Archive for April, 2004

Cuba: Miscellaneous Insights

Posted by Arlo on Apr 30, 2004 under Travel

Cuba: Specific Recommendations II (with a ton o’ photos)

Posted by Arlo on Apr 29, 2004 under Postcard Valet, Travel

Wedding photo-op in Trinidad (25k image)Part the Sixth: Part the Second: Specific Recommendations II

I’ve been to Trinidad on two separate occasions and they couldn’t have been more different. In 2000, I was there shortly after New Year’s, within the first two weeks of the new millennium. When I returned at the end of 2003, much had changed for the worse.

What was noticeable right away was the increased “hassle factor.” Granted, the second time around, I was there in the height of the high season – right between Christmas and New Year’s. The streets were packed with tourists, housing was scarce, and you couldn’t walk a single block without someone trying to sell you something.

At first I wondered if I was mis-remembering how things were in Trinidad three years before. After a day or two, I knew it couldn’t have been as bad as it is now. Perhaps the government loosens its regulations for the high season and the officials look the other way when people start selling cookies in the streets, get together for an artisans market, or brazenly offer tourists “illegal” lobster in the streets. I sure as hell hope so. With the hassle factor as high as it was, I’d have a hard time recommending Trinidad again.

And considering how wonderful Trinidad can be, that’s a horrible thought.

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Cuba: Specific Recommendations

Posted by Arlo on Apr 5, 2004 under Postcard Valet, Travel

Museum of the Revolution (25k image)Part the Sixth: Part the First: Specific Recommendations

Okay, if you’ve been reading along until now, you have a good idea how Cuba is going to function. The big question is: What should you plan to do once you get there? Let me help you decide.

More than likely, you’ll end up flying into Havana to start off your trip. How much time you spend in Cuba’s largest city depends mostly on how much you like big cities. Rest assured that no matter how long you plan to be there, there will be too many things for you to see.

Museo de la Revoluccion and Bellas Artes
A few years ago it finally dawned on me that I don’t actually like museums. Go ahead, call me uncultured, but after countless visits where I pour over the details of the first half of a museum and feel guilty about skimming hurriedly past the second, I just gave it all up. Cuba’s Museum of the Revolution, though, almost changed my mind.

The Museum of the Revolution is situated in a beautiful palace in Old Havana and its goal is to chronicle the great achievements of the Cuban Revolution over the last 45 years. What interested me most was the spin of the propaganda contained within. Our U.S. version of many events is very different from the way Cuba views them. History is written by the winners, they say, and I find it refreshing to see both sides before it’s written at all.

For the military buffs, there’s a covered display behind the museum that has some assorted military hardware and the boat that brought Fidel and his initial revolutionaries over from Mexico. There’s a tank out front, too, if you’re into that sort of thing.

If you’re one of those that enjoys a full day (or two) of museum crawling, the two buildings containing the “Museum of Beautiful Arts” is right next door.

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