am. After a longer-than-I-wanted stop at Walmart and returning the rental car I was finally at the Copa check-in counter. Overall it went smoothly, although I did have to wait 15 minutes while they copied my affidavit that certified that I'm going as a journalist. I should've listened to Something Fishy and brought along 3 copies, but alas when will I learn...

Now it was time to daven shacharis and I needed a quiet place to do that. I had discovered the night before that the only lounge there wouldn't be open until the afternoon... Apparently it was silly of me to think that between Amex plat, priority pass, united club, and the AA exec card I'd be able to find a lounge pretty much anywhere. Well apparently not in BOS terminal E .

Oh well, it was still rather empty at the gate area so I didn't get too many funny looks while davening.

Once onboard I finally slept a little. While Copa's business class wasn't lie-flat, it sure beat coach. After a couple of hours I woke up to a delicious breakfast of frozen-solid lox, cold couscous, and (surprisingly!) hot chicken:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5655/22946677507_6ca08417fa_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/E771nx)

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5651/30719257651_d04175fe04_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/0m59Q2)

Over Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5612/30690795812_281ab06fc3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/0v185u)

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5640/30719259701_d2df811545_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/E0DXka)

Approaching Panama, the ocean was full of canal traffic:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5790/30176161714_d70b2e267e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/Z89kz2)

The Pacific end of the Panama Canal. The Miraflores locks are visible in the top right corner:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5745/30771316976_29412cf555_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/7o2m6Z)

Panama City:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5469/30176160714_7cd632810a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/1x5d8Z)

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5581/30771315626_8136e196de_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/b6pGj1)

There was one bit of unfinished business: we needed to get our visas for Cuba. We knew we could get these in the PTY airport but were unsure exactly where, and if it was airside or landside (info on the internet was contradictory). Since I was scheduled to arrive far earlier than the others and had a long layover, it was my job to find the visa desk.

As soon as I landed in Panama I headed off to find the visas. Fortunately, it didn't take too long. I Found the desk (airside), handed them $20, and was given the visa. I was also told that the visas could be bought at the departure gate as well, so this would make it easy on the other guys. (In hindsight I shoulda gotten 3 then...)

By the time I made it out of the airport I had about 5 1/2 hours until I had to be back to meet up with the other guys and catch the flight to HAV, I figured I'd take a trip over to Panama Viejo (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/panama/panama-city/attractions/panama-viejo/a/poi-sig/432932/358509) and try and get some pics there.

I think it was around this time that I realized I had forgotten to stop at an ATM on the way to BOS airport to get cash for PTY. I had plenty of cash to exchange in HAV, but I had forgotten to get some for PTY.

Off to the nearest ATM, insert card, type PIN, get ca- nope, PIN not accepted. Try several more times, nothing doing. Find another ATM, still no luck.

Eventually I gave up and went to find a taxi who will take credit cards. After a few minutes I found one and we set out for Panama Viejo, just over 20 minutes away.

View from the road:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5634/30771314006_967c35f980_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/M74680)

The sail-shaped building to the left is our dear president-elect's Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower, and is the YUUUUUGEST biglyest tallest building in Panama, and everybody loves it, believe me:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5503/30176159404_a718b57bc7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/b6pGj1)

Many random things were painted in outrageously colored art, such as these cones around a sidewalk cafe:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5621/30176158704_a2c1e93fce_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/66X3Xj)

This mural:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5786/30506945020_ebde0b876e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/5V9721)

And a whole bunch of what appeared to be hot-rodded school buses being used for public transportation, which I later found out are the now-almost-extinct Diablo Rojos -Red Devils (https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/panamas-red-devils).)

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5580/30690799662_d1eb9ddbf3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/08eGCU)

After about 35 minutes and we're still driving, we arrived at... Casco Viejo (http://cascoviejo.com/). Panama Viejo, Casco Viejo, whatever - I guess it all sounds the same when a gringo says it...

Casco Viejo is the old historic district of Panama city. While it is kinda interesting there, it's kind of a very very watered down version of HAV. Kinda pointless if you're on the way to HAV but still beats sitting in the lounge for 5 hours:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5540/30176157734_8035e58520_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/18km92)

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5522/30176156354_05edee54dc_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/847YMj)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5752/30771308936_7735584f95_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/D9j17p)

Whaddya know, they actually sell Panama hats in Panama!

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5555/30771313316_07e47eec72_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/7MVg90)

What be this quaint curiosity?

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5457/30690801302_713e891184_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/4Zg85z)

One more view of the city, particularly the Punta Paitilla and Punta Pacifica neighborhoods, from Casco Viejo:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5523/30771311736_29d2efcf32_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/52q5nB)

One upside of going to Casco Viejo was that the Punta Paitilla neighborhood with its many kosher food options was on the way back to the airport, so I stopped by Pita Plus. I don't know if my eyes were just bigger than my stomach or I knew this would be my last real meal until I left Cuba, but I may have over-ordered a bit.

I got some very good chicken fingers:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5490/30719267661_4a4c7432a8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/5nrFp9)

An excellent double burger:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5762/30690797982_1dc6cd236f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/7n98Ao)

And of course there's the salad bar that came with it:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5695/30719262351_7d891bc34f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/kow50U)

By now it was getting late. time to head back to the airport and meet the guys...

[Something Fishy] While whYME was cavorting around Panama, CITH and I headed to JFK together, and went straight to the Copa priority check-in lane. Right away the troubles started.

Check-in agent: What is this? You can't go to Cuba.
Me: Yes I can.
Agent: No you can't.
Me: Yes I can. Here's my journalism license.
Agent: Let's see your visa.
Me: I don't have one yet. The visa gets picked up in Panama.
Agent: No it doesn't.
Me: Yes it does.
Agent: I'm not gonna let you board.

At this point I'm boiling mad. By Fidel's scratchy old beard, no way this clueless agent on a power trip is going to deny me boarding. Trying to remain calm (outwardly, at least) I firmly but politely asked for her supervisor.

After a five minute wait, the supervisor shows up. She listens to both sides of the situation, looks at the agent as if she's retarded, and prints out all our boarding passes.

Whew!

We made it to the gate just a few minutes to spare (no time for the lounge today) and boarded. The first thing that struck me is that the plane is basically a United 737. Everything looked the same - the seats, the decor, even the Copa logo. Turns out that United had held a 49% stake in Copa till recently. In fact, it was only a month before this trip that Copa announced their own FFP, breaking off from United's Mileage Plus program.

We headed to seats 2A and B, which were basically UA domestic F seats. Not too terrible, mind you - wide enough, a fair amount of legroom, and semi-decent recline. For a 5.5 hour flight it wasn't too shabby. We got settled, get a pre-departure drink (in a glass! - Copa 1, United 0), and off we went:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8344/28935695821_1a4c6ed5fc_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/dw619p)

Somewhere over the Caribbean, a thunderstorm forming:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8477/28906822062_a4a996f4eb_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/nQ3291)

Airshow - nearly there:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8084/28978999386_8314314747_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/GK1P6M)

Why can't all airlines have this? It's so simple, yet so helpful: a list of connecting flights and their gates. First one on the list is us - Jose Marti international Airport:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/9/8230/28935654681_c5ccd921f5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/h189Z6)

Before we knew it, we landed in Panama City. We headed to the lounge, where we had made up to meet whYME, who hopefully had found the visa desk. Before long he showed up with the welcome news that we could get the visa at the departing gate. After a short stay in the lounge we were off again, and the visa duly purchased:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/9/8348/28935649161_b1a76fd5bb_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8TXc40)

This is really happening:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8512/28394799843_f3c82aa1a5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Y5De2P)

Finally, at about 1 in the morning, we began our descent into Havana. My first impression of the airport was that it looked just as modern and normal as a regular first-world airport, but the overall mood was absolutely grim. Armed soldiers stood every few feet, silently watching.  It was clear that we were not in Kansas anymore.

Before clearing customs, we were corralled into a side area and handed forms to fill out. We had to state that we were not smuggling anything on a long list of contraband, including GPS devices (smartphones were fine), communications equipment, kitchen appliances (come again?), and – ahem – certain types of videos and magazines. There was also a space where we had to list every electronic item we are carrying. There wasn’t nearly enough room for us to list everything, so we just generically wrote “cameras and lenses” and hoped that would be fine.

Filling out this form, we got our first indication that in Cuba, no one – even the government-owned airport – has everything they need. Here we were, a couple of hundred passengers, tasked with filling out a long and tedious form on plain printer paper, in a large, square, and empty room - with not a single counter, table, or anything of the sort. It felt like this, but with none of the cool factor:

(http://i.giphy.com/13uInxupYYtNf2.gif)

In the end everyone lined up against the wall and awkwardly did the paperwork.

Off it was to collect our bags and customs. Before the US travel changes had been implemented, Cuban customs officials knew not to stamp an American passport. Now however, there were reports that they will stamp, upon request. So when my agent stamped my visa instead of my passport, I politely asked him to stamp my passport as well. By look I received in return, you’d think I had asked him to help me smuggle a toaster oven or something horrid like that. Oh well, I definitely wasn’t going to argue with him. At least he didn’t ask any questions, other than the typical how long are you here for and where are you staying at.

[whYME] I got a little luckier. Apparently my agent had gotten the memo that some Americans now want their passports stamped and was happy to oblige.

[Something Fishy] But we weren’t done yet… next stop: the X-ray. Everything – bag, suitcase, whatever – was getting X-rayed. The military was manning the machines, giving the whole process a very creepy vibe. Duly zapped, we collected our bags and took them to yet another security checkpoint…  this time agents spot checking bags by hand.

whYME and CITH were ahead of me, and got waved through. Not wanting to get stuck with a long and annoying search, I sidled up alongside them and nonchalantly tried to pass through, but was unceremoniously stopped by an angry soldier.

I will tell you when to go through, don’t you dare try to go through yourself!” He glares at me for five seconds. “Now you could go through!”

Okaaaay ….

Now that we were officially not an enemy of the state it was time to meet up with our host, who had promised to be waiting for us with a taxi. Following the flow of people, we left the secure area and easily spotted Alexander, holding up a bit of cardboard with... my wife's name on it. I had forgotten that I had used her Airbnb account for the booking, and now Alexander was utterly bemused. He was expecting one woman; what he got instead were three very large, very bearded men, carrying a mountain of luggage. He started hemming and hawing about the taxi, and a minute later we saw why. In front of the airport sat a microscopic Hyundai - so small it didn't even come in a US version. The taxi driver was looking helplessly from the three of us to Alexander and back, then called him over and went into a huddle.

While the two of them tried to figure out how to get us all inside (there were no other taxis around that time of the night, so a second car wasn't an option), whYME went to exchange some money at the booth outside the airport.

As you can see, the airport looked fairly nice and modern:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8002/29011706355_beaa31c57c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/WbUD0q)

The currency situation in Cuba is a bit crazy, but understanding the system is critical for not getting ripped off. There are two completely different currencies used, and both are - of course - called pesos. The Convertible Peso, called CUC and pronounced kook, is tied to the dollar at 1:1. The Cuban Peso, called CUP and pronounced coop, is also tied to the dollar, but at 25:1. Are you writing all this down? No? Good. Now, the CUC is used mostly by tourists and upper-class places, while the CUP is the typical street money and is officially illegal for non-Cubans to use.

Now... even though the CUC is tied to the dollar, there's a 10% penalty for changing dollars, on top of the 3% official exchange fee. That means that for every dollar you only get to keep 87 cents. Knowing all this, in the weeks leading up to this trip we exchanged around $500 to CAD and EUR by friends and family. Arriving in Cuba, we exchanged these for CUC at the official exchange rate, and boom - 10% penalty avoided.

Cash in hand, it was back to the huddle, where it was decided that we will indeed attempt to fit into the one taxi. After finagling most of the luggage into the trunk, whYME made a beeline to the front passenger seat ([whYME] As the largest (not the longest, but certainly the widest ) of the group, there's no way I was fitting in that back seat with two other people and having the doors close...)  while CITH, Alexander, and I tried - unsuccessfully - to squash into the back row. Alas, the doors simply would not close .  In the end, it took a couple of locals pushing at us through the open windows with all their might to finally manage to shut the doors .

I found it interesting that our first interaction with a Cuban car was not with an old jalopy or a beautiful classic, but with a mundane Hyundai adorned with an American pop-culture decal (http://www.theonion.com/article/peeing-calvin-decals-now-recognized-as-vital-chann-386):

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8235/28394769213_586876e277_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9UL2L9)

Finally, contorted into ridiculous positions and beginning to get numb, we began the 45-minute drive to Havana proper. The ride was not particularly interesting - it was dark (especially since the driver was driving with his headlights off, unless there was another car approaching from the opposite direction ), and, being 2 am, we were too tired to appreciate anything interesting in any case.

Sardines:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8254/28391868424_dfd891d14d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/i001j9)

It wasn't long before we were in Havana, and got our first impressions of this unique city. Classic cars were everywhere, every building was crumbling, and the streets were - inexplicably at this hour - filled with people.

Suddenly, the taxi pulls to the side and stops in front of a derelict building which looked like a shuttered storefront with a couple residential-looking floors above it.

[Cat In The Hat] As we pulled up to the house I looked at that and my only thought was "I hope this is just where we're picking up the key or something”. But when Alex popped the trunk and began taking the luggage out, that's when reality set in and I knew that I. Was. Doomed.

[Something Fishy] Stuff just got real.

Alexander opened the door and showed us inside... as it were. The stairway was nearly pitch black; a light from the far-off landing cast a weak glow:

(https://media.giphy.com/media/xUOrw9PYJ8yNgQ4kSY/giphy.gif)

I had read beforehand how the typical Cuban house had tremendously high ceilings, so climbing up two stories is more akin to climbing up four. But nothing prepared us for this arduous trek, up into the dark, lugging heavy suitcases, at 3 in the morning in the stifling heat. Luckily, Alexander helped us shlep a bit.

The second set of stairs was somewhat better lit, revealing brightly painted walls in a pretty terrible state of disrepair:

(https://media.giphy.com/media/xUOrw7UwjV7D3kKh8s/giphy.gif)

Walking into the apartment itself however, was a pleasant surprise: it didn't look half bad. It seemed clean, decently sized, and the walls, thankfully, appeared relatively whole. The ceilings were at least 16 feet high, the tilework and moldings were intricate, and the everything was painted in a wild variety of pastel colors.

The dining room:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8655/28394901493_534b9a1021_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/10a8E6)

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/9/8429/28394618913_dde4da5634_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/14HJcf)

The breakfront was absolutely packed with junk. All manner of bits and bobs filled up every available inch of space. In Cuba nothing is ever thrown away, for it may one day be useful. The Cubans are incredibly resourceful - with parts and consumer goods difficult to find (or even available at all), the entire country is McGyvered and held together by nothing more than odd parts and a prayer.

The dining room also held the fridge, and for some reason, a blender.

Off to the right was the "kitchen": a sink, stovetop (no oven), and some counter space. The bottom of the counter was stuffed to the gills with odd parts as well, and covered with a shower curtain-type of thing:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8303/29011834805_0658db1373_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/U8990n)

Further in was the living room. Smallish, but enough space for a couch, a couple of chairs, and a coffee table:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8207/28394637083_257dbfcc39_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5A2BzU)

The bathroom had two doors, one to the living room and one to the bedroom, but no locks. Okaaaay... Other than that, it looked decent enough, with a rainfall shower head and a standalone water heater (that's the thingamabob mounted above the toilet):

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8567/29011878235_2bd6b3ff50_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7863W0)

The bedroom itself had a TV that didn't turn on, an armoire with one door installed upside-down, and the only air conditioner in the place. The bed was queen-sized and looked like... well, see for yourself :

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8049/28391835214_bfd90fcdde_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5251uA)

Hang on just a minute - one queen bed? We may all be good friends, but we're not that close. This place was supposed to have four separate beds! No worries, says Alexander, the other beds are upstairs in his apartment. He disappears for five minutes, and comes back in lugging two bed frames and two mattresses. He sets up one bed next to the queen in the bedroom, and one off to the side of the living room. With that, he bids us good night, reminds us to come up if we need anything, and leaves.

At this point I was so exhausted that I collapsed on one of the newly-erected beds, which then proceeded to promptly collapse beneath me . Turns out these frames were not built with fat Americans in mind... So we took apart the frames and slept on the floor for the next four nights .

With Alexander gone, we were able to take in all the details of the place. For starters, it was absolutely, thoroughly, stifling hot. The AC in the bedroom didn't do much at all, and it definitely didn't reach into the rest of the house. As it turned out, the AC needed an hour or so to get going, after which the bedroom would get pleasantly cool. But the rest of the place was still a sauna; the two fans were the only thing that kept CITH alive sleeping in the living room.

Most rooms had huge windows, so we hoped to catch a breeze from those. Ha! The windows on one side opened into sort of an indoor courtyard/hallway thingy, where it was even hotter. The windows on the other side all opened into a shaftway, which is where all the neighbors stuck the back ends of their air conditioners out into; it was easily 120 degrees in there:

(https://media.giphy.com/media/3ohryk8lWlRChG0ql2/giphy.gif)

So basically we ended up shvitzing for a week like we've never shvitzed before; luckily the shower worked as advertised, as we used it multiple times a day throughout the trip.

The rest of the place was firmly in fourth-world territory. After the second day, the kitchen sink stopped working. It took Alexander all day to find the culprit: the neighbor on the floor below us had used up his water quota for the week, so he'd redirected our water supply to his own place. One loud argument later and we had water again.

The toilet on the other hand was not so lucky: that only lasted one day. Another investigation by Alexander and the problem was found: "you put the toilet paper into the toilet??? It goes in the garbage can!" Ummm... how about you tell us this juicy little detail ahead of time...? In any case, a plunger and a makeshift snake later and we had a working toilet again.

But that was before the sewer gas. U-bends? Those are so capitalistic. We walked into the house Tuesday afternoon only to get hit by, well, a pungent wall of sewer gas. Nah, says Alexander, this happens every few days. Nothing to worry about.

Yeah right. Thankfully whYME discovered the source in the bathroom sink, and plopped an upturned glass mug over the drain. We lost the use of that sink (good thing we had a kitchen sink. No, wait...), but at least the smell pretty much disappeared.

