Panama Canal (Day 3)

December 17

Cuba

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[This was the big day.  The highlight of the trip for both of us was going to be Cuba.  The Super readies accordingly with breakfast at Mamsen’s.]

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[Land ho!!  Our first sighting of this mystical country famed in song and story . . . ]

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[As we approach . . . ]

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[The Escambray Mountains loom off our starboard side . . . ]

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[Grab a lookout spot and don’t leave it!]

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[A likely candidate to have “American tourist” tattooed on his forehead . . . ]

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[We are coming in to the city of Cienfuegos (see top of this page), population 150,000.  This stop was not on the original agenda, but as things so often happen between our two countries we were not going to be allowed access to port in Havana.  That change also meant the cruise would not be going to Belize or Cozumel either – that was fine with us as we had been to those places, and now, instead, we would have three days in Cuba.]

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[Cienfuegos is not a deep water port so we would be tendered in.  And then take a 4-hour, 160 mile bus ride cross country to Havana . . . ]

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[Tendering away from the Viking Sun . . . ]

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[And landing in Cuba – it all seemed rather routine . . . ]

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[Then the requisite selfie aboard the bus . . . ]

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[As a result of the 50+-year trade embargo with this country, we were stepping back in time.  This is still a major means of transportation here . . .

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[Our tour guide for our first two days was Dee, and our driver was Danny – as a pair, they were quite a hoot!]

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[This is the Museo Provincial in Cienfuegos . . . ]

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[And now we’re heading out of town on the road to Havana . . . ]

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[A rest stop halfway through the trip.  Travel from south central Cuba (Cienfuegos) to the north coast and Havana is mostly flat empty or farm land . . . ]

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[Havana, we have arrived – at the statue of Generalisimo Maximo Gomez . . . ]

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[Morro Castle and lighthouse, guarding the entrance to Havana Bay . . . ]

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[Cuban Uber?]

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[When one thinks of Cuba today, isn’t this what first comes to mind?]

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[Fine outdoor dining?]

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[Museum of the Revolution (was the Presidential Palace) . . . ]

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[Hotel Nacional de Cuba . . . ]

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[A common sight, once classic buildings in serious states of disrepair.  In parts of the city, some restoration is beginning, but it must be incredibly expensive . . . ]

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[Again, the national hotel . . . ]

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[More modern buildings just past the . . . ]

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[The Hotel Nacional . . . ]

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[The United States Embassy . . . ]

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[In the embassy neighborhood . . . ]

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[Exhaustive research determined this is simply known as “a man on a horse” monument?]

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[The national theater?  It must be the garage side?]

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[In the Plaza of the Revolution . . . ]

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[Che and Fidel on the buildings . . . ]

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[And the vintage cars in the plaza . . . ]

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[And a vintage house . . . ]

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[Papa Hemingway as wall mural . . . ]

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[The Russian Embassy . . . ]

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[We had an overnight in the Melia Habana hotel.  Every hotel should greet us like this!]

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[Feliz Navidad!]

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[Quite the lobby . . . ]

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[The Super tries to capture the excitement . . . ]

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[Up to our room . . . ]

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[Which had THREE queen size beds? Were we suppose to invite guests?]

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[OMG?]

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[Where’s PBS?]

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[There’s the Russian Embassy to the left . . . ]

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[And there’s . . . other stuff to our right.]

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[All the comforts of home . . . ]

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[Time to go to dinner – our chariots an armada of vintage cars!]

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[And here we are – a pretty basic beans and rice entree . . . ]

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[From a government-owned business . . . ]

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[And then on to our evening’s entertainment . . . ]

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[Established in 1939, where Vegas got its ideas . . . ]

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[And inside, though you’re actually outside, it feels like you’re inside?]

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[We were initially seated a long ways from the stage.  But there were cigar smokers near us, so at the Super’s request they moved us to . . . the front row!]

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[Even looking up into the trees, it seemed inside . . . ]

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[Let the festivities begin – there were dancers and singers, everywhere!]

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[And a table of young Germans in front of us . . . ]

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[The Super noted the dancers had “nice butts.”  I feigned indifference.]

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[It was quite a production that went on from 10:00 to midnight . . . and we thought we couldn’t make it?]

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[It was awkward for me to crane my head backwards and look up . . . ]

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[And the dancers would come right down our aisle . . . ]

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[We have to get back to the hotel – it’s WAAAYYY past our bedtime.]

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Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.  ~  Ernest Hemingway

Up Next:  Day 4?

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “alexandriacardinals.wordpress.com,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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1 Response to Panama Canal (Day 3)

  1. G. says:

    Wow!! Thanks for an up close view of Cuba. Fascinating. Love all the vibrant colors the Cubans use in the paint jobs on their vintage cars to the color on the beautiful architecture of the home shown — pink. Keep the photos coming so I can view your trip with you. G.

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