TRAVEL DIARY – Fidel Castro's Cuba

This will be a different journey, never had shared journey with so many people. We will share half of the trip.
Travel in Group has advantages and disadvantages. An of the advantages is the saving of energy that is divide the tasks that is happen, the wear to level personal is lower and the work is reduced considerably, each one brings his granite of sand. In addition the road becomes more fun in good company. It is also true that the cost is less, everything is divided. Traveling in a group you can have access to alternatives, as rent a car, in Cuba, it is quite expensive.

Although travel in group not all is good, You must agree them places of interest to visit, the road to follow,… by that is must choose well to them companions to not generate conflicts unnecessary. In my case not them could have chosen better, share hobbies and are flexible with the route to follow and places of interest. Thanks guys for sharing your journey with me.


We expect Cuba, an island anchored in time for more than fifty years, I wanted to see it before the massive influx of Americans.
The first information updated that receipt is it of the Lord seated to my side in the plane. Sometimes travels to Cuba to visit some family that believed missing. Les acustumbra to bring food or clothing.


Only upload to the taxi from the airport to the Havana I make know which is the situation current of them Cuban, the friendly taxi driver tells us that : "There are people that is wishing that reach them American to eat is a good fillet", of this funny way we introduced in the reality Cuban and the sense current of many Cuban.


In the Havana ate some snacks on the street, of "pig bludgeoned" and sausage, was almost like eating bread with bread, little meat and bread that always seems to be dry. Eat as a tourist is completely different, they have a wider range of food, Since we have more purchasing power. When the Cubans eat away from home makes it the most for one or two CUC, a couple of dollars more or less.
Have two coins, the national weight and the convertible currency or so-called CUC, that the tourists and the locals used interchangeably, Although in some places the only foreigners can pay the price CUC, especially in tourist places, where the conversion of one currency to another make it in the relationship 1 WEIGHT = 1 CUC , that a priori seems to be a scam, but still being cheap for the tourist if opts for adopt its style of life, Although the quality of the products and services is lower.


Many Cubans did not suffice them work legally, should look for is some odd-jobs extra, outside the law; use the picaresque is the order of the day. For example the customs workers as, Some say that "between cabbage and cabbage is passed them a lettuce", a practice that sometimes the Cubans should practice to make ends meet.


The products offered to the population in the shops and points of sale can be counted with the Palm of the hand and tend to be similar to. Stores seem to open by hobbie, they are large businesses which apparently seem to be empty because the range of products offered are greatly reduced, as if is recuperarn of some recent catastrophe and had problems withthe supply. In fact advertise living in this situation more than fifty years. They are only filled earlier this month.


Work for the State is extremely counterproductive. Officials are responsible for kiosks, butchers, they are drivers, medical,… The average labour of a person that Regent a kiosk is the 15 CUC to the month, This wage leads to buy little and consume products of low quality, as the Criollo cigars, that they call "rompepechos".


There are a range of low cost and self-made Creole products, as the rum bottled in containers reused. There are also toys such as those of the upper image.


The population of Viñales, along with Varadero has become the tourist place par excellence, mogotes are visited and walking horse through the Valley. I recommend the horse owners hire directly, intermediaries are advertise most of the benefits without doing anything.


Although the area is the second more tourism of the island, After Varadero, preserves all its charm. There is an environment magical environment to the jineteros of horses, the landscape... Worth it penalty stay a couple of days.


On route you can visit a factory of pure organic, without chemical, are without labeling some because they say that are for consumption own, Although each has its history to convenience, obviously is a sale of pure not regulated by the Government, the sale of pure and ron of shape irregular is a business very lucrative.


To part of the pure without label and other replicas with label of smuggling, also are the famous Cohiba authentic, to half of price that out of the island i of sale in the shops official. For the Islanders remains a financially expensive product because it is intended for export and are regulated by the Government. The population buys pure for others brands "made in Cuba" to prices popular and good quality.


Is a good idea to stroll through the countryside and visit the farmers, they will immediately open its doors, like the majority of Cubans.


On the way they usually make a stop at the caves. It is an interesting place because it is not exploited, no lights of colors or gateways, the ride is done with a flashlight and its caution to not give any headbutt.


Became the first setback of the trip. To the make them suitcases hastily grabbed a charger for the old batteries Canon. I looked for a charger around the island and I can say with total certainty that if you same thing happens not you molesteis, at the moment they do not have none on the island. Luckily the brain works to rush when you have needs and it occurred to me a solution. I'm going to explain as load them batteries EP-E6 with the old charger Canon for batteries BP-511.


Only you need cable electric and a cap with water. As shows the image top, two cables van of the charger to the battery and the other two to the cable electric, respecting the polarities, then the cable will join with negative symbol with the negative and positive with their corresponding.