Now the electricity, that was a sight to behold. All the buildings in Old Havana are literally hundreds of years old (hence the "Old"), so lots of the electricity is jerry-rigged on the outside of the walls using a nightmare of exposed wiring and switches. The light switch in the kitchen looked so dangerous that we didn't turn in off for the duration of the stay for fear of blowing up the apartment, ourselves, or both.

Had we known all this before we came, there'd be no chance in the world that we'd actually book the place. In retrospect though, I'm glad we stayed. We got to live among the locals, and experience a bit of the real Cuba. It was an absolute adventure.

And if we thought that the house couldn't have gotten any worse, the next morning would prove us oh so wrong . But for now, we unpacked a bit, grabbed a bite, and slept like dead men.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yaalili on November 13, 2016, 06:13:21 AM
Thanks for this installment, saving to read on the subway later.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: @Yehuda on November 13, 2016, 08:07:31 AM
Very fun reading material! Crazy adventure after another.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: 3yummyboys on November 13, 2016, 10:31:38 AM
These cliffhangers!! Such a tease!

Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 13, 2016, 10:37:04 AM
These cliffhangers!! Such a tease!

Heh, I was gonna leave it at this, but I figured that may be too mean ;D.

[Something Fishy] While whYME was cavorting around Panama, CITH and I headed to JFK together, and went straight to the Copa priority check-in lane. Right away the troubles started.

Check-in agent: What is this? You can't go to Cuba.
Me: Yes I can.
Agent: No you can't.
Me: Yes I can. Here's my journalism license.
Agent: Let's see your visa.
Me: I don't have one yet. The visa gets picked up in Panama.
Agent: No it doesn't.
Me: Yes it does.
Agent: I'm not gonna let you board.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: shulem92 on November 13, 2016, 06:37:17 PM
Heh, I was gonna leave it at this, but I figured that may be too mean ;D.
Its a good thing u didn't!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: mmgfarb on November 13, 2016, 06:38:58 PM
Heh, I was gonna leave it at this, but I figured that may be too mean ;D.
That would have been plain vindictive
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Dawie on November 13, 2016, 06:45:05 PM
The ceilings were at least 16 feet high
and you still had to duck?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: kEepItsimPLe on November 13, 2016, 06:54:41 PM
Wow. Omg. This is incredible!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on November 13, 2016, 08:44:41 PM
Nice installment! Looking forward to the rest.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on November 14, 2016, 09:49:03 PM
WOW!

Love the GIFs, but the quality is quite bad.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 14, 2016, 09:58:12 PM
Very fun reading material! Crazy adventure after another.

These cliffhangers!! Such a tease!

Wow. Omg. This is incredible!

Nice installment! Looking forward to the rest.

Thanks guys ;D


Its a good thing u didn't!

That would have been plain vindictive

Yeah, I figured that after such a long wait it would be middas Sedom or something.


and you still had to duck?

LOL


WOW!

Love the GIFs, but the quality is quite bad.

Shoot with a GoPro, in the pitch dark. Then take the resulting file, downsize it to oblivion, remove most of the color data, and add a ton of dithering, all that so that the final GIF isn't 100MB. Then tell me what kind of quality you'd get out of it...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on November 14, 2016, 10:08:19 PM
Shoot with a GoPro, in the pitch dark. Then take the resulting file, downsize it to oblivion, remove most of the color data, and add a ton of dithering, all that so that the final GIF isn't 100MB. Then tell me what kind of quality you'd get out of it...

(http://24.media.tumblr.com/67b9f5639e0ce826754d345e851603fb/tumblr_ml1ukyi5Jw1snjxrjo1_250.gif?&~nfopt(r=9e78))

 ;D
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 14, 2016, 10:10:42 PM
(http://24.media.tumblr.com/67b9f5639e0ce826754d345e851603fb/tumblr_ml1ukyi5Jw1snjxrjo1_250.gif)

 ;D

LOL
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 17, 2016, 12:56:22 AM
Now the electricity, that was a sight to behold. All the buildings in Old Havana are literally hundreds of years old (hence the "Old"), so lots of the electricity is jerry-rigged on the outside of the walls using a nightmare of exposed wiring and switches. The light switch in the kitchen looked so dangerous that we didn't turn in off for the duration of the stay for fear of blowing up the apartment, ourselves, or both.

Found a picture I took of the kitchen light switch:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5477/30929861911_b1f7c94f14_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5t5HgY)

There was also this whatchmacallit on the counter, presumably for boiling up water. Anyone know what it's called?

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5774/31043941885_021c02c0a0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8AK1Ez)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on November 17, 2016, 12:58:35 AM
That's a scary light switch. The pot looks like a percolator, it's for making coffee.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: mmgfarb on November 17, 2016, 01:01:04 AM
It's a moka pot or macchinetta, basically a stove top espresso maker.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 17, 2016, 01:03:53 AM
That's a scary light switch. The pot looks like a percolator, it's for making coffee.

It's a moka pot or macchinetta, basically a stove top espresso maker.

Thanks. I thought that lighter had something to do with it, I guess it didn't in the end.

In either case, it doesn't look like something coming out of that thing will be very tasty (or clean :P).
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Emkay on November 17, 2016, 02:45:14 AM


Found a picture I took of the kitchen light switch:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5477/30929861911_b1f7c94f14_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5t5HgY)

Looks like a bochurims dira.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: @Yehuda on November 17, 2016, 01:39:51 PM
Wow, that light switch.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: MC on November 17, 2016, 02:10:34 PM
My father still uses one of those percolators (albeit a significantly cleaner one) to make coffee.  ;D
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on November 18, 2016, 02:16:11 AM
It's a moka pot or macchinetta, basically a stove top espresso maker.

Where do you insert the pods?  :D
Title: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: mmgfarb on November 18, 2016, 02:26:24 AM
Where do you insert the pods?  :D
Lol, somehow I don't think that made it to Cuba yet.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: normaly on November 18, 2016, 03:43:53 AM
Reading about your apt gave a really good laugh.  I was there a few weeks ago and stayed in the vedado area.  Very nice place for Cuban standards I would recommend if u go back.  Kitchen,  Living room (wooden couches),  dining room and 2 or 3 separate bedrooms. Only the bedrooms have air conditioning.  Very clean, they come in every day to clean and change the linen and towels every other day.  And pretty cheap.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: yitzyul on November 19, 2016, 07:50:03 PM
Reading about your apt gave a really good laugh.  I was there a few weeks ago and stayed in the vedado area.  Very nice place for Cuban standards I would recommend if u go back.  Kitchen,  Living room (wooden couches),  dining room and 2 or 3 separate bedrooms. Only the bedrooms have air conditioning.  Very clean, they come in every day to clean and change the linen and towels every other day.  And pretty cheap.
Kind of defeats the purpose if you don't stay in Old Havana...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 26, 2016, 06:01:09 PM
Fidel just died.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: mmgfarb on November 26, 2016, 06:02:15 PM
Fidel just died.
What does this mean going forward?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 26, 2016, 06:03:40 PM
What does this mean going forward?

Tremendous changes, I'd imagine. If you want to visit do it ASAP.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: mmgfarb on November 26, 2016, 06:07:27 PM
Tremendous changes, I'd imagine. If you want to visit do it ASAP.
I tried
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on November 26, 2016, 09:10:53 PM
Tremendous changes, I'd imagine. If you want to visit do it ASAP.
Why? You think they'll do away with communism making travel easy for everyone and thus overrun with tourists, or Raul will be stricter and overturn the current new travel leniencies? 
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 26, 2016, 09:17:01 PM
Why? You think they'll do away with communism making travel easy for everyone and thus overrun with tourists, or Raul will be stricter and overturn the current new travel leniencies?

LOL, neither, quite.

I don't think anyone believes that communism is going away anytime soon, but the reforms of the past few years will definitely continue to bring the country closer to capitalism. And Raul will definitely not be stricter, he's the one who instituted the reforms in the first place (with his brother's blessing).

And Cuba was never the one who made travel difficult (for foreigners, that is), it was the US.

But Fidel being out of the picture gives everyone an opportunity to try to normalize everything there, and IMO Raul is gonna grab that. Cuba has changed a lot since I've been there last year; changes will only accelerate going forward.

So yes, if you want to see the Cuba of old, the time machine, go sooner rather than later. It won't be long before the oceanfront is lined by Marriotts and Hyatts and you'll have a Starbucks on every street.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yaalili on November 26, 2016, 10:50:40 PM
It won't be long before the oceanfront is lined by Marriotts and Hyatts and you'll have a Starbucks on every street.

;)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 27, 2016, 02:47:19 AM

Some important notes:

- There are 211 pictures in this segment. It simply became too long and unwieldy, so we 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.

- Most of our time in Havana was spent wandering the streets, observing and interacting with the locals, and photographing constantly. Consequently, there's not necessarily any rhyme or reason to the order of the pictures. I will try to maintain a more-or-less chronological order in this report, but there will be times when a certain picture will be out of place if it fits the storyline better.

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



[Something Fishy] Unsurprisingly, we slept late the first morning.

We woke up around 10, davened, and blew shofar. We ate breakfast, packed up lunch, and headed out into a time wrap.

The street we were on was hot, humid, noisy, and dirty; a wall of sights, sounds, and smells accosted the senses. Antique classic cars, old Soviet clunkers, bicycles, and pedicabs all mingled with pedestrians going every which way. The buildings on either side, clearly once beautiful, stood crumbling. The rumbling of the old diesel engines mixed with the smell of unchecked exhaust; everything in sight was painted in bright pastel colors - the cars, the buildings, even the people. The cumulative effect of all this was frankly overwhelming.

It was now that we got the first real look at our building now - and... whaaaat ?. Our eyes slowly traveled from the ground floor's shuttered storefront, past the two residential floors, and up to - come again?? - a completely collapsed top floor. Like, literally: caved-in walls, roof gone, the sun shining brightly on the rubble. At least it looked better than the neighboring building: that one was already completely collapsed . However bad we thought it looked in the dark, seeing it now was just surreal. Our apartment was on the third floor, back left; Alexander lived on the top... floor? roof? Whatever it was had long collapsed:

Photos by Something Fishy:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5500/30761650202_fbfc146b1d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/eeiE4y)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5779/30572765360_2b8e385d9f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/amh4E4)

"Sr. Alexander":

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5780/30761598282_2760519e57_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/V97GvK)

After a minute or two of staring in shock, we collected our jaws off the sidewalk, and off we went to explore.

Considering that the tap water in Cuba is undrinkable (unless you enjoy cholera), our first order of business was to find some some water to drink and fill our bottles / Hydro Flasks (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=54359.msg1249106#msg1249106). We found a little store around the corner from our place and drank up, filled up, and were ready to go.

We headed out in a random direction, and turned down a busy street:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5722/30837487736_9ce1e2b5d4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/YE9FLb)

Some houses were gray and drab:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5782/30241825553_021b61b4f4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/i94y91)

The vast majority, however, were painted in all manner of bright and lovely colors:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5718/30761443182_f10e026615_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/77CW0S)

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5664/30576362610_a7414d224c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/XXb1yb)

However, even the most beautiful of buildings was in terrible, run-down condition. This gave everything a wonderful patina:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5497/30576222040_12c75e9cc0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7t2jRT)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5465/30840946096_1debcd353e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/joa20c)

One of the most wonderful (and unexpected) parts of the trip was getting to interact with the Cuban people. Everyone we met was friendly, curious about us, and all smiles. The few that recognized us a Jews would shout "Judeo!" after us and then begin quoting random Bible snippets. Most everyone else was tickled to hear that we're from Nueva York and asked if we've ever been to Florida, as they have a relative/friend/hero there. In general they absolutely adored Obama, who was their only real hope in living memory to make their lived better.

We needed to be very respectful when photographing them; these were not animals in a zoo. We'd always ask permission first (we must have said "Un photo, por favor?" hundreds of times through those few days), and nearly always got a smile and thumbs-up in return. Now and then we'd be asked for a CUC in exchange, and very rarely did we get a no. If we did, it was always respected.  [whYME]: Well, either that or we took full advantage of the 300mm range of our lenses .

[Something Fishy] Most Cubans we met spoke little to no English, but we had some really interesting conversations with the ones who did.

The Cuban national pastime is to hang around next to the door of your house with your neighbors and schmooze for hours on end. The second best option is to sit on the little porch or by the window and stare down at the streets. It's unbelievable how many people we saw doing that, all around the clock (literally - we drove through town one night at 1 AM and every doorway was packed with people).

CITH shooting the breeze:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5797/30789166951_aa08bd7861_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/i6CaEx)

Observing:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5782/30576715700_008fe75f8e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/2hhf5j)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5570/22794975728_5945f6a8eb_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/2rc84U)

Tired from all the schmoozing:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5595/30788713281_1f7e282afe_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/SCCK8F)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5705/30885454201_4d48b0771e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/685289)

This guy on the right beckoned me over: "I love Fidel! Cuba is the best place to live! US is a terrible place!". He then grabbed my shirt and whispered into my ear, "I really hate Fidel. But if you tell anyone I will kill you".

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5581/30788921181_ffb0e85ae4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/6Wr81t)

Hard to blame him, to be honest. This is the inside of his apartment:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5778/30841103426_dd5e74942f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/947v01)

This was all too typical. The vast majority of Habaneros live in multi-family apartments, most often in conditions such as this. Dark, cramped, the building literally crumbling around you. The government decides where you live, and that's it. Unless you have a cushy government job or work in the tourist industry you will be destitute for the rest of your life.

The funny thing though is that the Cubans are an incredibly happy people; the streets are literally filled with music. The guy above was far and away the only person we met who seemed bitter. During one of our conversations with a local I asked him out right: you people live in terrible conditions, you have nothing to eat, everything is old as the hills and falling apart. How are you so happy?

His answer was a musser haskel if there ever was one. "This is my life; Cuba isn't changing anytime soon. I could choose to be bitter and sad all the time, or I could choose to sing instead. I chose the second option. Now I have a good life - I'm always happy!"

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5765/30760938912_5dcc98306e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3J112Y)

This guy outside a grocery stand chose yet another life-attitude:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5614/30877326065_dae0d0095e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/J5882D)

To this day I wonder if he knew what his shirt says.

Laundry was hanging everywhere. The expected:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5689/30245749034_0b3ee2c46a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7d8M68)

And the unexpected:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5519/30877469635_da8c61a4fd_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/P3418n)

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5795/30841050946_17a05d8f19_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/i52uWk)

Turning into a quieter street:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5728/30761579422_dbd6aeceeb_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8i3k91)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5642/22794975808_c8887d4255_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/5w3ZwM)

A fruit stand, photo by CITH:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5598/31073098025_9c1b2305a1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/Vb020e)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5484/30885455221_3d7aaa4c11_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/z65H4A)

A closed fishmonger's shop, photo by CITH:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5529/31073103025_7f0b4d85b8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/qUZY05)

His scale:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5753/30242341453_cb9fc58ebb_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/52o297)

The store was closed, even though according to the hours of operation it should've been open:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5649/30789257311_23c7908fb0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/h04o5Y)

CITH and whYME shooting:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5707/30841500636_5d305f79ba_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/28t63E)

In typical Havana fashion, the open doorway next door had beautifully designed walls...:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5706/30789281321_5a806e788b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/x534F2)

...in a really bad state of disrepair:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5453/30242297133_2679b370ff_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/u8cSc9)

These kids were walking down the street carrying a bottle of rum:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5530/30761530022_40edf7464f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/4KiS03)

When they saw me they called their friends over, which resulted in one of my favorite pictures of the trip:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5669/23552959329_b4b87a566e_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/BTi5eF)

"Victory!":

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5558/30761555822_943b019a9d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/4716Ru)

With the brutal heat and humidity it didn't take too long until we needed to refill our water bottles, so we set out to find a grocery with a fridge who could sell us some agua fría en botella - cold bottled water.

This is where we were introduced to the fact that everyone in Cuba is a hustler. You want directions? 1 CUC. You want me to walk you there? 1 CUC. Do you know that there's a cigar fair tomorrow - what luck! I could take you there - for the low, low price of 1 CUC.

A few minutes and several CUC later we were in a grocery and stocked on as much water as we could carry.

The groceries themselves are really a sight to behold. You could buy whatever you wanted, as long as it was a green juice box, a cookie, or a bit of cheese:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5814/30932875392_15a25f75e3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/eL4fU2)

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5541/31039385956_d611aca7ff_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7u28bR)

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5345/30961004421_a0c955a988_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7Gt7bv)

There were a number of interesting shops on that street. Bar Okinawa:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5674/30245676804_de9a876cea_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8884cd)

Appliance repair shop:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5606/30576526630_45f16e7170_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Br087V)

A florist:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5576/30241778913_ef595e80c6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/694i4n)

A restaurant (vote: pimp or not ?):

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5590/30789005741_8300a2beb3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/i0tW8u)

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5478/30841387586_bbc57ae436_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Ki23S8)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5832/30885454691_0a54673445_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/yeqhGe)

Every now and then we'd come across some street art that had clearly seen better days. I really liked this monster, so I stood across the street and waited for something interesting to be eaten by it. It didn't take long and the little old lady whYME just photographed walked unsuspectingly right into its maw:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5336/30245611474_22cc1e1a87_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/X2Qz2n)

Then came this taxi... thing:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5604/30245599734_91d1bc9765_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/x939x5)

We never found what else that monster had for lunch, for at that moment sirens started blaring, coming ever closer.

We looked to the right just in time to see an old Soviet fire truck turning the corner:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5561/30761340572_e8130a904c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8Z64w3)

We hurried over for a closer look:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5661/30789101991_0aa26e6e10_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/b44n1u)

It turned to be an air conditioning unit on fire, putting out an inordinate amount of smoke:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5451/30245537944_33415b2b69_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/06j35t)

Watching the firefighters in action was bizarre. There was not a fire hydrant or hose in sight; the only firefighting tools were a pair of regular fire extinguishers, one held by the sole firefighter working on the fire, and the other on the street as a backup. It was a sight to see how the firefighter was rationing his precious retardant. He'd give it a tiny shpritz, wait a moment for the smoke to clear a bit, then give it another shpritz. In this manner he actually manage to put the fire out with a single extinguisher.

