Archive for the ‘Cuba 2010’ Category

Guantanamo, Cuba.

Saturday, December 18th, 2010
This had to happen one day.

After visiting Somalia and Afghanistan, the usual joke I get these days is something along the lines of “Gee Carl, one of these days you’re going to end up in Guantanamo”. Well smartarses, now I have. At least from the “good” side of the fence that is.
Other than that there isn’t much to say. Guantanamo is another nice but worn down Cuban town with a really gaudy 70’s style amphitheatre in its main square. Pretty up to date by Cuban standards.
For those wondering, no you can’t visit the US naval base. The Cubans don’t want you near it as much at the US don’t want you near them.

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Cuba, Roadside propaganda.

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

As previously mentioned, Cuba’s roads are not overly endowed with signage or advertising. Instead there is a plentiful supply of communist propaganda. My favourite one in a sad sort of way (unfortunately didn’t get a photo) was an old and faded one that said “working for the revolution will bring us all riches” The sad part is of course the number of people who go past it each day, for years on end, in nothing more than a horse and cart still waiting for those riches to appear.
Second favourite has to be Raul Castro’s goofy face saying “In Guantanamo, Yes you can!” What Guantanamo can do is not clearly explained (update,Veronica, A regular reader clearly explains it).
Anyway, below is a selection of Cuba’s Roadside propaganda translated for the workers of this world. See if you’re convinced

Cubans will always be the crew of the Granma (That started the revolution) 54th anniversary of the Granma landing
[Che Guevara]
Your example of your ideas lives on
We want to be like Che, Fidel Castro
[Fidel Castro]
Here we have to throw stones without looking forward.
The flow of the people are your heroes.
We are champions in the battle of ideas.
Socialism, the Historical Tradition
[Fidel Castro]
Welcome to Guantanamo. The frontline trenches of anti-imperialism
[Raul Castro]
In Guantanamo, Yes you can!
Here the people defend the gains of the revolution.

Driving in Cuba.

Saturday, December 18th, 2010
Peak hour on Cuba’s Main freeway.

Usually I don’t bother driving in the wacky countries I visit. Usually the thought of dodging land mines and IED’s puts me off. In Cuba’s case I thought I’d give it a go.
Driving in Cuba looks deceptively simple. The Transport crisis has led to a stunning lack of traffic. Indeed the main mode of transport here is still the horse and cart and hitch-hiking is a national sport. An idiot Australian who’s used to driving on the left can occasionally revert back with little risk of doing damage. I even went around a round-a-bout the wrong way once with no more damage than confused looks from onlookers.

Cuban road hazzard.

So once you work out which is the; “fast” lane, the slow lane, the horse/donkey/goat/cyclist lane it’s mostly easy going. After dark they all become the drunk lane anyway.
The main difficulty is navigation. Cuban roads are not overly endowed with directional signage or street signs or even advertising (instead there is a plethora of propaganda). Where signs do exist they are often completely wrong or only tell you that you’ve gone the wrong way after the fact, mocking you with Cuban superiority.

Analouge GPS navigation (AKA Girlfriend).

Maps are also amusingly vague. Roads that are on the map don’t exist in real life and vice versa. Roads that claim to be major roads on the map often turn out to be little more than dirt tracks. Alternatively, what was a minor road on the map was once a 3 lane each way divided highway with no traffic other than a bullock cart. Granted that highway did suddenly turn back into a dirt track with no warning.
Smartarses who say “get a GPS” soon find that they are illegal here not that you can get Cuban maps for them anyway. Also that smart phone we all have with Google maps loaded doesn’t work due to the lack of internet.
All in all, Driving in Cuba is an adventure I’d recommend to anyone with a good sense of direction (highly recommend a smart girlfriend as co-pilot) and a lot of patience.

Cuba – getting off the war torn track for a while.

Monday, November 29th, 2010
way overused image.

After visiting Afghanistan , Pakistan,  and Somalia, the usual joke I get these days is something along the lines of “one of these days you’re going to end up in Guantanamo”.

Well hopefully the next few weeks of Rum drinking/Cigar chomping fun is as close as I’m ever going to get.
As per usual this whole thing gets played out right here. Well presuming I can find usable internet anywhere in Cuba.
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