The invention does not work if been wires going inside the water plug each other, light is not on and the battery does not transmit electricity. The threads that are introduced into water need of some semiconductor material, then you can replace the water by any other material or resistance similar. Of this form will work to the perfection, even works well the indicator red that indicates that the charging full is has made.


Not could leave the opportunity of visiting the village fishing of port hope. A beautiful place, very quiet and of people friendly, Although some become a little crazy to see foreigners since it is not normal to be viewed.


It is not possible to access the boarding area, is militarized, and restricted fishing, will need permission special of the State for power fishing. Everything is regulated here, Although this also has a positive side, avoiding overexploitation with controlled consumption, the ecosystem is protected and conserved resources for future generations, among other virtues.


The village is very beautiful, with small colonial houses left from the hand of God, without any kind of maintenance. You can reach the port, where can you chat with locals, that you put rapidly to the day of the current national.


If you have thought visit Cayo Jutía I recommend enjoy of the journey, but something accidetando is a journey really beautiful, help the echo to see old cars circulate between Palm trees, a perfect postal Cuban.
On the way you can visit the lighthouse ( soon they will build another on the side ). From one day to another the strange to access you can get to it, used to haunt someone close. Anyway, it is not advisable, is fairly impaired.


Next to the lighthouse there is a beautiful mangrove swamp. At the end of the road you will find a clean beach, with a restaurant and a beach bar. Also boys and girls on the hunt for "cordon". Foreigners are called this way, This Word also means money, started to spontaneously use more young people and spread their use.


Road of pine forest of the river stopped in a small village called Martin Llera, a place with blocks of buildings rectangular and painted Pro-revolution. Slogans, drawings and revolutionary propaganda is everywhere.


The photo top seems a poster pubilicario of Hollywood announcing the next movie of Indiana Jones, When in reality the characters listed are : Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and Julio Antonio Mella.
They encourage the revolution, They idolize figures as Fidel, Raul, José Martí,… those slogans revolutionary as "together will win" or "above the revolution" are usual, When to my mind already are out of date, the revolution already happened, already expired, they already have their "freedom", seem to be anchored in the past, not there is progress, makes more than fifty years of its independence. That achieves the Government with this political scaremongering? ? of course, in my opinion, they are justifying their achievement in power, continue with your regime unnecessary military, pursue an ideal outdated that progressively is is adapting to the political general of the countries bordering.


Also you can read curious slogans seeking to indoctrinate, as for example "being cult is the only way to be free". Or signed by Raul Castro "devote ourselves with modesty and without fanfare, each which in the since it corresponds, to the daily and strict fulfillment of the duty. I think that is the key to win! ! “ . It seems that the message is clear, is a call to order, It is saying to the population they worry their chores, sean humble, without air of grandeur and following the law. I guess that already govern will deal Raul and his seguito, others which do not disturb. Course leaders are praying to continue with his political inmobilismo, they are the leaders, the heroes, No one else has the right to be. Then the motto says "is the key to overcome", and I I wonder... to who should win?, they are at war ?.


On the way we stopped at Santa Lucia, a small village of step, old houses of wood and nice people, ideal to recharge.


Cienfuegos has a beautiful historic centre. I recommend to upload some of the terraces around the José Martí Park to see a beautiful sunset and drink. In the streets that surround the Center sometimes is can listen to music in live in an environment relaxed and pleasant.


In the image above I show a typical shower Creole. The flowers are decorated, Obviously, but the rest is an achievement of energy efficiency and resources. The plastic where the water comes out has a resistor which heats water quickly and a dial to choose the temperature. It is not necessary any boiler or other devices than the piece of plastic with resistance and regulator. On the wall is the switch, the circuit breaker to turn off or turn on the shower. According to the Cuban people nobody has died electrocuted.


We could not ignore a village known as Aguada de passenger, We found funny and when it visited us left boqueabiertos. It looked like a North American people in the 1950's, If planeais pass by there ask for the paseo central and the Town Hall.


Agree with the 40 anniversary of the municipality and the town hall was of celebrations. As I am prone to invade the privacy of them others not could resist me to enter in the City Hall. I gave in time to take some pictures, as that show up. Unfortunately being a Government event, I forbade continue taking more photos.


The roads are full of sellers street vendors that offer several products, for example fruits like the tasty anon, that I recalled especially to other fruit, the durian, but more small and without the intense smell.
Also we find with them typical positions of food with their letter of food "minimalist" , all vendenlos same, bread with egg or ham, sweets and juices, especially delicious is the guarapo, a juice of cane of sugar. Also exquisite is the juice of tamarind.