Quite scary to know that the situation in Havana is so crazy that even the fire department doesn't have proper access to water.

Psst psssst!

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5322/30761274162_563109b017_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7yjt24)

Waiting in the wings:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5660/30245503744_e4c729202c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/jdaZB6)

"Bomberos", photo by whYME:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5778/25338123469_563ee83521_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/H6Ks9L)

A car emerging from the smoke:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5803/30245566964_bf74001bc1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/vH47Nz)

Once the fire was out we moved on, but not before getting a shot of this cool taxi:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5791/30761314682_9260257834_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/200AqA)

On average, once a day a building collapses in Havana. It's rare that there are any injuries - let alone deaths - as people are prepared and the location closed off ahead of time. Walking around town, the sheer number of buildings in various stages of collapse was staggering.

Photo by whYME:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5653/30857192652_f82c8b34a7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/W5Ge27)

Photos by Something Fishy:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5546/30840971736_735dae670c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/13CDo5)

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5604/30245680734_c603cf85d2_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8ji6TG)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5478/30840986896_8f204b03ce_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9WB9Vb)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5723/30885455011_76ac36fbf1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/8ye9Ga)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5685/30857192822_fd72ae0333_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/245cX8)

Photos by Something Fishy:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5479/30242228253_98083b4a20_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/y17Tj9)

Cuban Morgan Freeman ?

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5580/30761421462_84c9582b0c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3h8CE3)

The architectural detail on this terrace was clearly once stunningly beautiful:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5618/30789192191_4f8b90da46_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/y7782a)

These days? It's literally being held together with bits of string:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5453/30245649034_1d5ceaa3fd_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/jJs5QJ)


We did come across a work crew once:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5484/30788828691_7bc3edb0e6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/YR7g0n)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5501/30885454301_1a46b8cbb2_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/K3xwY4)

As well as a guy chiseling away at a facade:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5562/30840821706_a3df955eb9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/FT9U6V)

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5768/30757970622_c419ef4a92_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/06Q431)

[whYME:] Once we started taking pictures the other guy (supervisor?) wanted in on the action as well. Photo by whYME:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5582/30672218870_5c6c741629_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/RNk701)

CITH & Something Fishy shooting. Photo by whYME:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5669/30670634970_e8ceeac7ee_z.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/jN5n28)

Most of the streets were quite clean, a few of them less so. Photo by whYME:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5557/22794974678_7b3b92f013_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/cnG0N1)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/9/8788/28490637860_65b02a1462_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KpBY39)

Love the hat:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5554/30576547330_7cd20162fd_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7A0ozi)

This fellow was picking through the garbage:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5461/30785260821_74912169fb_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/AAo595)

"No parking:"

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5336/30789181411_a6df24a9d1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/2WmcwZ)

Quiet moment:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5640/30877531365_e793131d92_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/pg08wp)

Caged. Photo by whYME:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5519/30672218380_5215e2be15_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/26T7B7)

"Kiddush-in-a-Cart". Only the herring is missing:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5778/30841262056_a532853025_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/XX3Y7v)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5496/31037333916_b7846ecd79_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/89m27e)

There were stray dogs everywhere, mingling freely with the crowds. This guy conked out right in the middle of the street:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5747/30877519605_4298e66840_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/S244mE)

The Rebbitzen going window shopping?

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5642/30245846654_1b9c5833af_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/awQ9y6)

The electricity in Havana is just something else:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5646/30761161462_4074606fe8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/w3Jm0H)

We stopped at a veggie stand for a spell:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5641/30877525985_b0463fc184_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/798x39)

His scale:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5704/30245838964_b5b6b1e108_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/6Z6Mmm)

Something Fishy & CITH shooting: Photo by whYME

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5478/30936759226_7bcbec082b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/59WXS4)

This guy was sitting on the curb contemplating his lemon intensly. When life gives you lemons, I suppose...

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/2/1707/24055005062_af8eb6ef7f_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/CDEbWA)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5659/25338123329_f72c82de78_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/C27z85)

An unexpected message above the graffiti:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5640/20875494700_40c47f6bb2_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/xNGnhq)

CITH shooting:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5463/30877513085_f9125694b5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/77T3EH)

According to Google translate, this is the "Punch-Bowl State Park". Okaaay...

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5708/30245367294_1a065a0879_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/A6U7n0)

This guy was beating his laundry with a surprising vengeance:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/1/640/23254775813_c8d90d5e42_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/BqWNEz)

[whYME] He did not seem happy to have his picture taken. Photo by whYME:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5473/30885454481_91cf8c2281_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/v1oH2w)

When I said that nothing gets thrown away in Cuba I meant it. Have an old fan that stopped working? Boom - onion bowl!

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5524/30241951133_6cfcd68e31_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/GLJu49)

Chachkees and knick-knacks:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5341/30245391304_5ec53d24e3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/e45T57)

Doorbell:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5694/30245312584_a5f12d543f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Z0x032)

Hauling concrete:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5599/30788885041_137f6aec95_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0m03gC)

Looking back to the Capitol, Photo by whYME:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5590/30885454461_de31a14bf9_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/P4f2zx)

To own a car in Cuba you need to be somewhat of a mechanic. Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5348/22794976728_beebc8ab5a_h.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/TT6o59)

No, this is not a toy truck. Photo by whYME:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5451/30857192732_73582deb45_z.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/91xH90)

We came across a group of men playing dominoes, which is somewhat of a craze in Cuba. In fact, "street dominoes" was invented in Havana. Apparently it became the most common way to play dominoes since.

They were more than happy to have us hang around and take pictures, as long as we treated them to a bottle of rum. That didn't sound like a bad deal at all, costing all of 8 CUC.

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5575/30873982145_48b136c825_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7979V2)

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/2/1544/23926902500_217943729e_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/CskCvJ)

The fellow sitting with his back against the wall turned out to have a nearly-perfect English. When I asked him where he picked it up, he was indignant.

"Me? I'm a structural engineer! I went to college!"

"A structural engineer? What's a structural engineer doing playing dominoes on the street at 2 o'clock on a Monday?"

His answer summed up Cuba in a single statement. "Why should I work? I'd get the same food coupons, healthcare, and allowances as someone who doesn't work. I'd rather play dominoes."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is communism for you. You were wondering why half of the buildings Havana are collapsing? Now you know.

Photo by whYME:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5792/30885454091_f9139ca5a9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/VK1Z9A)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5510/30672218800_91b623b6da_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/g0aNE9)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8174/28743427886_627bd52567_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KMXzGS)

[whYME] Some people didn't need to be asked if we can take their picture, like this guy who was watching the game and begged us to take his picture. (Of course he then expected a CUC for his service.)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5342/30348403954_329f3d86c6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/30Z366)

Photo by Something Fishy:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5720/30785831151_b020881954_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8ch8n7)

I don't think this guy approves of the game. Photo by whYME:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5478/30885454021_b3431fce05_z.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/CHSy1h)



As mentioned above, part 2 will be posted tomorrow. Enjoy!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Luvtotravel on November 27, 2016, 03:01:48 AM
you made my night! (or whatever's left of it...)
don't want to quote this whole segment, but love the graffiti above the guy looking thru the dumpsters!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 27, 2016, 03:03:34 AM
you made my night! (or whatever's left of it...)
don't want to quote this whole segment, but love the graffiti above the guy looking thru the dumpsters!

I was hoping someone would notice that, I purposely positioned myself so it would line up :D.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: mmgfarb on November 27, 2016, 03:09:18 AM
Nice installment! I'm anxiously awaiting tomorrow's  :)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Emkay on November 27, 2016, 03:10:22 AM



Some important notes:

- There are 211 pictures in this segment.


I instantly exited this thread on Tapatalk and set a reminder to check it out later when I have a half a day and in front of a computer.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 27, 2016, 03:11:52 AM
I instantly exited this thread on Tapatalk and set a reminder to check it out later when I have a half a day and in front of a computer.

Lol, indeed. Much better experience on a computer.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: shulem92 on November 27, 2016, 03:25:15 AM

#Trudeaueulogies (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=41810.msg1604258.msg#1604258) by far the best one yet...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: a mirrer on November 27, 2016, 07:57:58 AM
wow! thank you for putting all the time and effort to post this amazing tr
Title: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: 3yummyboys on November 27, 2016, 08:44:03 AM
Wow! I shared some of this with my kids, it's incredible. Thanks for all the hard work putting this together. I am really enjoying it!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on November 27, 2016, 03:09:19 PM
Nice installment! The pictures are amazing. Looking forward to the next part today.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on November 27, 2016, 04:06:45 PM
WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on November 27, 2016, 05:30:14 PM
WOW!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yaalili on November 27, 2016, 08:50:02 PM
Wow! Unreal, and so close to home.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: VacationLover on November 27, 2016, 10:26:48 PM
Oh my 8)
I don't get it. You didn't see ANY pictures before booking your accommodation?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 27, 2016, 10:33:23 PM
Oh my 8)
I don't get it. You didn't see ANY pictures before booking your accommodation?

The apartment looked exactly as it did in the pictures. We had no complaints about the space itself, it was pretty much what we expected. But pictures on Airbnb don't tell you about the heat, and the sewer gas, and the plumbing, and the electricity...

But to reiterate what I said in that TR segment, we had no regrets. It was all part of the epic adventure in the end.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: VacationLover on November 27, 2016, 10:51:11 PM
The apartment looked exactly as it did in the pictures. We had no complaints about the space itself, it was pretty much what we expected. But pictures on Airbnb don't tell you about the heat, and the sewer gas, and the plumbing, and the electricity...

But to reiterate what I said in that TR segment, we had no regrets. It was all part of the epic adventure in the end.
I am shocked that those pictures were actually taken in this decade. Let alone the fact that it's in our backyard. Those pictures how surreal they are almost makes me cry... how sad :-[

Did you actually expect to see what you saw? Were you ready to see people living in half collapsed buildings literally starving?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 27, 2016, 10:56:33 PM
I am shocked that those pictures were actually taken in this decade. Let alone the fact that it's in our backyard. Those pictures how surreal they are almost makes me cry... how sad :-[

Did you actually expect to see what you saw? Were you ready to see people living in half collapsed buildings literally starving?

We'd heard about it, but nothing could prepare you for actually seeing it. To see five families stuffed into a two room, rubble-filled apartment is absolutely heartbreaking. The Israeli's apartment was a veritable palace comparatively, and that's because he had an outside source for money.

It really puts things in perspective, walking around there.

ETA: I just noticed that the Israeli in question wasn't posted about yet... see the next installment here (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=65070.msg1605497#msg1605497).
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Iz on November 27, 2016, 11:08:37 PM
I always knew about the horrors of communism, but to see it במו עיני:
.אינו דומה שמיעה לראיה
The רשעות of אותו רשע is unreal. How much צרה וצוקה one man can wreak upon the world, רחמנא ליצלן.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 27, 2016, 11:34:16 PM
Part 2, as promised...

And another reminder to let your browser load, there are over 100 pictures in this installment as well.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 27, 2016, 11:35:02 PM
[Something Fishy] After a bit it was time for lunch, so we decided to head to the Malecon  and hopefully find a place to sit. The Malecon is one of the most famous sites in Havana, and is basically a wide and beautiful 5-mile boulevard running along the ocean and seawall. We found a couple of benches in the shade and settled down for a bit.

As everyone knows, the big problem with eating is that it's a waste of time; you could rather be shooting :D... So we set up our cameras on tripods and put one hand on the sandwich and one on the shutter button :P.

An early 1920s Ford Model T cruising along the Malecon:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5704/23092858955_f897b1b720_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/BbCWqB)

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5479/30837941006_c6b055f5d4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9u7C6g)

The official city taxis were all old Soviet Ladas:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5799/30837944106_9e763e4c83_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/hwG9if)

Morro Castle was built in 1589 and has been watching over Havana ever since:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5505/30242263484_f730866976_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/AS3hfU)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5684/30958929261_6f2ab7c45c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/R4KZeR)

CITH shooting cars:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5331/30874436195_e4f75434ae_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/j48m1r)

[whYME] The car situation was actually somewhat different once we got to the Malecon. While the cars we saw in Old Havana were pretty much all classics or old soviet cars, on the Melecon we were seeing some more modern (mostly Korean and European) cars alongside all the classics. After what we'd been seeing all day, a scene like this seemed anachronistic. What's this bus from the future doing here?

Photo by whYME:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5572/25338122749_cd934b282c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/Kav8Vv)

We. are. not. alone. Photo by whYME:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5337/30885453821_6c120b167e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/Hc745n)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5713/30885453901_7b031cb568_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/9UD6i9)

This guy was not happy to see us there and he certainly was not happy when I took his picture. In fact, I think he just wasn't happy at all.

Photo by whYME:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5525/30885451911_87f613eb71_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/2D4B2m)

[Something Fishy] Having rested up we turned down a different side street:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5806/30760978102_2c4313da8a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/yFP8f0)

A Citroen from the late '30s or early '40s:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/1/596/20876782119_9ca41e4dab_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/xNNXZi)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8007/28743427986_3a266e0932_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KMXzJA)

Some great colors:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5810/30877355805_ef54e0e41b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7H7wp2)

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5598/30245200124_fbc5ceaac9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/s7j3Sh)

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5643/30760885342_119fb24a56_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9v3J90)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5553/30760856872_e6806f504f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/E17Ty7)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5776/30885453971_4546eae8e2_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/380g81)

An unexpected splash of merriment. Photo by whYME:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5828/31189410026_6260b87088_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/bABp48)

A restaurant entrance:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5814/30241735523_61f32db4e4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/160886)

More decay:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5665/30241710633_3b27d49f34_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/uD7Jjr)

Apparently keeping onions in fans is a minhag hamedina here:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5701/30245252374_0bfafb9dfd_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/6002H4)

Pretty, hand-lettered sign for the Triple A Provincial Trading Company, whatever that is:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5698/30788713761_26f9b587a7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/880488)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5818/30576071920_0312622617_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/802T70)

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5498/30245137474_26b2a03077_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/83shM8)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5836/31037358456_2c407e2316_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/h3qkbL)

Continuing experiments in electricity:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5340/30245174874_f7338ac4e2_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/2pLd24)

It was cool how often the colors of the cars and the buildings lined up nicely:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5564/30576028840_cd32ab064c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7420Z2)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5764/30245225104_e764f3ff68_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/j047VD)

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5499/30760872652_f49930d65f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/6357is)

We found ourselves on a bigger street, lined with stores and apartment buildings, which lent itself perfectly for some more car shooting:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5477/30785775261_261d66a043_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/oo3dUf)

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5573/30573205270_c477a049f1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/2p1c1z)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5603/30885453711_0f4a4e0d2d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/pBs0K1)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5776/30885453751_d297325019_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/z80R76)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5757/30885453641_27bf49831c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/r17N6Y)

Photos by Something Fishy:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5517/30874399085_ae011e5842_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/2Y6B5s)

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5774/30573162060_daa28dc997_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/4g6Vny)

An old propaganda poster:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5695/30785744111_ba0943683c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/R6c2yy)

On this street we found a (relatively) well stocked supermarket. This was for tourists to shop, no CUP or coupons accepted here... Once again, we filled up our water bottles.

"Here we live in peace". Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5562/22794976568_8b8c401f94_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/b6AzcY)

The classic cars are kept going by cannibalizing parts from others. Typically, those cars are converted to Korean diesel engines which are easier to maintain: Photo by whYME:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5622/25338122569_0bde7605b7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/v5323d)

That is certainly not the engine that came with this car. Photo by whYME:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5536/30672218420_9da401a343_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/4gFzMP)

As we were watching, we suddenly heard a jovial "Shalom!" An Israeli was standing there, happy as a lark to see us and firing away in rapid Hebrew. Before long he had invited us up to his house for a visit and to meet his family. We happily agreed and followed him the few short blocks to his apartment.

Photo by whYME:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5540/25338122419_ec7441e161_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/p856q6)

Turns out he came to Cuba years ago on a diving trip, met a local girl, eloped, and lived here ever since.

On the way:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5826/30573154800_13cc7593a7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/p3MX5h)

His house is the blue one in the middle:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5616/30572730810_75ba085493_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/X47YZx)

He took us up and introduced us to his wife, kids, and her parents and siblings - all sharing the same apartment. Right away his mother in law offered to cook us supper, before remembering "it's no kosher!". We had a nice conversation, with him and his wife (who spoke a passable Hebrew) translating for everyone else. We didn't really take pictures of their apartment out of respect for them, but I couldn't resist a shot of this Birchas Habayis:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5481/30874331265_8dbdcb3c98_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/w9R166)

I did take some pictures of the views off their balcony:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5337/30757862942_cf989d8698_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7d3B2v)

Grabbing a cab:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5823/30837844866_7ab8b72bdf_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/y3KD6p)

A view of what is considered a park and playground here:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5755/30242149494_2969d91068_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/G52LDd)

This courtyard-slash-hallway thing is very common in Havana. Each half is actually one apartment's hallway; the living and kitchen areas are behind me, and the doors to the right lead to the bedrooms, bathroom, and so on. So if you wake up in the middle of the night to answer the call of nature, you could have the opportunity to schmooze with everyone in the building too...

