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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rtwpaul, Dec 12, 2015.
Just came back from Havana and I'm not sure this article is a fair representation. It also jumps in time without indicating that and the timing of events is critical in Cuban history. It was also written in 2013 and a lot has changed since.
What I saw was a people who were polite, friendly and dynamic. Rules regarding private businesses etc. have loosened up a lot. I saw children who were happy and loved by their families, kids practicing the latest hip hop moves, people playing instruments together, etc etc.. I did not see homelessness, I did see people treating each other with patience and respect, I did see kids of all races going to school together chattering happily, I saw gay people openly enjoying gayness, etc etc.. I may have been standing out like a sore thumb, but never did i feel threatened. and I walked about 8 miles of the Malecon on a busy saturday night.
The thesis that Castro purposely destroyed Old Havana is suspect (what about "new Havana - it's not exactly valhalla). I'd guess 40 years of an international blockade might have something to do with it, and the fall of the soviet Union wreaked havoc on the economy. I went off the beaten track a few times - and unlike a 3rd world country you didn't turn a corner and see a dead body on the streets, you didn't see hopelessness or hunger. (let me tell you about south africa) You might see tough looking housing, but you also saw fresh water delivered every day - the basics were covered.
I was there on the 2nd anniversary of Castro's death. I asked my Cuban acquaintances if there was a parade, a day of mourning etc. They said the only thing is the government might stop live music, or close the bars for one night, but no-one really knows. It was just another lovely Havana sunday, the parks were full, kids playing soccer, a few people hustling me for a buck or 2, and I was sucking down a nice cohiba...
It's not heaven, but it is changing, and I liked it a hell of a lot. As one guy said - it's a great place for old men to drink rum and hang with pals, but a young person with ideas is going to feel stifled - he was young - more whistful than angry, but that is changing.
I'd encourage people to ride in Cuba or just visit. This is an island, and one isolated for many years; they don't , as a rule, speak English, learn some Spanish. Though even the smallest clumsiest effort is met with smile. I'm going to start lessons soon.
Thanks RTWpaul for the write up.
I trust that you Paul had another enjoyable Birthday on the road...
BBC have just featured our work again for the third time HERE about the leather tanners in Cotacachi, Ecuador
Great article on the leather tanners, Thank you.
Congrats. It is awesome you can do this while you’re traveling around. A dream for some.
Great new article!
Hey Paul, I don't know where you plan to be in July, if you're planning that far ahead at all, but there is going to be a total solar eclipse in parts of Chile and Argentina on July 2nd, 2019. I saw the one in America last year and it was a fantastic thing to see. I made my way up to Nebraska to go see it. Here's some info in case you were interested. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2019-july-2
WOW!!! Just spent the last few weeks reading "So I chose the blue one", then this tremendous RR, then some bike builds, the TAT, and numerous references plus having Google open for a continuous reference to maps of places i'd not dreamed of. Swimming up that river with all its tributaries to get to page 209 made major impressions of amazement, excitement and wonder from your descriptions and...your unbelievably mind blowing photographs! YOU are an artist and a craftsman of the photo. I've also taken pictures all my life without formal schooling or proper budget and now have the good equipment. It hammers home as never before that its not the gear, it is the eye. And your chosen adventure laden life does indeed put you in places to allow the capture of outstanding photos. As so many others have said, the bottom line is that you have the eye to capture the life and scenes of these beautiful people and countries, and we are very grateful for your work. Just know that your work will last and be admired for as long as it exists.