Author Topic: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH  (Read 27553 times)

Offline yakov116

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Money talks...mine says goodbye!

Offline User6669

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Only one person liked the post. Why are people so lazy to like?

You're extremely generous with likes today.  ;)
".איזהו חכם, הלומד מכל אדם"

Offline Yaalili

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WOW!

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

+1 this is a masterpiece!

Offline Work-for-ur-muny

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Wow! Just wow! Very sad ending, though.

Offline Something Fishy

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[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:




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



On the other side of the same street, this:





Photo by whYME:



Juxtaposed:



The Capitolio itself:



Photo by whYME:



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):



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:



Cool taxi:



Traffic:





"Kid Chocolate" ice cream:



Photo by whYME:



Chillin'. Photo by whYME:



Some more cool cars:







Selling drinks:



No idea how this got here:



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



Photo by CITH:



Photo by CITH:



Photo by CITH:



Photo by whYME:



Popcorn vendor:



Photo by CITH:



Photo by CITH:



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







Photo by CITH:



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:



Photo by whYME:



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 )



Photo by whYME:







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













Edsel interior:



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:









Photo by whYME:



Old Ford:







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:









Photo by whYME:



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



Late-1950's Ford Fairlane:









Some cute Chevys:



Photo by whYME:







This guy seemed to be running the entire taxi operation:



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



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



Rat on dog. Don't ask:



Photo by whYME:



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.



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:




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:



Fiddler on the roof. Photo by CITH:



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:




Capitolio:



Museo de Bellas Artes:



The sun setting over Old Havana:









Twilight:





Blue hour:



Car trouble down below. Photo by whYME:



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



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



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):




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:




Interesting menu:



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.
Check out all my Trip Reports here!

Offline Moshe123

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First a like, then scrolling back up to read.

Offline Yaalili

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(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!

Offline Something Fishy

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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.
Check out all my Trip Reports here!

Offline Moshe123

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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....

Offline Yehoshua

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Another cliffhanger. Can't wait for the next installment, whenever it may come.

Offline 12HRS

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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

Offline cholent

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Love it! The pic of the Capitol with the flowers is my fave
Don't ask stupid questions and you won't get stupid answers

Offline springles

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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?

Offline ExGingi

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Classic car lovers and nostalgia geeks paradise!
I've been waiting over 5 years with bated breath for someone to say that!
-- Dan

Offline 3yummyboys

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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!