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5656/30874342555_b7731c6e2e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/mArig5)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5735/31064680581_7942060e1a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/MLZ7UA)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5505/25338122449_f32c116b21_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/v4ED10)

We left the house and went back to the Malecon, where we met this guy playing a guitar/harmonica combo:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5726/30785675281_41594f8f82_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/18G89w)

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5326/30573085390_35c23b7278_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5E4vpG)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5449/31073078205_c456cf9236_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/H151Eq)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8820/28669852202_9a0bb674f1_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KFsudA)

It was later in the afternoon by now and the light was lovely. We crossed the Malecon and got comfortable on the seawall, enjoying the breeze and the sights:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5742/30841647156_5d86cd9724_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7t3931)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5696/30757783792_60653749af_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/514771)

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5743/30785645421_7ede5bce6b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/908gEq)

Not the typical architecture for this neighborhood... This was an expensive bar and restaurant catering to rich tourists. Photo by whYME:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5720/22794976638_c30af14f33_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/c357PA)

Fishing for dinner. Photo by whYME:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5766/31144027812_00291053f3_h.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/kw9gK1)

This is called a Cocotaxi and is straight out of Richard Scarry's Busytown (https://www.google.com/search?q=richard+scarry+busytown+car&safe=strict&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwih9LKd17DQAhWI6YMKHQl8AXMQ_AUICSgC&biw=1280&bih=720). We were debating if we should hire one, just to see if it will tip over when attempting to make a turn. We decided against it :

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5561/30874293455_b31029b829_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/zMF1nu)

The number one touristy must-do in Cuba is to take a classic convertible for a ride down the Malecon at sunset. Who were we to buck the trend? Off we went:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5765/30572715620_cbae813bd4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0Ywjq2)

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5786/30785323241_62b68b5aa4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/zn8304)

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5648/30757761532_f615dd8834_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Me0TuZ)

Awesome tape deck:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5449/30572999800_2309f83ac0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/T550K8)

We quickly left Old Havana behind and got to Vedado, which is the "affluent" neighborhood in Havana. This is where all the government buildings are located, including the American Embassy, which had opened up 3 days before after the reinstatement of diplomatic relations:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5462/30874289625_fab00cb608_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/77s3T5)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5724/30241874824_8725c9b53d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/SHJ7ty)

The American flag looked a bit lonely, flying all by itself... Photo by whYME:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5450/22794976038_ce81261753_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/r838J5)

I feel like this needs a clown or circus music soundtrack... Photo by whYME:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5685/30885451341_3ccae56916_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/41179o)

Some memorial or other. Photo by whYME:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5593/30672217860_75eefed34a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/j53n34)

A baseball stadium:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5788/30242056604_4f7a486a5f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/339Xv5)

This area is arguably nicer than Old Havana, with lots of greenery:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5534/30837459446_8f124e5954_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/19C3ip)
(The driver's buddy came along for the first part of the ride. We weren't thrilled about it, but in the end it was perfectly fine; he wasn't in the way at all.)

The former elite Vedado Tennis and Yacht Club building retains its elegance, but, like everything else in Havana, is actually crumbling once you look a bit closer:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5531/30874143355_46699e5a3e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/21iV2b)

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5799/30785496401_69238b1dc0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/t3L994)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5554/30885453201_484ea6485e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/52mF18)

Another memorial:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5654/30837742876_b2b0e69ce3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Sxn0bg)

We arrived at Plaza de la Revolución, or Revolution Plaza. This is where more than a million people would gather to hear Fidel's words of infinite wisdom, and is surrounded by government offices and monuments:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5527/30789350531_7335c48d0c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Jsc538)

The Ministries of the Interior building, with the famous sculpture of Che Guevara on the outside:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5622/30572968290_2f8e08eea5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/19W2Nb)

Its counterpart, the Ministries of the Interior and Communications building, featuring Camilo Cienfuegos, another hero of the revolution:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5336/30874174315_01f9ac0bb4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/69mC6o)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5743/30885453141_618c5475af_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/d50aFW)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5806/30672217710_fc14a13a73_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/S2fyhN)

Jose Marti is Cuba's national hero, even before the revolution. His memorial is the tallest building in Havana. I think the vultures circling around is very symbolic:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5524/30785565181_3dd99d29f6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/v0Gn8X)

Heading back, we went through Centro Habana, yet another neighborhood:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5780/30238491463_e715f8a991_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7EyeE8)

A gas station:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5717/30874146355_36594060a5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/X25277)

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5644/30837445826_1120865506_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/T49Mic)

Back on the Malecon, the sun was setting.

Looking towards Florida, 90 miles for us yet a different planet for those around us:

(https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5819/30837643676_4c714d88b7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/S1fF60)

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5815/30238428053_f50924d69c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/kMZ2XY)

These guys were just chilling on the seawall. Photo by whYME:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5460/30938316906_118fb5b3a0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/a7FWe4)

CITH shooting. Photo by whYME:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5621/30885451271_e1264b2183_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/7d1Uqq)

Passing the famous Hotel Habana Riviera, formerly owned by the Jewish mob boss Mayer Lansky and from where he ran his empire:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5696/30572905830_4532a14a36_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/731Q0J)

Hotel Nacional de Cuba, another one of Lansky's "business interests". Photo by whYME:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5561/30885453281_ab4df522a9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/7G7gw9)

Galerías de Paseo is an upscale shopping center and car dealership where the ruling elite go to spend their country's money:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5481/30241899914_bc5273fb6f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/a8nFw5)

The Cuban flag:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5586/30874074525_1f26711695_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/gaqi2n)

Taking some video with my FishyStickTM, a GoPro mounted on a 3-axis gimbal mounted on a long monopod:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5497/30572835950_f06915dc6d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/P70Hy3)

A cafe, under the ever-watchful eye of Fidel:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5731/30874035415_60f54064a5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/55Pks8)

Back in Old Havana, with the Capitolio in the background:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5542/30785407551_0e2743dc1c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0APYUN)

A row of beautifully colored buildings. Photo by whYME:

(https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8714/28490637290_a27871f368_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KpBXSj)

We paid the driver his 36 CUC, and headed over to the seawall to shoot the sunset:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5328/30837534606_b3bbb17470_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/62v23e)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5617/25338121619_8e7723278b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/8RTgc9)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5587/30958889461_378111b010_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/0eP6V4)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5533/31073074715_47df738284_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/8Po1A4)

A few minutes later, in the opposite direction. Photo by Something Fishy:

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5731/30877952465_52fab565e0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/J31p72)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/9/8551/28774865695_f80cefb4ac_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KQJH54)

It was now that I was to have my only negative interaction with a Cuban citizen. Overall we found them incredibly friendly and warm.

This guy, however, was stone drunk. He hung around me so close that he was touching me, while announcing that he has a brother who who's Fidel's best friend, another brother in ISIS, and yet a third in Boko Hiram. Unless I gave him what he wanted right now, he'll tell on me and bitter will be my end. What exactly he wanted from me was known only to his drunk brain.

I was getting worried, not for my personal safety (the place was packed with locals), but for my camera, which was on the tripod and perched precariously on top of the seawall. It seemed like he was gonna give it a shove at any moment, and then goodbye camera. In the end I said that I'll give him a couple of CUC if he goes and sits on the other side of the Malecon, and whaddya know, it worked.

Once it got dark we began making our way back home for the night. As we were crossing the Malecon, my belt buckle decided it had had enough and popped right off. Being that a 40 oz HydroFlash was on a carabiner off my belt, the next logical thing happened: my pants dropped right down .

So there I was, in the middle of Havana's busiest street, traffic flying past me in both directions, quite literally standing in my underwear. It was like a bad dream come true. Not an experience I'll ever forget, I'll tell you that.

By and by I picked up my pants, collected what was left of my dignity, and hobbled to the other side.

The rest of the way home was a fun dance. I had obviously removed all the weight from my pants, but it kept on slipping and sliding at inopportune moments. But eventually I made it back ...

Right before our house we passed by the Gran Teatro de La Habana (Grand Theater), arguably the most beautiful building in Havana. Being this dark we didn't really get a very good picture, but there will be plenty of time tomorrow for that:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5769/30241815414_9d0803860e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/GNbz38)

(https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5812/30238341703_91cd2d94a8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/863GU3)

We finally arrived back home, weary to the bone. We wolfed down some dinner and fell into bed.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: good sam on November 27, 2016, 11:54:54 PM
Just amazing. The cars, the buildings, and especially the portraits. The ones of the guy with the guitar should get an award!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: davidmal on November 27, 2016, 11:57:46 PM
These photos are so good they look fake.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: shulem92 on November 28, 2016, 12:32:00 AM
Finally! The FishyStick™
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on November 28, 2016, 12:33:12 AM
Wonderful pics! Did you ask the Israeli guy how he can live in Cuba without access to all the modern conveniences he left behind? What about the other Jews who still live there? Did he know about them and/or have anything to do with them?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 28, 2016, 12:36:16 AM
Just amazing. The cars, the buildings, and especially the portraits. The ones of the guy with the guitar should get an award!

These photos are so good they look fake.

Thanks 8)!

Finally! The FishyStick™

;D
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 28, 2016, 12:38:10 AM
Wonderful pics! Did you ask the Israeli guy how he can live in Cuba without access to all the modern conveniences he left behind? What about the other Jews who still live there? Did he know about them and/or have anything to do with them?

I can't remember if we discussed this with him (Maybe whYME or CITH could chime in here), but he's living the "good life", relatively. He has money, he has a TV, he has food... Plus he goes back to Israel pretty often too.

We'll be discussing the Jews in Cuba in more detail in the next segment.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on November 28, 2016, 12:47:27 AM
I can't remember if we discussed this with him (Maybe whYME or CITH could chime in here), but he's living the "good life", relatively. He has money, he has a TV, he has food... Plus he goes back to Israel pretty often too.

We'll be discussing the Jews in Cuba in more detail in the next segment.
Cool! Looking forward to the next segment then. Thanks again for taking the time to share it.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yaalili on November 28, 2016, 07:54:40 AM
Fascinating read, thanks!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Dawie on November 28, 2016, 11:25:20 AM
[Something Fishy]
Once it got dark we began making our way back home for the night. As we were crossing the Malecon, my belt buckle decided it had had enough and popped right off. Being that a 40 oz HydroFlash was on a carabiner off my belt, the next logical thing happened: my pants dropped right down .

So there I was, in the middle of Havana's busiest street, traffic flying past me in both directions, quite literally standing in my underwear. It was like a bad dream come true. Not an experience I'll ever forget, I'll tell you that.


O . M. G.
POIDH :P
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on November 28, 2016, 11:26:40 AM
O . M. G.
POIDH :P

Over my dead body ;D
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Dawie on November 28, 2016, 11:31:00 AM
Over my dead body ;D
Which means CITH and whYme  have them?
I smell some blackmail
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yaalili on November 28, 2016, 01:31:04 PM
POIDH :P

Lol :)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on November 28, 2016, 01:40:49 PM
Which means CITH and whYme  have them?
I smell some blackmail
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Emkay on November 28, 2016, 02:36:51 PM


Apparently keeping onions in fans is a minhag hamedina here:

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5701/30245252374_0bfafb9dfd_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/6002H4)


Someone here doesn't spend to much time in the kitchen I can tell :) . Those Sir, are not onions but Garlic.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Iz on November 28, 2016, 02:43:58 PM
Someone here doesn't spend to much time in the kitchen I can tell :) . Those Sir, are not onions but Garlic.
שום דבר
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on November 28, 2016, 02:46:44 PM
שום דבר
::)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: aygart on November 28, 2016, 05:40:28 PM
BTW that is for an 8 track not a tape.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Work-for-ur-muny on November 30, 2016, 02:43:44 PM
 >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(
I'm guilty again of reading a Fishy TR before it's completely done!  >:(

You should be BANNED from writing incomplete TRs!  ;D

Excellent excellent stuff! Where was I?  :-\

P.S. I like how I can click on every picture and see the info of which camera settings were used to shoot it.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Work-for-ur-muny on November 30, 2016, 02:44:20 PM
שום דבר
Pun appreciated.  :)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: enwhycee on December 07, 2016, 09:13:58 AM
Awesome pics!!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: GTR on December 07, 2016, 09:32:14 AM
Great TR & pics.  enwhycee have fun brotha!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: moisheyb on December 19, 2016, 03:10:23 PM
Wow really fun and cool trip...can't wait for the rest
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Crazy tools on March 06, 2017, 12:24:36 AM
Any eta?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on March 06, 2017, 04:35:38 PM
Any eta?

Hoping to have the next segment out pretty soon. My TR backlog is getting ridiculous, it's time I got going :D.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: shulem92 on March 06, 2017, 07:52:57 PM
Hoping to have the next segment out pretty soon. My TR backlog is getting ridiculous, it's time I got going :D.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: mmgfarb on March 06, 2017, 08:26:26 PM
Hoping to have the next segment out pretty soon. My TR backlog is getting ridiculous, it's time I got going :D.
Get an intern
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on March 06, 2017, 08:41:48 PM
Get an intern

LOL, or outsource to India.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: mmgfarb on March 06, 2017, 10:45:03 PM
LOL, or outsource to India.
Lol, you do want us to be able to read them right?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: 12HRS on March 06, 2017, 11:32:56 PM
Lol, you do want us to be able to read them right?

he was talking about outsourcing his real job  ;)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on March 06, 2017, 11:46:52 PM
he was talking about outsourcing his real job  ;)

ROFL ;D;D;D
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on April 07, 2017, 12:38:01 AM
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.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: shulem92 on April 07, 2017, 01:46:56 AM
Two more segments pretty much done, just waiting on some small changes. Should hopefully be posted pretty soon.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: jj1000 on April 07, 2017, 08:11:02 AM
Where do I sign up for my free paper towel?

What does this  (http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/111469) have to do with Cuba?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: lunatic on April 13, 2017, 12:46:31 AM
Two more segments pretty much done, just waiting on some small changes. Should hopefully be posted pretty soon.

Bump
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on April 13, 2017, 01:09:32 AM
Bump

Paging @whYME...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on April 16, 2017, 03:05:33 AM
Paging @whYME...
It's Pesach and I'm in California (https://emoji.tapatalk-cdn.com/emoji12.png)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on April 16, 2017, 12:14:44 PM
It's Pesach and I'm in California (https://emoji.tapatalk-cdn.com/emoji12.png)

Perfect, now you have three extra hours to finish it!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on April 16, 2017, 01:28:03 PM
LOL
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on April 25, 2017, 11:00:56 PM
Bump
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Work-for-ur-muny on April 26, 2017, 08:01:11 PM
Bump
+1
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on April 27, 2017, 06:11:43 AM
Bump
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: lunatic on May 01, 2017, 08:14:26 PM
 Seriously... How long do these small changes take. It's been  three weeks  ::)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 01, 2017, 08:20:13 PM
Seriously... How long do these small changes take. It's been  three weeks  ::)

...Of which 2 were Pesach and 1 had whYME with the flu or something.

Also, seriously :o?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on May 01, 2017, 08:22:44 PM
Seriously... How long do these small changes take. It's been  three weeks  ::)

+2!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on May 01, 2017, 09:57:38 PM
...Of which 2 were Pesach and 1 had whYME with the flu or something.

Also, seriously :o?

Stop with the excuses Mr. Fishy !
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: username on May 01, 2017, 10:52:41 PM
Or we will demand a refund!!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 01, 2017, 11:00:46 PM
Or we will demand a refund!!

I feel like demanding 1099s ;D
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: A3 on May 01, 2017, 11:02:25 PM
...Of which 2 were Pesach and 1 had whYME with the flu or something.

Also, seriously :o?
Or something perfect for staying inside and getting it did?

Refua shelama btw
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 02, 2017, 10:58:49 AM

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:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/589/32164415216_c651ddce9d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/RbDd8t)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/267/32203530935_078af97ca2_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/ng5B86)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/586/32202613725_c166a13e0c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0M5D5u)

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

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/763/32202603705_92a6930f33_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/26573S)

The sky beginning to brighten:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/360/31362184154_ccbe3238d5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Q5VX8K)

Early to rise:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/317/32164373926_f0ce13908a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/YqXW6j)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/376/31362173294_90d5891884_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/g2N8sc)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5768/25336502739_3111fb51b8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/o1X235)

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

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/656/23253170114_8799a2b7a0_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/BqNzm7)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/302/31826857240_cbb081a584_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Goy89S)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/453/31826847680_d362865237_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/2KVE1L)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8107/28157580474_0c756b2647_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/PDrJ1t)

In Cuba, does Dora teach kids English?

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/420/32084198401_d0acc38731_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/ff0aR1)

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:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/738/32053755232_869610840d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/58d72u)

First light over Vedado:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/655/31826827240_ba9a473e78_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Gf71b1)

And on Old Havana:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/341/32053748322_001e31a093_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/gi251k)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5640/30670635980_daa9e8e93e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/D24958)

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

Crab:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/718/32084168381_721eb2f44e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/j91F37)

Great white egrets:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/522/32084157631_a9711c54e5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Xjcuno)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/474/31361046924_c9c6b9aa86_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Rv5rv0)

Humans. Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8563/28774864915_82a4071dd2_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KQJGQB)

Good catch:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/378/31393126543_fe7bf75a0a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/PQ6YNt)

Having some Photoshop fun with early morning traffic:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2860/34149340635_b14fa7dc60_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/28h9TP)

Havana in a nutshell, photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8868/28160084313_b0bf5c6935_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/JUpMZ4)

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:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/632/31392145483_93d00edc4f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/y422BM)

A recently collapsed building:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/644/31392140283_22df341f66_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/JehhD5)

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:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/377/31362062284_70461ae257_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/2q2251)

Early morning cleanup:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/572/32085180471_4c09efb36f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/D246uV)

Pretty building, way past its prime:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/260/32084134011_c81e8728ec_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/JuQyD9)

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

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/713/31826783880_908154a02f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/4pcYj6)

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:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/547/32084115771_a78bd49b9e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/A1zL4u)

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:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/368/32202485395_828fd3c7e6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/B9T5U3)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/588/31826758910_9e241e139a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/37i2p1)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/384/31392054733_e3ac15da36_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/62bK2z)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/524/32164254416_4595567461_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/n403GA)

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

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/693/32164240396_7d970049a3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/40mB0v)

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:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8724/28160076843_e63d393840_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/JUpKLg)

Bracelets. Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8653/28774857155_460fcb05b1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/961d4x)

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

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2925/33328657984_4e2824b438_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5rdo0o)

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:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2863/34238682722_67c0291018_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/V0oX30)

[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...

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/721/20876686709_6374590206_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9YS794)

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

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8164/28490634220_4c64b6d408_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KpBWXo)

Some lovely colors:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/753/32164232396_7f6c62c084_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/X6Ash8)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/739/31826729940_eb3129d3e6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/pr6G0M)

Another crumbling interior:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/363/31360985974_7fd444efc4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/x6tk09)

"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:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/765/31360978694_27976a13c4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5Y7rN4)

Lovely colors and patinas on some buildings:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/348/32202437485_f7c4b5cd7f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/gyT3Z0)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/726/32084039361_77f8b87fc3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/EmGq77)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/259/32084021371_73f77d52c3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/k86dsP)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/284/32053574152_8e868276d6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/z248iK)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2812/34013181150_c88e69ab26_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/K94jn5)

A pharmacy:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/615/31826659360_39f9272740_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/59hDK0)

Pineapples, anyone?