Together with Santiago de Cuba and Viñales, the small population of Trinidad is another of those dishes strong for the tourist. Although there are many tourists, of time is totally sustainable, a beautiful place to spend a couple of days and enjoy live music and dancing, all for free at the Centre of the town.


Around Trinity Valley de los Ingenios is presented, with villages rural to visit, but ask first because some are restricted to tourists, for example, the village of Pitajones. As soon as appears any responsible Government not you leave take photographs and I accompany to all parts. The image above corresponds to the village pharmacy.


Coming to Trinidad you can enjoy stupendous views of the Massif Escambray, a mountainous area where it rains often and was temporarily hiding place of Che.


In the Valley of the mills is grown it cane of sugar and them slaves were forced to work until the exhaustion. Those who not fanatically is les set punishments as the chain with the weight which I show in the image above, Debian work with it and llebarla always put. It could raise with my hands, but actually is very heavy, inhuman.
You can visit a sugar in Sitio Guaimaro, near Trinidad.


Convert with a boy who proudly says working for the Ministry of the Interior. I shows your phone Nokia's screen to color, one of the first models, Here are some of the conversation :

He – Nice huh ?
I – If it is nice
He – In truth I do not use it to call, has no SIM card, I use it to look at the time and stuff.
I – Is decorative then
He – Dress what bottom of screen has? ? Beautiful fish moving.

Also you asked if was intent of the Government having a population barbuda, since they do not sell razors for any business. I has that them buy in the street or have friends military that them provide an as to that collective is the subministran.


We return to Havana to start a new stage of the journey, part of my fellow travelers returning, but not before visiting old Havana. It seems to be all under construction, with raised streets and canals dug in the streets, as if they were in trenches. That night a bus driver came up across one of those streets in maintenance, I guess that it was the idea more decerebrate he had in a long time. The machine was advancing slowly, giving lurches from one side to the other, It seemed that he was going to lie at any time. It reached a point that could not advance more. This type of madness are common, as for example walk through the streets at 5 o'clock in the morning by dragging a cart with speakers and music at full volume.


Havana vibrating all the time, even at night the streets are full of people with their work or children playing.


In the country there are people who save for months to buy a book that want to read. Although there are some who enjoy good economic health, with computers and flat screen TVs, but it is not the usual, the population with greater resources are normally recognized artists or people working with tourism.


The train from Havana to Matanzas is unique in that we can pay as if they were local, for the same price Cubans pay, in this link you can read the entire article on the Hershey train.


Fortunately or unfortunately in the Hershey train there was a fault in the electrical supply between Canasi and Matanzas, the service forecast was of two hours. The best thing was to visit the village of Canasi to subsequently search for alternative transportation.


Canasí is a small village with charm, off the beaten track, Hustler who ask nothing.


We chatted with the people and met the breeding of fighting roosters. They care for them on a daily basis, with care. Each of them can cost 400 CUC.


Matanzas is a quiet town, with a beautiful sea front, well worth a visit.


There is a great artistic activity. Selling all kinds of art to USA , even sculptures, cut them and sent to Miami, where to return them to rebuild and blend them into metal.


Attend a game of baseball in Cuba is one of the activities that meren worth. Although I do not remember exactly if they were four or five hours that lasted the match. He lives very effusive way, sometimes too much. Matanzas team is currently the best team of "ball" of the country.


I managed to get in touch with the technical director of the team, It allowed me to access the locker room of players and take some portraits, accompanied with a responsible person and the promise of not to interview them, the elite players are protected.


The image above is a promising young team, son of the sports director and future star of Matanzas.


We went to San Miguel de los Baños, was famous for its water sulforosas, but lack of maintenance by the State led to its decline and then close. Today if ordered the guard permission you can visit. The water stinks of rotten eggs, but don't feel bad, has a very particular taste. Neighbors fill entire bottles of water for their own consumption.


San Miguel is worth the visit, the appeal is in their lifestyle outside of the current tourist circuits and its friendly population.


Visit an adorable old woman ambushed the people, to see us get by the way their networks it tended to capture us. Already at his home he explained to us the history of the people and step the story of his life. Loving a woman and a village.


They also have a pool, for some reason empty in winter, I suppose that the climate, even though I was sweating heat.


The small town of Camagüey is worth a visit, is photogenic and the nice people, with some picturesque places.


Workers by State, What are the majority of Cubans, pay the same if they work or make the bum, gives them the same stay looking flies or sell you a fruit juice, the salary will be the same, so everything goes calmly here, no hurry.


Also worth a visit the municipal cemetery.


Could not leave the island are the first town founded by Christopher Columbus, I visited it after the passage of Hurricane Mathew, everything about vi and learned in Baracoa is at this link.