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/767/31391970903_dd2d709a05_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/904179)

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

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/468/31826625290_31cb14b7e6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0d5kg6)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/658/32083962051_00c211b76d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/ZfU08b)

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

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/528/31826605730_edf8f78631_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/d1Ro4Y)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/611/32053507232_430a961071_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/A4zN7R)

We watched the traffic for a while:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/654/32202328755_5f57943e05_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/u05349)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/693/31391912143_59b55f8ca7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/1PXc3x)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/320/31391900633_1bb7bd4489_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/PPZGo6)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/743/32053459752_a609db6a69_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/254CoF)

Avocados for sale, photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8077/28774863265_124edf37ec_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/N2VjWU)

Quite the random decal:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/340/31826535970_530574ed66_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/T60Cs2)

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

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2863/34239907582_e376c7dea3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/PMVmA3)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2833/34239907212_47e67d6109_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/Y76JB5)

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:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/458/31360764134_baf819e2ee_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/btQ9F0)

[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:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2892/34011564611_db26a992f2_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/2AnC92)

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.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/460/32164991606_4301a11f1c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/05jpQ3)
(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.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/284/31827516430_41307b4299_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/gMj3f8)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on May 02, 2017, 11:02:03 AM
WOW!

It doesn't get better than this, particularly the end.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on May 02, 2017, 12:10:13 PM
Wow, what a day! Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Mordyk on May 02, 2017, 12:14:45 PM
Wow, what a day! Thanks for sharing.
+10000  amazing TR!!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: pixi on May 02, 2017, 12:28:52 PM

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.............................................
WOW Amazing . such sharp photos .
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: username on May 02, 2017, 12:45:29 PM
WOW! Thank you all for the updates. I see in one of the earlier pictures a bike without a tire?!?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: tageed-lee on May 02, 2017, 12:50:46 PM
Amazing Amazing!! Thanks for sharing!!

I felt sad seeing Lazer walk away....   :(
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: ExGingi on May 02, 2017, 12:53:14 PM
While everything is fascinating, the last bit about Lazer Shklar, is the most amazing.

Anything else about Jewish life in Cuba we can look forward to in next installment(s)?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: 12HRS on May 02, 2017, 01:08:19 PM
In felt sad seeing Lazer walk away....   :(

+1 Anything we can do to help him get out?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on May 02, 2017, 03:44:39 PM
Stunning! Was worth the wait.  ;)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on May 02, 2017, 03:45:55 PM
Only one person liked the post. Why are people so lazy to like?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on May 02, 2017, 04:57:20 PM
Only one person liked the post. Why are people so lazy to like?

Done! :)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 02, 2017, 05:14:42 PM
WOW! Thank you all for the updates. I see in one of the earlier pictures a bike without a tire?!?

Yup, I remember noticing that at the time. I was not very surprised, considering the state of everything else there.


Amazing Amazing!! Thanks for sharing!!
I felt sad seeing Lazer walk away....   :(

Indeed.


While everything is fascinating, the last bit about Lazer Shklar, is the most amazing.
Anything else about Jewish life in Cuba we can look forward to in next installment(s)?

With Alan Gross having just been released shortly before we went, we didn't feel very comfortable going to the shul, so consequently we didn't have much interaction with the local Jews. We did have someone approach us later that day claiming to be involved in the shul, but he was being uncomfortably pushy and aggressive and we weren't completely convinced that he was who he claimed he was. Lazer Shklar was our only real - and very meaningful - meeting with a local Jew.


Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 02, 2017, 05:16:21 PM
WOW!
It doesn't get better than this, particularly the end.
Wow, what a day! Thanks for sharing.
+10000  amazing TR!!
WOW Amazing . such sharp photos .
Stunning! Was worth the wait.  ;)

Thanks!

Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: cholent on May 02, 2017, 05:33:25 PM
Incredible as always. I really enjoyed, looking forward to the next installment!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: yakov116 on May 02, 2017, 06:01:51 PM
Unreal
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on May 02, 2017, 07:12:12 PM
Only one person liked the post. Why are people so lazy to like?

You're extremely generous with likes today.  ;)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yaalili on May 02, 2017, 07:25:08 PM
WOW!

It doesn't get better than this, particularly the end.

+1 this is a masterpiece!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Work-for-ur-muny on May 02, 2017, 09:55:19 PM
Wow! Just wow! Very sad ending, though.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 03, 2017, 12:58:19 PM
[Something Fishy] Ah, Cuba. The national Capitol, an arguably beautiful building, has been closed for years due to danger of collapse. The Gran Teatro, home of the National Theater and the world-famous Cuban Ballet, is in the same state. Both are set on the main boulevard in Havana, and are themselves surrounded by crumbling buildings.

The Capitol and its environs:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/273/32203240095_cdf18a7764_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/h8C37R)

On one side of the street, the Gran Teatro on the left and fancy hotels on the right:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/368/32083882981_96e27e20db_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/769Q7b)

On the other side of the same street, this:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/552/32165237216_9a24248d72_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/EbR2As)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/670/31392819693_88b1615129_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/MM9n41)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8290/28490633170_b7ddedfe53_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/616567)

Juxtaposed:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/336/32203500695_a0bcc14b07_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9ZiCe3)

The Capitolio itself:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/486/31827442710_7ca79c03b0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/79X7f3)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4194/33610066963_84fe977de3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/5RB1Y8)

If the building seems familiar, you're right: the Capitolio is a near-perfect copy of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, but was purposely built twelve feet taller (not that they're bitter, or anything):

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/621/32054811042_9c15801fec_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/D441J3)

We hung around in front of the Capitol for a good while doing some people- and car-watching... Can't get enough of that here.

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4193/34299751461_0296cc497a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/UfXc8c)

Cool taxi:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/304/31361798724_8694fc18a7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7Fo4f0)

Traffic:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/307/32203201695_9d74ea80ff_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0b66j7)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/377/32164947726_995aa27b45_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/L555FK)

"Kid Chocolate" ice cream:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/327/31392823863_81e6ec01d3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8kycF7)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8866/28157577664_075ba83ccc_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/JUbWQY)

Chillin'. Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8574/28160081443_f9524346bf_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/9vqm8H)

Some more cool cars:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/637/31392802473_6481ccb17c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3Z17zs)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/672/31392778003_a32a03d60c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/tL94An)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/297/32085074911_b095813bed_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QTfoWK)

Selling drinks:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/609/32164867286_94db0afbd1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/37713w)

No idea how this got here:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/519/32165283146_358fabc830_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/1567q2)

The construction barrier around the Capitol was decorated with old film scenes. This "Brooklyn" one caught my eye:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/568/31361628024_01f3e49116_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/NmEk12)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5624/31037317376_a9c7e1bae9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/v56856)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5476/30958877271_3e3c5e6dd8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/gF662a)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5514/31073111865_3331b812e7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/5186gr)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4188/34289348341_35c92bf4c2_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/E30FR6)

Popcorn vendor:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/386/32084678051_b387a5187a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/VWBmtt)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5669/30958868601_dfae984acf_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/oV8U59)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5693/31037298256_143c1ce46a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/XU9614)

We struck up a conversation with a truck driver and some pedicab owners:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/437/31361609844_012f2d0b5c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/58Nq86)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/511/32164857816_b19bd141d7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/W6xgD0)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/642/31827382810_58e123b33e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3k0ETg)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5684/31073124545_71d03ab4d1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/birdsongimages/pRS6K4)

They were fascinated by my large shoes; they'd never seen something like this. We were actually attracting a small crowd, everyone wanting to take a picture:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/499/32054166342_237ea15376_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/51DZ54)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5694/25336505219_5bd3b075b5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/56e93U)

By and by we meandered over to the big taxi area. This is the place where those who own classic American cars in good condition all gather to give tourists a tour of the city (but as mentioned in an earlier segment, rather flag one down on the Malecon and you'd get a far better price).

(There will be lots of classic car pictures here. You have been warned )

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/280/32203187105_a60ff3c123_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/K265tL)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8086/28160079833_9951588f94_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/JUpLDP)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/356/32084442281_b5d07e3c41_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/1P3a8i)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/318/32084877361_a2bb50827a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/e0PP2y)

A stunning 1958 Edsel Pacer, one of the most beautiful cars ever produced:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/471/32164527396_76c03a397c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/50q6V7)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/469/32203455065_6d89a35f6a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/rP8JQZ)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/557/32165179576_b5e419f5c4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/z41907)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/326/31393059233_549aa48fe4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/BzNbrQ)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/629/32084500751_b5f4521281_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/F4DcE5)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/707/32054234772_dab7e563de_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/E1728v)

Edsel interior:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/727/31827030320_194028409d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/pt4JB5)

1952 Chevy Special Deluxe. This car illustrates a very common fact about these cars: while the outside may be meticulously maintained, the interiors are usually an entirely different story - note the loose wires, the cobbled-on tachometer, the zip ties holding the steering column in place, and the beach chair and hat covering a large hole in the seat :D:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/770/32202884625_685f2f6c43_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/gU7174)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/592/31827623720_5714eb1114_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/p2h79D)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/729/31392657303_df04f3c4ec_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8PQ5c4)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/704/31827252880_0b9340cb8a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9u48SA)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8689/28160079663_fe6f0e851d_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/JUpLAT)

Old Ford:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/322/32203355575_c0d58ef5da_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/sD97k8)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/402/32054190092_fefc9d9df8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/z42ju2)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/564/31393005713_aac884c4fe_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/rXL001)

1958 DeSoto. This particular specimen is a mashup of two different models, the Sportsman and the Firesweep (my best guess is that it was a Sportsman originally). For good measure, the steering wheel was cannibalized off a Mercedes:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/349/32165121196_831bcb2f47_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/6Qjan0)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/468/31361412724_55634749bc_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/088t0M)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/573/31827678420_fae0f4260d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/1LteR8)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/647/31392388383_b5518f131e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/QZX08d)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8744/28743424536_86eaf343bd_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/iNe2xV)

The driver insisted on climbing in and posing for a picture:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/722/32054154772_5995475069_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5418Qh)

Late-1950's Ford Fairlane:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/698/32053992592_dc907f4dc4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Q1136J)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/429/32084456071_6aa186ff4e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/eZrG55)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/464/31827603350_a68635890d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/4a0259)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/528/32084469921_03e25e8f5d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/424E5b)

Some cute Chevys:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/694/31392626633_f5e64111f8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9C2sD2)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4185/33610061343_d95ea3321f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/HqvKL5)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/718/31361530134_7f18de6480_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/z4W326)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/274/32164739576_beb0edd5cc_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/J59Q3B)

This guy seemed to be running the entire taxi operation:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/538/31827878710_d89aebffe6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3z1qU2)

Discussing something with the DeSoto Sportsman slash Firesweep slash Mercedes driver:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/744/31361389824_f4c0ac1825_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/20h58g)

A statue of Jose Marti in the park next to all the cars. Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4174/34378855276_5a3a8843bd_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/jj68W0)

Rat on dog. Don't ask:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/284/32164688896_844cc236c0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/dc2931)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8491/28743423956_e0bac95913_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KMXyx7)

Having seen enough cars for the day (finally!), we made or way to our sunset location.

I remember the exact moment that I decided I need to go and see Cuba: it was around 2010, and I came across a wonderful picture showing the Cuban Capitol at dusk, from a high vantage point, and the street in front lined with classic cars in all colors of the rainbow. It was as I was staring at that picture that I know that I must go and see that for myself.

So when after many years the trip to Cuba was a reality, I set out to find the vantage point whence that picture was taken, and figure out how to get up there myself. It took many weeks of searching and reading before I had the spot pinned down: Hotel Parque Central. The problem was that rooms here were north of $500 a night, let alone a room on one of the higher floors, which I'd need for this shOot. No way I am shelling that out.

But it didn't take long and I hit paydirt: Their rooftop bar should provide me with the vantage point I need. So long as we act like we belong, we should be able to get onto the roof without anyone asking any questions.

So this how we found ourselves now, sneaking into the rooftop pool and bar of the most expensive hotel in all of Cuba.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/711/31361285454_86f8e97f8e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/251u45)

We marched into the hotel, and were hit with a literal wall of cold air, and a figurative wall of opulence. For all we know, we could be in the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Poor, crumbling, Cuba was on that side of the door; here is only luxury and comfort for politicians and rich westerners:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/643/31392259043_275ce88b95_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/1RLrJ5)

We took the elevators to the highest floor, and from there the stairs to the roof. We sat down at a table by the bar, where a smartly-dressed waited appeared instantly and took our orders - two beers and a coke. Needless to say, these were by far the most expensive drinks we had bought in Cuba, but it was absolutely worth it: we now belonged, officially.

CITH and his beer. Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4156/33610330413_9660093d29_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/68PMv6)

Fiddler on the roof. Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4179/33609354783_4f94ae469a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/TcWJfc)

And indeed, the view from the top was exceptional.

Parque Central (Central Park) below us, with the Capitolio and Gran Teatro to the right and the Museo de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) on the left:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/347/32053961992_66ca92d41c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/oX95wh)

Capitolio:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/424/32053946812_01a57f4605_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/2KMXWA)

Museo de Bellas Artes:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2845/33374765723_32436bf52b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/J819N9)

The sun setting over Old Havana:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/399/31827569100_42cab0431d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/sW95wf)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/722/31392292403_443798b623_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/6ad58R)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/505/31826959550_eb8fde73c1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/ng68m0)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2948/34145236646_fb8b45b602_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3gmvv2)

Twilight:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/468/32165019656_04daa27cd3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/23128Q)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/371/32202685255_c123af5a83_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/D22C08)

Blue hour:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/645/31361846654_277568c31f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/TfgU71)

Car trouble down below. Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4165/34035787560_15a7959814_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/68324L)

Looking down into the open-air atrium from above. Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4190/34261160172_ee93eca15a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/WVf0a3)

...and through the skylight into the main lobby. Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4161/33588252524_9630ed9d02_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/qRV00c)

Once it got dark we headed back down and attempted something even more daunting: obtaining an internet card so we can contact the outside world for the first time in three days. Internet access is strictly for guests only, so it took a lot of sweet talking by whYME to get the agent to sell us a 10 CUC card. Eventually she gave in, but clearly stated that she can't guarantee that we would be able to log in, since we weren't guests.

Worth a shot (click for a larger version):

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/259/32053879002_d25e35c114_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/97n0x1)

Lo and behold, out of our three phones, we were able to get two connected, and one was even able to make Whatsapp calls. We spent a few minutes in the lobby catching up with news back home, as well as reassuring our very worried wives that we have so far managed to evade arrest (little did we know what would happen that very night ...).

Heading back home, and stopping at a hole-in-the-wall pizza shop (seriously, check out that ceiling) for some cold drinks:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/768/32053863532_2b25004551_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0X16m9)

Interesting menu:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/544/32202643005_d07db4b476_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7b9V43)

And so another day came to a close. We were off to bed early; at 1 o'clock Elvis and his 1953 Dodge are picking us up for a trip to Vinales.

Hopefully.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on May 03, 2017, 12:59:45 PM
First a like, then scrolling back up to read.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yaalili on May 03, 2017, 01:05:54 PM
(little did we know what would happen that very night ...).

How long do we have to wait till next part? Story line and pictures are great!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 03, 2017, 01:09:04 PM
First a like, then scrolling back up to read.

ALOL

How long do we have to wait till next part? Story line and pictures are great!

You may have heard this bit before ;D... but done from my end, waiting on the others now.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on May 03, 2017, 01:12:39 PM
ALOL

You may have heard this bit before ;D... but done from my end, waiting on the others now.

What an amazing installment! And that cliffhanger to end it all....
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on May 03, 2017, 01:23:11 PM
Another cliffhanger. Can't wait for the next installment, whenever it may come.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: 12HRS on May 03, 2017, 01:29:27 PM
You may have heard this bit before ;D... but done from my end, waiting on the others now.

Don't take them on any more trips till they do their part!

Love the TR so far
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: cholent on May 03, 2017, 01:41:32 PM
Love it! The pic of the Capitol with the flowers is my fave
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: springles on May 03, 2017, 01:57:47 PM
love the story and pictures. To me 2 pictures stand out. The blue hour one from the rooftop bar and the picture of the blue car driving with everything else blurred showing movement. How do you get that picture?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: ExGingi on May 03, 2017, 02:00:25 PM
Classic car lovers and nostalgia geeks paradise!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: 3yummyboys on May 03, 2017, 02:44:22 PM


Lo and behold, out of our three phones, we were able to get two connected, and one was even able to make Whatsapp calls. We spent a few minutes in the lobby catching up with news back home, as well as reassuring our very worried wives that we have so far managed to evade arrest (little did we know what would happen that very night ...).



Hopefully.
[/quote]

Ahhh I can't deal with the suspense! Another awesome installment, thanks for taking the time to share!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on May 03, 2017, 03:03:26 PM
...the picture of the blue car driving with everything else blurred showing movement. How do you get that picture?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BI71YeGjlpq/
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: ExGingi on May 03, 2017, 05:00:22 PM
I know you said

Rat on dog. Don't ask:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/284/32164688896_844cc236c0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/dc2931)

So I won't. But I do expect an explanation or story behind this.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on May 03, 2017, 05:05:28 PM
But I do expect an explanation or story behind this.
The guy wants money from tourists because he has a rat on a dog.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 03, 2017, 05:13:45 PM
The guy wants money from tourists because he has a rat on a dog.

The guy couldn't fathom why we wouldn't pay him a CUC to see that. In the meantime the rat kept on trying to escape, and every time the owner caught it he asked for a CUC again.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on May 03, 2017, 05:27:59 PM
I think I eventually gave him a CUC just to make him go away. (which reminds me about a picture I had planned to put in the day 2 part 1 segment but totally forgot about.)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: User6669 on May 03, 2017, 06:03:42 PM
These's photos are just Sick! I love'em!

ETA: Pick your own shoe size.  ;)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: ExGingi on May 03, 2017, 06:08:26 PM
I think I eventually gave him a CUC just to make him go away. (which reminds me about a picture I had planned to put in the day 2 part 1 segment but totally forgot about.)
It's been quite a while, so I had to search back to remind myself about the currencies. To help others, I copied the explanation and pasted into the Wiki.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: username on May 03, 2017, 06:55:07 PM
The guy couldn't fathom why we wouldn't pay him a CUC to see that. In the meantime the rat kept on trying to escape, and every time the owner caught it he asked for a CUC again.
You could have charged for looking at your shoes...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: ExGingi on May 03, 2017, 06:56:48 PM
You could should have charged for looking at your shoes...
FTFY. One price for looking, Another for a photo, a third for a comparison photo or selfie. (though I would assume any of the above could get you arrested). But on second thought maybe you could have bartered with the rat on dog guy.  :)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Work-for-ur-muny on May 03, 2017, 08:14:15 PM
Awe-stricken! Where was I?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: aygart on May 03, 2017, 08:18:13 PM
These pictures of Havana keep reminding me of how New York is described in Atlas Shrugged.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: springles on May 04, 2017, 09:38:56 AM
https://www.instagram.com/p/BI71YeGjlpq/
Thanks, i gotta practice that. I love that effect
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Work-for-ur-muny on May 04, 2017, 05:15:24 PM
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=77845.0 (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=77845.0)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 04, 2017, 05:17:25 PM
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=77845.0 (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=77845.0)

I'm..... honored?

;D
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Work-for-ur-muny on May 04, 2017, 05:21:10 PM
I'm..... honored?

;D
Why the question mark?  :P
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: rangersin4 on May 10, 2017, 01:40:30 AM
TR is one of the best things I've read on DDF!
Any chance u can finish before I spend 2 days in Havana mid-June??
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 10, 2017, 07:40:29 AM
TR is one of the best things I've read on DDF!
Any chance u can finish before I spend 2 days in Havana mid-June??

Thanks!

I would say it's a distinct possibility. If it isn't posted yet by the beginning of June, PM me and I'll send you the (nearly-finished) draft.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: springles on May 10, 2017, 09:47:03 AM
Thanks!

I would say it's a distinct possibility. If it isn't posted yet by the beginning of June, PM me and I'll send you the (nearly-finished) draft.
I am leaving tomorrow, can you send me the draft?  ;)
Cant wait to find out what happens next after that foreshadowing
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 10, 2017, 09:58:18 AM
I am leaving tomorrow, can you send me the draft?  ;)
Cant wait to find out what happens next after that foreshadowing

(https://media.giphy.com/media/zqYQRRSsUCYGk/giphy.gif)

;D
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Work-for-ur-muny on May 10, 2017, 05:25:01 PM
@rangersin4 PM sent...  :P
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: rangersin4 on May 11, 2017, 08:46:58 AM
@rangersin4 PM sent...  :P
Not received.  ??? I'm going to trust SF that it'll be published in time.  ;D
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on May 11, 2017, 09:20:03 AM
SF, I'm going right now. Can you send me the draft?...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 11, 2017, 09:21:06 AM
SF, I'm going right now. Can you send me the draft?...

(https://media.giphy.com/media/zqYQRRSsUCYGk/giphy.gif)

;D

Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: aygart on May 23, 2017, 11:12:35 PM
https://www.yahoo.com/news/cubas-first-luxury-hotel-opens-havana-003430353.html
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 23, 2017, 11:30:12 PM
https://www.yahoo.com/news/cubas-first-luxury-hotel-opens-havana-003430353.html

"Now the hotel, jointly owned by Kempinski and the military-controlled Cuban tour operator Gaviota, charges between $440 and $2,485 a night."

Shameful, IMO.


Here's the hotel under construction on the near left:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/468/32165019656_04daa27cd3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/23128Q)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: rangersin4 on June 06, 2017, 07:59:46 PM
@SF, it's a week into June already... ;)
PS- I've booked a full day car with guide from this guy: http://havanatours.wixsite.com/blexie
A few people on Trip Advisor had really good experiences with them. I'll let u DDFers know how it goes. It's 130CUC for the whole day and they'll take u anywhere u want. We plan to stay within Havana.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Work-for-ur-muny on June 06, 2017, 08:07:39 PM
The next person who mentions the UPS method bumps this thread without an actual update should be taken out back and shot mercilessly.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on June 06, 2017, 08:15:20 PM
@SF, it's a week into June already... ;)
PS- I've booked a full day car with guide from this guy: http://havanatours.wixsite.com/blexie
A few people on Trip Advisor had really good experiences with them. I'll let u DDFers know how it goes. It's 130CUC for the whole day and they'll take u anywhere u want. We plan to stay within Havana.

Well, as promised, check your PM. Enjoy ;D.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on June 06, 2017, 08:17:15 PM


Well I'm still waiting for a certain someone (hint: his name rhymes with Shcmyme) to finish it up...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: username on June 06, 2017, 11:18:21 PM
hey @rangersin4
you can forward it to my pm..
Ill even throw in a few likes...
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: rangersin4 on June 06, 2017, 11:59:24 PM
hey @rangersin4
you can forward it to my pm..
Ill even throw in a few likes...
Can't. Had to sign an NDA  ;)
It's EPIC though, will be well worth the wait!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: thaber on June 15, 2017, 10:16:00 PM
http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/338059-trump-to-ban-individual-educational-trips-to-cuba

Glad you made it
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: rangersin4 on June 15, 2017, 11:30:27 PM
http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/338059-trump-to-ban-individual-educational-trips-to-cuba

Glad you made it
I'm going next week, but I called up Norwegian (I'm going via cruise) and they said they're not going to be affected, at least not immediately.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on July 13, 2017, 01:58:46 AM
[Something Fishy] So we went to sleep at 11... and were up at 12:30. Grabbed our gear, some food, and went downstairs hoping against hope that Elvis is there for us.

Lo and behold, he was.

We packed into his '53 Dodge and were off. The camera gear in the trunk, whYME and CITH in the back, and me upfront because it supposedly has more room. Ha! I spent the rest of the trip scrunched up, with my knees hitting the stick shift whenever I moved .

In any case, the car was epic. Side-view mirrors? Seat belts? Meh, who needs those? But a color TV playing non-stop Salsa music videos, jerry-rigged into the dash, that we had. The seats were covered in plastic like your grandmother's old couch, but that was not an issue due to the ice-cold AC.

Until, of course, the AC died, and before long we were sitting in a pool of sweat. What now? We roll down the windows of course! Elvis pulls off to the side of the road, unloads half the trunk, and emerges with a pair of pliers in hand. Opening the passenger door, he sticks the pliers into a hole on the side and starts turning like mad. Slowly, agonizingly, the window begins to lower. The entire process is repeated on whYME's window, but on CITH's no amount of turning makes the glass budge a millimeter. Poor CITH is still sweaty to this day.

Leaving Havana:

(https://media.giphy.com/media/l4FGlHhRJUcaNIv0k/giphy.gif)

According to Google, the ride from Havana to Vinales should take two and a half hours. Problem is of course that Google doesn't know that the transport in question is a jalopy from 1953, so we ended up put-putting along for over four hours each way.

But regardless of all this, the ride was a ton of fun. Elvis was fantastic and kept up a constant prattle. It wasn't long and we got seriously overtired and were attempting to sing along with the Salsa on the top of our lungs, to Elvis' great amusement.

So there we are, driving down the highway in the middle of absolutely nowhere, not a light or car to be seen for miles around, when Elvis lets loose an incredible collection of Spanish profanities. The weak beam of an ultra-cheap LED flashlight was shining in his face, and we could just make out the silhouette of a blacked-out police car on the shoulder.

Uh oh.

This is not good. Not good at all.

The officer orders Elvis out of the car and warns the three of us to remain inside. The two of them go off to the side, and ten minutes go by... Fifteen... Twenty... Every now and then Elvis comes in to rummage under his seat for a different document.

Elvis is now hauling our camera bags out of the trunk, one by one. Long minutes tick by, as the officer closely examines every item in our bags.

In the meantime us hapless Americans are left to ponder our fate all alone in the dark. Would they send us to Guantanamo? The gulag? Would we get to call our wives? I had promised mine to stay out of trouble!

And then all of a sudden Elvis climbs back in the car with a huge smile:

"Eh, only 20 CUC!"

And off we went.

Turns out that we were about to be hauled in for questioning, under charges of "suspicious activity". (I mean, three Americans and a local guide out in a place and time where tourists really have no business being, and loaded down with $10k worth of camera gear... is that suspicious?) Eventually Elvis realized that this is not going to end well, so he decided to finish this in the typical Cuban fashion: a nice little bribe. Apparently what amounts to a cop's full month's wages was enough to "prove our innocence" and convince the law that we were on the up and up ...

This little adventure meant that we were running even later than we had already been, but before long we found ourselves in Vinales.

"Vinales" itself is a broad term for the entire region. The Vinales Valley is a large and very rural area where lots of Cuba's famous tobacco is grown; everything around here is even more primitive than Havana. If the capital is stuck in the 1950's, Vinales is still in the 1800's. Also in Vinales are a collection of stunningly beautiful karst formations called mogotes, which are basically tall, steep hills rising right up from the valley floor. These hills and the area around them form Vinales National Park (Parque Nacional Vińales). And to top it all off, the local village is also called Vinales.

It was around an hour before sunrise and on the outskirts of the village, when we had a very bemused Elvis pull off the road and position his car very precisely in some bushes. He had a good laugh watching these crazy photographers pull out cameras, set up tripods, and use their headlamps to light up his car. He had never seen anything remotely like this...

 [whYME] I don't think that's why he was laughing . I'm pretty sure he was laughing at me and CITH bumbling around still trying to figure out which way was up meanwhile Something Fishy had set up, taken his shot, packed up his gear and was all ready to move on to the next location .

Eventually we all managed to get our shots and were thrilled with the results.

Photo by Something Fishy:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5802/20875733978_9102b06315_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/xNHApU)

[Something Fishy] Crossing the road to get a shot of the Milky Way rising over some of the mogotes:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2920/34171504245_8fb7379c1f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/iVN89k)

I can't say I'm very happy with this picture, but some errant cows and the ever-closer sunrise meant that we couldn't spend as much time here as we would have liked.

A little bit further on we stopped yet again; the sky was really getting brighter now.

[whYME] To be clear, we stopped in middle of absolute nowhere. There was already enough light in the sky that we were able to make out that there was absolutely nothing around to take a picture of. With no foreground and no background and the sky seemingly too light for decent star shots, CITH and I were sure there was no shot to be had and didn't even even bother trying. Something Fishy, however, insisted that there was a shot to be had and set out prove us wrong.

It was about this time when I learnt never to question Something Fishy when he insists there's a shot to be had:

Photo by Something Fishy:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/688/21053637872_a17c121ee8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/ryJHs5)

[Something Fishy] While setting up this shot a number of farmers passed, heading to the fields on horseback. We got some odd looks (from the farmers; the horses didn't seem to mind us).

It was now time to head to our sunrise spot. I had done a ton of research and found the perfect spot, except for one detail: I had absolutely no idea where said spot was. Information was so scarce at the time we went, that there was literally nothing online about this other than some isolated pictures. My usual scouting tools were useless in this case; with nearly nothing to go on, and satellite maps of the area being very low-resolution, all I was able to figure out was a general direction.

But no worries! We had Elvis. I described what I was looking for, and he claimed he knew where it is. He led us through a maze of tiny, twisting roads for nearly half an hour before stopping... at a resturaunt.

"We're here!", he exclaimed cheerily.

Um... are we? There was nothing to see except for the slightly run-down restaurant and some trees. Where was the grand landscape I had ordered?

Meekly, we followed him around to the back of the building, onto a deck and into a little outdoor sitting area.

And... Boom! Unbelievably, this was the exact spot I had been looking for! I couldn't believe my eyes, and Elvis couldn't have been more smug. This guy was worth every penny .

We were up on the edge of a hill, and the entire valley was spread out in front of us. Fields, mogotes, palm forests, little farmhouses. Nothing stirring; only the first rays of the sun beginning to break through the morning mist.

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4214/35618152541_3f73cd7521_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/1Uxu25)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4110/35749479225_36b70282f1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/sS8q8f)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2903/34130919776_3132b41e29_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3R7qe3)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2888/33786919150_c87d2ee1dc_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/sUCN4i)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2889/34130904956_17b886c3f5_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/U12NWy)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2820/34171481465_3c6c5fd0ba_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/L617DR)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2920/33786893950_72c933022f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/B8Qh47)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2844/34171465305_f218bca530_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/4ff270)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2896/34130879836_1b61deb337_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/VA3h3C)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2935/34171454815_82b876cda5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/55g902)

CITH and whYME shooting:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2912/33337150034_76f95dca53_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/bit70D)

Group shot with Elvis:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2933/34139152186_58c8c27e89_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/4T828J)

Call the Cuban patent office! Here's how to weatherproof outdoor lighting:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2851/33786856220_c1ee69a3ec_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/nNd22S)

What a lovely setting for a meal:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2809/33786844390_f693053a36_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9ag9HB)

Once the sun was fully up we left the restaurant and headed back to watch the village wake up.

Our car waiting for us:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2844/34130849786_b774e825b5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/453k4v)

Red-legged thrush:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2924/33329031794_7e1a2c2e36_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/v7u3q0)

On the road into town, farmers off to work:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2897/34130838956_c5b0139607_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/VhF8oM)

Huge grass chicken coop:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2878/33786823570_fae744d05c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/6drq5M)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4198/34550082520_9bb54fcfd8_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/UD5cPW)

A typical road scene: some random chickens, a stray dog, and an old man cutting grass with a scythe:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2833/33328973304_885e52dffc_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/nk252L)

Seriously terrifying chicken:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2941/33328962294_bb6cf6b67a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/16501K)

The family out for a morning stroll:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2847/33360387813_98d9745b08_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5nh47z)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2864/33328994184_af94ed4217_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3898au)

Off to market. Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4253/35618147841_58bbb1eac5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/aSu84J)

2-ox power engine:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2881/34130768766_db317702a3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/LdJhH7)

First view of town:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2874/33360316603_c99e0a96e4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/t51a9g)

Some really pretty-looking houses:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2862/33337133974_b1eef8de32_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/876278)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2835/34040570511_1913e21fd0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/GnS0dJ)

Quiet moment:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2858/33786775250_8c1ed0cc04_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/PqhUUe)

Main street traffic:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2861/33360330813_c3c0c06e9b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/wfR81f)

(https://media.giphy.com/media/3o7btTIFzHWyZpz1aU/giphy.gif)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2827/33328820224_cea911201f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/K490kE)

All of the above pictures were taken out the window of the car while driving. Elvis, our ever-loyal guide, was making sure to point out every good photography subject: namely, girls. "Pretty girl over there! Take nice picture! No, no, no! Why you take picture of old horse, look other side! Girl!" After a while he realized that we weren't going to listen to him, so he resorted instead to shaking his head sadly and mumbling under his breath, "And they take picture of old horse!" every now and then.

Before long we had crossed through the entire village and were heading back into the fields. Suddenly... a police car on the side of the road. The officer gets out and motions us to pull over.

You have got to be kidding me.

Once again, cursing like a sailor, Elvis steps outside. This time however, he was back in two minutes later and laughing out loud. Turns out the cop had run out of gas, and wanted to know if we were able to spare some for him to siphon off. Being that our car ran on diesel and the police car on gasoline, it was a no-go from the start and so we were off the hook.

More than anything this little episode brought home how impoverished this little corner of the world is. The government here has so little money that police officers have to literally beg passersby for gas. And of course the officer had no radio nor cell phone... Simply unbelievable.

Between the village and the national park:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2877/33360295753_bdb8637267_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Zi8yC1)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2833/33328867404_c0df5bc44d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3x3Q52)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2938/33328860534_575dfea0c7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/B4995X)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2873/33360260583_f0be01f0a8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/H6U0t0)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2811/34040524791_33a56a0b58_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/e4S2Z7)

Welcome sign for the national park:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2833/33329026004_9d95bfde3a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5xPMMG)

The park's visitor center :

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2862/34130448476_45193b2f19_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/cf8Si5)
(Excuse the terrible GoPro quality...)

A farmer and his "tractor" (or in CITH's immortal words, "pulling oxen through the nose on a sled with no wheels"):

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2832/34013958082_ebcb09ee0a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0SoW5s)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2912/33786689720_915d5e3122_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/uDp51a)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2828/34013936652_69e8bdcb8c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/1E8E86)

Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8443/28160079273_2369167a33_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/JUpLua)

It was about now that Elvis declared that we have to check our fuel supply, and can we please help him unload the trunk? While this question didn't quite make an ounce of sense to us, we nevertheless humored him.

With the trunk empty, Elvis rolls back the carpet, produces a dipstick, and sticks it into a hole in the floor. "Quarto centimeters? Perfecto! Enough till Habana".

So that's a fuel gauge, Cuba style.

Elvis. Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4243/34094342644_d1d5804e7a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/TWNqeS)

Stopping in a lovely section of the national park among the mogotes:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/775/20442423363_c67cd16c5a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/x9qLge)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4123/35749471595_5d469346b4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/63r587)

Much of the mogotes are hollow, riddled with caves and caverns. Sometimes there would be these huge openings on the side of one, taking all sorts of fantastic shapes.

Angry face. Photo by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8699/28490631080_e3409cdfcb_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/J61411)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2920/33360005103_0dc00c2f2e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/u0a209)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2863/33543094593_c151480207_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5zxv89)

(https://media.giphy.com/media/3ohryiCuSjJDNxtTVe/giphy.gif)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2816/34130447526_063081f619_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8W05W7)

Elvis then took us to see the world-famous Mural de la Prehistoria, or Mural of Prehistory. This enormous monstrosity is painted on the side of Mogote Pita and is over 200k square feet in size. Rumor has it that Fidel himself dictated to the artist exactly which scenes should be painted.

It is difficult to describe it any better than Lonely Planet did, who've condensed their review (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/cuba/parque-nacional-vinales/attractions/mural-de-la-prehistoria/a/poi-sig/1117162/1315040) into a single succinct sentence:

Quote
The huge snail, dinosaurs, sea monsters and humans on the cliff symbolize the theory of evolution and are either impressively psychedelic or monumentally horrific, depending on your viewpoint.