In this stretch of the journey I put to test equipment, I could not stay at home although the conditions were adverse. First a wave hit too hard and wet camera, I turned off and dried quickly. An intense moisture and some buttons had not funciobanan correctly, but she could not stop me now. It was en route to visit a Baracoa neighborhood located in the monte. The soil was muddy and unfortunately began to fall an intense downpour midway, no place for me. The camera turned to wet, but luckily always lleba over trash bags, I put it inside.


I ended up in a cabin chatting with some friendly locals. To my returned again to fall heavily, the roads were rivers of water, I soaked from head to toe, that night I dreamed the thickest jacket I have putting on the travel luggage.
On these occasions it is normal that the objectives are breaded travelogue. Best to remove the batteries and put it all to dry, preferably in the Sun. Normally to the 24 all hours back to work perfectly.


I visit a tourist routes of the island classic, Santiago de Cuba. I was disappointed, I expected something else from this historic city. Tourists hunting seems to be a sport here. In the afternoon I went to visit the music room where they say that "Cuban son" was born , within five minutes of sitting I had a man on the side insisting that he bought a bottle of rum, also there was a girl next to suspicious intentions that wanted me to dance and just before guitarist had been installed with your tips Hat supported my legs without detach me. I cornered at a time; Obviously I got up and went out the door of the "cradle of the son". Tourists are intercepted by the Hustler, trying to take advantage of any way.


The best of Santiago are narrow streets, wander through them without any direction in particular.


Fleeing from the tourist Santiago I went up to Cayo Granma. The fisherman not I wanted to cross to the island, I was afraid that police impounded her boat, they have prohibodo crossing to tourists. I had to wait for the commercial ship.


Fishing is restricted by the Government, poachers hide boats, manufactured by them, between branches and shrubs they leave them completely camouflaged, When the sun goes down some dare to fishing.


I also met one of those funny characters that abound in Cuba. This great fisherman told me that a few Italians came to shoot a documentary of his life, they were seven days with him, they paid nine euros.


Cayo Granma is a beautiful place to visit, with friendly people to talk. If you want to get to the place from Santiago is as easy as asking for "machines" or trucks address to Cayo Granma. The truck is a common transport on the island. They were manufactured to transport goods, but they adapted them for the transport of persons. There is little place to sit, traveling especially foot and packed, like sardines in Tin.


Las Tunas is located in the central part of East, It used to be a place of passage for travellers, without much to do, unless the carnivals are held, as was my case. There are many activities in the Centre, music, dances, games...


Ah ! , There are also pork roasts, that you cooked for hours.


The streets are filled with life for several days, with activity till dawn.


Santa Clara is one of those places that you can ignore easily, unless you're a devotee of the Che Guevara fan and want to visit his mausoleum or any of the monuments dedicated to him by the city.


You can also escape from the city with a brief visit to the Hill of Capiro.
My intention is to visit two villages East of Las Tunas. Remedios and Caibarién.


Caibarien is filled with people in summer, Sun and beach tourism, but in low season it is numbed and you can visit quietly, no hurry.


Caibarién is a beautiful town by no means, but has many interesting business, anchored in the time.


Hotel with restaurant in the image above, located in the Centre of the village belonged to a wealthy businessman who donated several buildings to the community, including the current medical health center.


The great attraction of this area of the island is the village of remedies. It is a very photogenic place, ideal for walks and some photographs.


The streets are full of life and places so peculiar that you transported in time some decades.


I could not leave without visit more thoroughly the neuralgic centre of the island, Havana. I wanted to rest a few days before beginning another stage in Lanzarote, an island in another world from which later will hang images.


Havana is chaotic, full of life, a good place to learn first-hand on the island today. The capital reminded me of Sarajevo in times of war. Many buildings are underpinned and fully open streets, a city in construction without delivery date.


The Cuban population is very diverse, from white with blue eyes to black or mestizo, all mixed. There was a massive influx of Spaniards, above all of the Canary Islands and Galicia and African population of the Congo, Although they also influences of the English pirates, American Indians, Chinese,… and of course the population native to the island, the tainos.


I ran away from the city to visit the sacred Church of San Lázaro, in the corner, a very visited place by the pilgrims.


Is near the end of this very unexpected journey, It was not my intention to travel to this Creole Island this year, but time pressed and Fidel was elderly. I am very happy to see with my own eyes the Cuban reality, one of the last socialist countries that have not succumbed to capitalism.


Coincidences of life, five days after leaving the island died Fidel, at the age of ninety years. My intention was to visit Cuba before Fidel dies, visit the island which it governo and transformed according to its ideals for many years. I met more than my expectations and my desire to visit the era Fidel, I waited before leaving definitively. Although you will notice the absence of the great leader ideals will remain in Cuban history.


You can see all the images full screen in the section of photographs.


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