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4284/35618134731_f4bb72b0ba_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/53bCu4)

These guys aren't having a very good day, I'm afraid:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2901/34130449956_a650ba49a5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/01V93z)

On the outskirts of Vinales we came across a propaganda billboard. There are no advertisements in Cuba to be seen; any and all space is reserved for promoting the revolution.

This particular sign points to a memorial for the first revolutionary militia, comprised of local peasants (Malagones). The top half features Fidel's immortal (and nonsensical) words: "If you triumph, there were militias in Cuba".

Whatever it was he was smoking at the time, I'd sure like some.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2905/34014011192_823ced452b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/45vV6D)

And with the Glorious Leader's words ringing in our ears, we left Vinales behind and began the long trek back to Havana.

Tons of people loading into a truck, heading to work in the tobacco fields:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2866/34130642016_38a5ebc669_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/im4hr0)

Hauling tobacco:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2925/34130633956_95174f511d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3q4A5H)

Another propaganda poster: "The Revolution is the Daughter of Culture and Ideas":

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2889/33786660410_c51f3fbd73_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5Lb1FW)

"With your permission, it will be easy!" Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4084/35749468635_2933c75862_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/5o4wue)

Aaaand then we were back in Havana. We stopped at Elvis' house for a moment so he could pick up something or other, and for us to stretch our legs.

A curious neighbor:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2893/34040469591_a54801dbbc_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/05ki0j)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4278/35361904140_11a1368ae9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/AE72b0)

Patina:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2943/33786643860_3811e43032_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/2x3E9g)

I'm not sure I want to know exactly what's happening here - looks like a nurse sitting against the column, while the guy in the background is doing something to his leg while surrounded by a bunch of bug-spray canisters:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2946/33328750634_4e719f04f4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5u4xBq)

Driving back to our apartment:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2852/34130586476_6d75f6b410_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3Kab1g)

Yep, Havana has a Chinatown. Go figure. We had wanted to visit it but hadn't had time; it wasn't until I looked over the GoPro footage after getting home when I realized that we had in fact driven right through it. We were simply too tired at the time to notice, having been up for nearly two days now:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2839/34130446106_1f5239b3f2_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/71s6z6)

Nearly home - there's the Capitolio on the right and the government cigar factory on the left (past the turquoise building):

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2850/34040738251_60c92deb56_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/52kM7H)

Elvis dropped us off at the front door, where we said our goodbyes and made up for him to pick us up tomorrow at 6 AM for the ride to the airport.

We were bone tired, but there's no rest for the weary: we wanted to get to the cigar shop before it closes, so we couldn't take a nap just yet.

The official government cigar factory and shop was just down the block, so we walked over. We figured we'll pay their inflated prices instead of buying on the black market for two reasons: supposedly these street cigars are of lesser quality, and we wanted an official receipt for US customs.

The store was dark, cool, and inviting, and sold both cigars and alcohol.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2812/33360142773_deb65edd91_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/843tCN)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2918/34040430181_e3c240d909_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0uAvNM)

Famous Cuban rum:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2807/34130550566_a99bb60b6c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/j566wE)

Only $950 a bottle? Meh:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2868/34040386721_c3f1e0ff87_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/88iw5y)

$1700 or bust:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2950/34171151275_a8c5e99447_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5e7H57)

The average Cuban makes $18.66 a month, so it only takes about eight years of work to be able to buy this bottle. Memesh a bargain!

My cigar haul:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2891/34040374461_690c8e5e5a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Z7gPRe)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2919/34130516696_399a0f3f6b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/KaQ11V)

The US customs allowance was $100 worth per person at the time. Considering that I don't smoke (to be honest these fancy cigars stink just as bad as regular cigarettes in my opinion), I didn't feel the need to buy more and figure out a way to smuggle them in.

My total however came out to slightly more than $100, so the clerk happily took my money and wrote me a "kosher" receipt.

Cigar store ledger. Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4210/35361901860_e9bec3618b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/1GZ8ED)

Back outside we ran into a guy who apparently follows the DD main site deals (http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/60673)  :

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2940/34171137105_602837767d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/x53q42)

If I was attracting attention yesterday with my shoes, that was nothing to what was happening today. Wherever we went in Havana people were calling out "Fidel and Che!" and running over to take a cellphone picture with us. Turns out that me in my Fidel cap, whYME in his Che beret, and with our height and beards looked pretty darn close to the real thing and the locals were getting a kick out of it.

Of course, this was tons of fun for us and we had a great time interacting with lots of different people. And we didn't even charge them a CUC for the picture, how very magnanimous of us.

More patina:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2899/33360055083_7b5bbd1558_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/4G9kMG)

Stopping into the saddest electronic store I have ever seen:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2931/34040319231_1629d0f721_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/U31H6D)

YO:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5648/20442415023_92b4402169_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/i371GV)

Yet another crumbling building:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2865/33786506140_a673369cda_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5mJ4S1)

Having finished our shopping, we then returned home to prepare for the rest of our afternoon.  Alex had offered insisted that he just had to give us a tour of the Morro Castle (and of course take us to someone who would sell us cheap, "authentic" cigars). We had finally relented and agreed to do his tour that afternoon. There was just one slight problem: having barely slept in three days we were utterly exhausted. We sat down on the couch and began to discuss whether to go or stand him up. Turns out it was quite an easy decision; apparently when you sit on a couch after not sleeping for a few days you don't stay awake very long .

We woke after a couple of hours nice and rested. By this time it was dark outside, so we had dinner and began packing up our stuff for the flight out tomorrow.

After a bit we went out again for a short walk, to get one last good look at this wonderful place.

A pedicab waiting for customers:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2806/33360024063_82c448ed03_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/A8R746)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4203/34094341774_cb36eb85bc_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/TWNpYS)

Photo by CITH:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4273/34550080980_86bac28bb9_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/UD5cno)

We got a beer at the same pizza shop we had stopped by the night before, where the guys got a kick out of something on CITH's phone:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2810/34171102195_5c3fa222de_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7st1w7)

We also paid our respects to what is likely the saddest burger in the universe. Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4216/35349331910_bd1a40e5df_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/VRGyPQ)

On the way back home we bumped into a bunch of drunk Irish tourists, who were apparently incredibly happy to meet us. One of them grabbed whYME and began singing some Irish ballad (http://www.barleyjuice.com/lyrics/juice.php) or something, and before we knew it they were singing and dancing, trying their darnedest to get us to dance along .

So there were are at 1:00 in the morning, on a dark and bustling (even at this hour) Havana street, singing and dancing with a bunch of drunk Irish guys. Suffice it to say it was quite the weird ending to our trip .

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2805/34022109852_7d72c72c02_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/v05Yy2)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2853/34022150892_b71077f41b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0qH177)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2884/33368513993_9a48705544_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/q1b604)


Unfortunately for you, I had to trim the real juicy parts of that video out .

Eventually we broke free and off it was, for one final sweaty night sleeping on the floor of a crumbling Havana building.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Proisrael on July 13, 2017, 04:00:28 AM
Just one word....Wow!!!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: SSLPhD on July 13, 2017, 05:45:44 AM
Great shots!  I especially like the car under the starlit sky and the sunrise shots.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on July 13, 2017, 06:30:01 AM
AWESOMENESS!!!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yaalili on July 13, 2017, 08:13:19 AM
Amazing piece as always!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: shmebeble on July 13, 2017, 09:09:24 AM
wow! the story and pictures are awesome. Very few people get both perfect
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: aygart on July 13, 2017, 10:17:51 AM
According to Google, the ride from Havana to Vinales should take two and a half hours. Problem is of course that Google doesn't know that the transport in question is a jalopy from 1953, so we ended up put-putting along for over four hours each way.

What type of car does Google expect in Cuba? A ferrari?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on July 13, 2017, 11:00:28 AM
Wow!! Great TR so far. Really enjoyed reading.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: etech0 on July 13, 2017, 11:03:32 AM
Wow!! Great TR so far. Really enjoyed reading.
+1
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Denverite on July 14, 2017, 06:40:15 AM
wow! the story and pictures are awesome. Very few people get both perfect

+1!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: tageed-lee on July 14, 2017, 11:46:15 AM
Incredibly insanely Amazing!!!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on August 04, 2017, 01:57:05 PM
[Something Fishy] It was time to say goodbye to Cuba.

We woke early, shlepped our stuff down the long and dark staircases, and out the door. On our way out we gave our leftover food to some neighbors and passersby; I've never in my life seen someone get so excited over a half eaten container of peanut butter .

[whYME] As we were leaving I snapped a picture of the (incomplete) collection of empty water bottles we had amassed over the course of our stay. Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4318/35062176764_3700fa8453_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/DV6kca)

We had arranged with Elvis to drive us to the airport, but he was nowhere to be seen. Apparently he was just as tired as we were, and with no plane to catch he was still in dreamland. Oh well.

Luckily for us there were plenty of taxis roaming the street; before long we were packed into an antique Chevy and off to the airport:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4185/34546052472_49de8bba5c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/43F040)

The airport looked lovely in the early-morning light:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4185/34707759265_1b5a269cd6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/wf81y3)

I know they mean the rum, but still - couldn't have said it better myself:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4163/34667514226_ecd18d1fb3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/287z3c)
This sign was the one and only advertisement we saw in Cuba.

There is a supposed 25CUC departure tax assessed at the airport, so we each carefully hoarded our last remaining CUC. We were never charged the fee however, and so we ended up selling the 75CUC to a DDFer headed to Cuba a couple of months later.

Now, too, I had no luck with the customs agent who flat-out refused to stamp my passport. Oh well.

There was a great view of the apron from the terminal. Here's a lovely lineup representing most of Cubana's fleet - all old Soviet aircraft. Front to back, we have a Tupolev Tu-214, Ilyushin Il-62M, Ilyushin Il-96, and two Antonov An-158s:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4183/33865580084_44c533e468_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/31ddp9)

A slightly-less exotic Airbus A319 that Cubana wet-leases from Avion Express:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4194/33898290063_f0172eeb10_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0opi4S)

After takeoff we had a great view of the airport. It's not big, but definitely nice and modern:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4176/33865588944_1776341305_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/z0oqx4)

A Cubana Tupolev Tu-204CE:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4190/34577085831_131d50fd08_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/X09J6u)

Old Havana and the harbor:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4183/34323534910_dd6de14e3b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/i6n8Sh)

You could see our apartment immediately to the left of the Capitolio rotunda:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4176/34323536570_95a8e7fedb_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9u53RJ)

Airshow: next stop, Panama!

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4173/33865604714_b66170cd4c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/99F5t4)

Banking low over Isla de Taboga, or "the Island of Flowers" on approach to Panama City:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4187/34546118292_ffca21a59c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/55u15k)

A bunch of ships waiting their turn to pass through the Panama Canal:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4188/34667571506_cbbdfedb54_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/V73ojA)

Panama City was a total shock to me. When we passed through here earlier in the week it was the middle of the night and I couldn't really see anything. I had expected a third-world country, but what I saw while landing today may as well have been Miami or Chicago. Unbelievable.

It was pouring rain, but even so we had a great view of the city. In the background you can just make out the canal and the Centennial Bridge spanning it:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4191/34323561570_43fd21f43c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/k4J8U0)

We landed around 10:30 AM, and our continuing flight was not until 9:30 in the evening. We had a full day in Panama ahead of us.

As in Iceland, "layover tours" are a big thing here. Copa has a very extensive Central America network, and most flights connect through PTY. With many of these layovers being quite long, and lots of attractions relatively close by, there are plenty of tour companies who are only too happy to take your money. I had researched the options ahead of time, and realized that pretty much everything is both overpriced and overly touristy. Combine that with the fact that we wanted to stop by a restaurant for dinner, and it made far more sense to hire a driver by the hour.

As soon as we stepped outside the terminal we were accosted by tour vendors and drivers. As per my research, we tried to ignore them all and walk to the airport boundary where the non-official taxis could be had for much cheaper. But when it reached a point when our "entourage" simply would not let us pass, I gave up and figured it doesn't hurt to try and negotiate. I was expecting to pay around $100 for 8 hours with a non-official driver, so I announced that we need a driver and we're paying $80 for 8 hours.

Much grumbling ensued, and half the crowd promptly disappeared. The remaining hardy folk began a heated argument, all stating categorically that I'm out of my mind and it would cost at least double. No problem, I said, see ya - I could get the price I want a couple hundred feet away.

That did it... two minutes later we found ourselves in a large, comfortable, ice-cold, official taxi. We had agreed on $100 - my original budget - plus a $10 "tip" for the main hustler. Fair enough.

So what do you do when you're in Panama? You go see the canal of course! One of the three locks in the system, the Miraflores Locks is just outside Panama City and has a great visitors center and viewing area.

Traffic on the main highway was bonkers, so after a while the driver took an exit and took us through a maze of side streets lined with beautiful villas. After spending the week in Cuba, the villas, bustling highways, and billboards everywhere were complete culture shock. We spent the entire drive gawking out the window while catching up with our wives for the first proper conversation in a week.

Before long we arrived at Miraflores. It had stopped raining, but the air was thick with a humidity such as I have never felt before. If I was hot in Cuba... that was nothing compared to this. The visitors center has a board showing the schedule of ship transits, and it wasn't long until the post-lunch break ships began their journey through the locks. We therefore decided to skip the exhibits, although they were supposed to be quite interesting - particularly the working model of the canal. There are a number of indoor and outdoor viewing platforms and levels, and we chose the second-highest so that we'd have both a good view and some protection in case it begins raining again (smart move, as it turns out).

The main control room is directly opposite the viewing areas and sits on the center island between the two canal lanes:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4170/33898351153_46df9c3b1d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/56V7m5)

Part of the hullabaloo. Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4308/35355552924_5f33e2d1df_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/x60C70)

Cool bird. Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4327/36024724412_eca777d872_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/37sN1P)

Much of the canal runs through Gatun Lake, the man-made reservoir that powers the entire canal system. Problem is, that the lake is 85 feet higher than sea level. In order to move ships between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the lake, a series of three locks are used. Here at Miraflores, ships are raised or lowered 56 feet in two steps. Today, canal traffic was flowing from the Atlantic to the Pacific, so ships entered the locks from the right. The would close behind them, the water is lowered to the level seen in the left of the picture, and then the entire process is repeated once more until the ship is at sea level:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4167/34577137171_4a4e9dafcc_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/F5j71x)

The second, lower chamber with the Pacific entrance beyond:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4183/33898364273_4b423e9bc1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/xh97HJ)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4206/35062176914_137978f28d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/h29EtF)

While we were waiting the clouds became threatening once more and before long unleashed an epic deluge. Even with the protective overhang we got soaked.

Canal workers taking refuge:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4163/33898372443_568336fda3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/c8M9h2)

The Panama Canal is the only place in the world where a Captain gives up complete control of his ship. Here a specially-trained canal pilot peers out of the bridge. Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4293/35355551854_7c091fb861_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/5eSs2m)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4314/36024720952_5f8497c103_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/39NL8P)

The far end of the locks through the rain. You can see a dozen or so of the large electric locomotives known as mules lined up:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4188/34667608456_ebf3558e6b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Ae65rZ)

To cross over the canal itself workers use a catwalk on top of the gates. Poor guy could use an umbrella, methinks:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4155/33898399243_e6079cc28d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/48279p)

The scale of the gates themselves are nearly impossible to comprehend. Each is 82 feet high, 65 feet wide, and over 7 feet thick. Their weight? A measly 720 tons (that's just about one and a half million pounds, for the mathematically challenged among us).

The most mind-blowing part? These monsters are so perfectly balanced and buoyant, that when the water level is equal on both sides and the mechanics disengaged you can move it yourself with a good shove.

Finally, ships ahoy! The first ships of the afternoon being lowered through the nearby Pedro Miguel Locks:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4173/34577148881_dee405bfd0_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8541n3)

Here we go:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4190/34707884555_46954e47e2_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/091262)

The Liberian Navigator Umbrio, carrying a load of natural gas:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4173/33865705744_1fbf6b75b9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/h7na7V)

You could see the "mules" at work. Four or more of those are tied to the ship and guide her precisely through the locks:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4161/33898431313_e04a0bb3b8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/T1963C)

Here's the thing with the canal: On the one hand it's unbelievably fascinating to see this colossal system working like clockwork, ferrying huge ships back and forth and up and down, all 100% powered by rainfall and gravity. On the other hand, it is the most mind-numbingly boring thing to see. The tugs move slowly, the mules move slowly, and the water level changes slowly (52 million gallons of water don't exactly drain in 30 seconds).

This is the only thing I've ever experienced that was so interesting and dull at the same time. I definitely recommend that everyone go and this this wonder of the world in action; but on the other hand I wish the entire process could be sped up like ten times or so, kinda like a real-life timelapse.

[whYME] I set up a gopro to film the boat going through the locks, but unfortunately I hadn't treated it with Rain-X so at times the view is blocked by raindrops in front of the lens (it's cinematic, okay?). This video is certainly not going to win any cinematic awards but it pretty much shows what's going on.

Played back at 60x the actual speed it's easy to watch:



Now good luck making it through 2 minutes of it in real time:



[Something Fishy] So while our ship was slowly, agonizingly, lowered, I turned my attention to the crowd on the platform. It had been relatively empty when we first got here, but with the arrival of the first ship along came the hordes:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4160/34546227732_04af09b84f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/GpN5XY)

And when there are hordes there are selfies:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4162/34707921895_4854e162db_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/85A65b)

And selfie sticks:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4180/34667647656_290bd8188d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/FD2869)

And the ubiquitous dude-taking-pictures-with-an-iPad:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4160/34577275101_3d6545256b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/t6221S)

While the hordes in the viewing area were watching and filming the boat go by, some of the boat's crew were ... watching and filming the hordes in the viewing area . Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4278/35514001070_bbb423c474_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/q68zVx)

Mazel tov, the ship has gone down a level. Open the gates!

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4171/33898436723_9eaa296b44_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8cbK4p)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4185/33865741494_197d02ded4_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/f7PuvF)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4292/36024716152_64a3165843_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/f083yk)

The guys on the ship were enjoying the crowd too:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4179/34667695256_0aa1d6dd0a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/e70k2F)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4171/34707981835_856d05b350_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/95b296)

Checking Whatsapp instead of running the canal ?

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4178/34667681786_0521413df8_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/tT3162)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4164/34323695420_d5c743b140_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8v4347)

This futuristic-looking thing is a Kizomba escape pod. Pile into this, let go, and you'll always end up right-side-up in the water. Hopefully a good distance from the now-burning ship as well:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4177/33865782584_1ff0c92c22_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/6PKF54)

Here's what it looks like in action:



The ship was now in the second chamber, and the lowering wasn't any faster than the first time. Time for a nap to find something else to watch.

Hmmm, pretty good view of the huge new canal expansion they're digging parallel to the old one:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4171/34667795896_8183d80e8b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/1zyqJ6)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4296/36024729252_926aa51424_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/b74198)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4155/34577161951_ca7d1cc117_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/1k9478)

Interesting note: at this point the expansion was not much more than a rough ditch. By the time I came back to Panama two years later (which was this June), the project was pretty much done and already in operation.

Anyway... our ship. It's finally arrived at sea level. Off it goes to the Pacific now, having saved some 8000 miles and 6 weeks of sailing:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4156/34577297811_630a5abe18_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7257Q2)

All in all, it had taken the ship 45 minutes to traverse the 0.87 miles of the Miraflores Locks. Not a terribly long time in the grand scheme of things, but excruciatingly slow nonetheless.

...And then here comes another one:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4185/34323744920_2873cf906e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/67757Q)

Fact of the matter though is that once you've seen one you've seen them all, so goodbye it was and off to our next stop: Ancon Hill.

Ancon Hill is a nature reserve that sits in the middle of Panama City, and yet contains a full jungle ecosystem. Sloths, armadillos, monkeys, and all manner of birds are commonly seen, and the higher points offer lovely views of the city. Being close to both the canal and kosher food made the reserve a perfect place for us to spend a few hours exploring.

Our driver drove us to the base of the hill (the road leading to the top had recently been closed to motorized traffic), and we set out on the way up. The main road, despite being a constant uphill climb (duh), nevertheless made for a fairly easy hike through the rainforest.

It wasn't long before we spotted our first animal, a large rodent called an agouti:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4178/34546350082_8112b3c073_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/q537m8)

Unfortunately, this would be both the first and last animal of note we'd encounter - the drenching rains earlier in the day has sent everyone undercover. In vain we searched for sloths, monkeys, ...anything exotic throughout our visit.

That is not to say that there wasn't a lot to see. We still had a great time focusing on smaller - yet infinitely creepier - wildlife. That hill had enough spiders to send any arachnophobe into an apoplectic fit.

Golden silk orb-weaver:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4163/33865937714_dcd0e264ff_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/4AjL56)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4263/35732497612_e66d15510e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/q64775)

Tropical orb-weaver:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4162/34546448542_ce8d505e6e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/o01Qrz)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4310/35770630061_07206418a7_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/Z773og)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4317/36322666025_9690388f81_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/405n28)

whYME getting waaaay to close:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4168/34323856760_96a452dc1f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Z61099)

SF trying to maintain a safer distance. Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4294/35355537004_cdb7f35b0a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/VSfnod)

View of Casco Viejo:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4156/34577326231_7a0dd0f443_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9UAsSd)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4301/35355547464_c4c29e8706_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/Tpt7i7)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4323/35355543154_89ba608574_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/dJF1g8)

Canal traffic:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4171/34667817286_aa7d98b138_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/V5X07H)

Toning down the creepy-insect index a bit, here's a Thoas swallowtail butterfly:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4168/34323784580_4ece6ecc3b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7Pw610)

Random cool fern:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4174/33898606123_45f045e6a9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/z4J11t)

Cool view of the city:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4178/33898625303_1b1a1c171a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/1X8947)

Who knew that palm tree bear red berries? Supposedly they're poisonous:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4179/34546400032_a8fa899f22_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/2c992q)

While it had stopped raining, the weather was still quite dreary. On the top of the hill itself, other than a bunch of antennas and some battered Panamanian flags there was nothing to see. The views from the top were pretty great though - to the right is Panama City's small domestic airport, PAC; to the left is the container and railroad complex, and in the background you'll see the canal:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4170/34667848366_c3640c6a71_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/G6o6C0)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4324/35355541054_2f4bbdfdc2_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/Hut57G)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4309/35387681543_f7eaf5c5d6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/xh67W9)

Through the haze, both the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks, and the Centennial Bridge:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4163/34323831700_d05794509e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/pH1Rg0)

A closer view. You can clearly see the three steps that make up the locks. Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4326/35387682643_c1b31bc32f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/FnK340)

Bridge of the Americas, also spanning the canal:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4182/34546425462_6645535b9f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/fP5e1T)

Another interesting fern:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4187/34546428672_e429e643a2_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5hu7PM)

Pretty plant life:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4173/33865934684_962b804c28_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/3xQZq2)

Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4294/35387684103_35798be7bc_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/546AoC)

Random building in the jungle. Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4328/35355546014_e386efe595_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/4xAzX6)

As we headed down the hill, other than a bunch of nasty-looking vultures there was no wildlife to be seen. I took a couple of half-hearted vulture pictures, but didn't really expect a remotely-interesting image.

[whYME] So we were walking down the steep hill, and I was about 5-10 feet behind Something Fishy. At one point he snapped a few pictures of a vulture in a tree up ahead of us. Even though I didn't particularly care for another vulture picture, out of habit (and experience -when SF takes a picture it's usually worth it to follow suit ) I snapped a few pictures as well.

Several months later my sister was looking through my pictures and commented "ooh, nice toucan." Knowing which pictures she was looking at, I corrected her, "um, you mean vulture?" "No, toucan." I looked at the picture and what do you know, there in the tree next to the vulture is a toucan!

A while later I was discussing something with SF on Whatsapp and mentioned the toucan:

Me: BTW I assume you got pics of that toucan at Ancon?
Something Fishy: toucan?
Me: lol look a little closer at your pics of that vulture on the way down the hill
SF: Can't figure out if you're trolling me or not
Me: <posts picture>
SF (5 minutes later): NOOOOOOOOOOOO

This is the picture I got:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4308/35355556094_d5764fe66e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/121y25)

And this is the picture poor SF got:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4187/34667904916_bffbd16e1a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/PG95bm)

[Something Fishy] Boy was I mad! How dare he get that picture and all I got was a horrible branch?! But no worries: I settled the score in the end (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=70313.msg1630912#msg1630912), and even came up on top. My roadrunner picture > his toucan picture. So there!

(Poor CITH though, he got gypped twice: he had gone down Ancon Hill a few minutes before us and didn't even get half a toucan, and then missed the roadrunner in New Mexico too.)

It didn't take long to get to the bottom, and a few minutes later we met our driver in the parking lot and were on the way to the restaurant. After whYME's positive experience earlier in the week at Pita Plus, we decided to play it safe and head there now.

We were famished at this point, not having eaten properly all day. In fact, this was going to be our first proper meal in a week - we had been living on tuna and junk food in Cuba. We promptly ordered a mountain of food and set to devouring them.

It's possible that it was just the effect of not having had a real meal all week, but that burger was the best I had in my entire life. The sides were incredible as well - fries, onion rings, kibbeh, chicken nuggets, and a bunch of other random things. The food was so good that when I passed through Panama again last month, I made it a point to book a long enough layover to return here.

(The guy in the green shirt is our driver, who we invited to dinner.)
(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4304/36191758185_09c8fe432f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/vaYJ25)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4326/35355503704_f98aa888e9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/370QK8)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4296/35387660003_589b69fb6b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/284359)

Stuffed to capacity, we made our way back to the airport, had a great shower in the lounge ([whYME]: when Something Fishy says he had "a great shower" he means to say "this lounge has the the best showers ever." - Or at least that's what he posted on whatsapp at the time . Personally I think his perspective was slightly skewed by what we were dealing with over the past week.), and took off into the night headed for good old New York City.

----

The end.

---

[whYME] Not so fast.

As stated earlier (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=65070.msg1534904#msg1534904), my flight was not until the next morning. I went to the airport with the guys hoping to convince Copa to put me on that flight instead of the morning one, but alas, no dice. I now had to find a hotel for the night.

Although PTY airport has free wifi, it was acting up at this point and I was having trouble connecting. Fortunately, PTY has a landside lounge epically called the Tocumen Royal Saloon. I was able to get in with Priority Pass, and sat there figuring out my hotel in a comfortable chair with a cold drink.

With a 7:40am flight, I clearly wanted to stay at an airport hotel. I settled on the Riande Aeropuerto, booked a room, and caught the shuttle to the hotel. I got to my room and had a great shower. And let me tell you, this hotel has the best showers ever . I then headed to the bar to take advantage of the free drink coupon they gave me at checkin. Back in my room I ate a burger I had gotten at Pita Plus, and then for the first time in a week, had the tremendous pleasure of lying down in a comfortable bed with proper AC and drifted off to a few hours of sleep.

In the morning the hotel had quite an impressive breakfast spread which of course was of no help to me, but I did take a banana and granola bar and headed back to the airport. After all of Something Fishy's ranting and raving about the Copa club shower I had to try it out myself. I had a great shower in the lounge and took off into the day headed for good old New York City.

---

The end.

[Something Fishy] ...until the next trip (https://www.dansdeals.com/points-travel/trip-notes/ddf-adventure-do-trip-notes-part-1-flying-to-svalbard-and-the-far-north/).
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yaalili on August 04, 2017, 03:22:01 PM
Excellent TR to the end and great job explaining how the ships pass through.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: tageed-lee on August 04, 2017, 03:31:01 PM
Amazing ending!!! Sounds like you guys had an amazing trip!! Thanks for taking the time to share!!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Yehoshua on August 04, 2017, 03:37:00 PM
Great final section and an overall amazing TR! Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: 3yummyboys on August 04, 2017, 04:39:25 PM
Amazing! Thanks for the write up!! Please tell me that no one actually knew off hand the names of all the spiders you shot?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Moshe123 on August 04, 2017, 05:46:20 PM
Thank you!
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on October 26, 2017, 10:31:40 AM
[Something Fishy] There were a couple of pictures that I wanted to include in the TR, but either they didn't really fit or they seemed too redundant. Here's a dump of those pictures, in no particular order. Enjoy.

The following are by me:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/468/31361709954_d13c624c23_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/a9q813)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/367/31361668124_28bfb7ac55_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/7n9cfc)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/341/32203124955_55ae6af523_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/Eq9p37)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/553/32084733771_2bf28c13c6_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0fN711)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/457/31827907630_980e2699f3_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/8Q58ZQ)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/523/32054301222_152f2717ff_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/89A5H6)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/481/32054137572_74979fff1c_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/567V10)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/442/31392675973_c414e1827a_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0n744S)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2853/33786761480_d3ca88df7e_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/07Xra4)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4166/34577009541_d9de691b0b_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/9Z0s7w)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4184/34323731060_5690a715f1_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/nZ9998)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4171/34667817286_aa7d98b138_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/W6SB67)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4191/33898614633_dfd567eb29_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/5n2534)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4182/34667472706_3fe2237b85_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/T0N84t)




The following are by whYME:

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8078/28157577724_a4aff0a2c9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/1j819z)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8896/28490631420_8d46f99611_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/KpBW87)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4215/35618142291_466bf05541_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/MX3e69)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4511/26139004849_e01a58eb49_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/FPPetp)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5764/22794975678_525b016a57_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/6916p9)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5496/22794975488_2685e03384_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/502ZmD)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5638/30885454591_aa594945ac_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/7Jf2R0)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5563/25338123149_753394183f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/7N0F21)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5667/30885451871_f83166e4ed_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/17wG8x)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5794/30885453071_db0e415de9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/n54qg6)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5587/25338121869_5b690d5c05_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/z38p80)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4122/35749476525_94377b505d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/4Raq35)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on October 26, 2017, 10:37:47 AM

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4215/35618142291_466bf05541_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/MX3e69)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4511/26139004849_e01a58eb49_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/FPPetp)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5764/22794975678_525b016a57_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/6916p9)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5496/22794975488_2685e03384_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/502ZmD)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5638/30885454591_aa594945ac_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/7Jf2R0)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5563/25338123149_753394183f_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/7N0F21)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5667/30885451871_f83166e4ed_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/17wG8x)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5794/30885453071_db0e415de9_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/n54qg6)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5587/25338121869_5b690d5c05_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/z38p80)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4122/35749476525_94377b505d_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/4Raq35)
Is it just me or are most of my pics not showing up?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on October 26, 2017, 10:42:17 AM
Is it just me or are most of my pics not showing up?
Everything I quoted in that post is showing up blank by me
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on October 26, 2017, 10:43:11 AM
Everything I quoted in that post is showing up blank by me

Looks good on my end...

Anyone else having issues? There should be 10 images in that quote.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on October 26, 2017, 10:58:39 AM
Looks good on my end...

Anyone else having issues? There should be 10 images in that quote.
The problem is on flickr's end.

all the pictures that are showing are coming from c1.staticflickr.com, the ones not showing are farm4.staticflick.com, farm5.staticflickr.com etc

ETA: some of yours are also not showing up for me @Something Fishy
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on October 26, 2017, 11:04:06 AM
And it seems we're back up now
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: username on October 26, 2017, 11:59:15 AM
Blank by me.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Work-for-ur-muny on October 26, 2017, 07:04:12 PM
@Something Fishy How did you take the first picture? By moving the camera along with the vehicle while snapping?
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on October 26, 2017, 10:22:33 PM
Blank by me.

Working now?


@Something Fishy How did you take the first picture? By moving the camera along with the vehicle while snapping?

Yup, longer shutter speed and panning along with the car.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: username on October 27, 2017, 12:46:53 AM
Fine now.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on October 27, 2017, 10:56:14 AM
@Something Fishy How did you take the first picture? By moving the camera along with the vehicle while snapping?
https://www.instagram.com/p/BI8VPC9jkBO/?tagged=bhctip016
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on October 27, 2017, 11:32:37 AM
https://www.instagram.com/p/BI8VPC9jkBO/?tagged=bhctip016

This is probably a better link:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BI71YeGjlpq/?tagged=bhctip016
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: whYME on October 27, 2017, 11:41:13 AM
This is definitely a better link:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BI71YeGjlpq/?tagged=bhctip016 (https://www.instagram.com/p/BI71YeGjlpq/?tagged=bhctip016)
FTFY :)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on October 29, 2017, 02:26:47 AM
Oh boy, it's finally here! I can't wait for the whole thing! SF, do you think you'll break your Maui TR most-photos-in-a-TR record with this one?

Tuns out Maui still rules. 359 vs. 265.

Looks like this TR broke that record big time - we have 622 pictures in here .
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on May 30, 2018, 12:44:47 AM
Cool bird. Photo by whYME:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4327/36024724412_eca777d872_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/21774049@N05/37sN1P)

Working on my wildlife list and finally identified this one: it's a Magnificent Frigatebird.

If anyone cared, there you have it ;D.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: grodnoking on January 30, 2019, 07:51:43 AM


[Something Fishy]

To this day I wonder if maybe instead of pushing Cuba I should've taken advantage of "anywhere but cuba" and leveraged it for something bigger. Like maybe Antarctica? (https://emoji.tapatalk-cdn.com/emoji13.png).


:)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: Something Fishy on February 27, 2019, 05:14:14 PM
It only took three and a half years, but I finally made my photobook from this trip (and ran up against Shutterfly's 111-page limit for the first time). Figured I'd share:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7822/46317454665_51e0f5b27d_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7802/46508417994_e8f2954f76_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7869/47179815942_ea480e957c_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7911/40266862993_0f497d67c2_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7834/40266862933_3df6b981fd_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7858/46508417804_fde5a65e56_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7851/46317454625_120952802e_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7812/32289870127_ef7ae835e0_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7853/46508417724_99295de734_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7844/32289870117_2456b76e4e_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7890/47179815872_6284d158e1_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7876/46508417624_2fd9680c76_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7807/32289870097_1fa43dffe8_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7899/46508417554_ce7a79ab64_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7884/32289870077_09b32cdb69_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7809/46317454555_e03a4d9747_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7809/46508417484_60d193289c_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7829/32289870037_061f5325a3_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7920/46508417414_2f8e24be04_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7817/32289870007_9ff149ac2d_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7890/46508417354_1a2ee4e457_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7841/32289869967_053349d632_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7897/46317454505_6284d158e1_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7914/32289869947_8b8f50bc7f_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7820/46508417114_0be533c494_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7848/32289869897_89611c2829_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7802/46508417004_6ba2815e31_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7804/32289869887_df29db4325_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7851/47179815792_d7f722de5d_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7883/46508416894_f5f9480690_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7914/32289869857_5e557219f8_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7862/46508416754_803d76fd34_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7834/32289869807_a302d2e6f1_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7873/46317454475_290551693d_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7861/46508416694_5e557219f8_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7807/32289869797_d1fcf89d1c_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7801/46508416624_397a7abe67_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7888/32289869767_4653e54706_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7888/47179815722_99f3f0ebe8_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7908/47231942351_98629971fa_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7869/40266862433_01b5eb0c11_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7837/47231942281_5f7a24c2c6_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7926/40266862373_1ca1a33f69_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7880/47179816612_358e7cb2a0_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7892/40266862333_1374a658f4_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7876/40266861823_533c133d96_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7872/47179816082_f7fcdd08d2_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7915/46317454785_f3a588c104_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7863/46317454755_194d98dcb3_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7815/40266861693_d5e81aee10_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7800/47179816012_f5494a0496_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7912/47179815672_aa5c61d37f_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7835/46508418214_346789001e_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7859/46317454685_177755dd45_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7825/40266863063_ec59d6c321_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7876/40266861583_bc4cf1f129_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7895/46508418084_c1d8e4f630_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: ludmila on February 28, 2019, 12:21:57 AM
Amazing, thank you for sharing.
Title: Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Post by: JohnB on March 17, 2019, 03:34:27 PM
I loved the pics! They are all very informative and help me, to make plans for my trip!