We got back to the ship, showered and went out into the cool of the evening. Our p2p obligations discharged for the day, we were ready to strike out on our own. I found a 1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible, two toned red and white and flying the American Flag. We went for a ride with Ignacio and Alejandro (uncle and nephew.) Ignacio owns the … Continue reading Crusin’ the Malecon
I’ll take a break here and just sit back and enjoy the eye candy of old cars cruising through Cuba. After the revolution the state allowed people who owned cars before the revolution to keep them and even sell them. Cars from after the revolution were more difficult to get. The revolution took power on January 1, 1959 so owners of cars from the 1950s … Continue reading Cuban Eye Candy (Classic Cars)
We stopped back at the ship for a quick run to the buffet before heading out for the 9:30 show at the Café Taberna. The Café serves dinner but Lonely Planet warned us off the food there. But the mojitos were good, as was the beer and especially the music. The band was of mixed ages, races and musical styles. The trumpet player was blonde, … Continue reading Havana Night
October 4, 2016 Much of our trip to Cuba is defined by conditions set by the late Senator Jesse Helms in the Helms-Burton act. The act limits the conditions under which Americans can travel to Cuba. We are here on a Person to Person, p2p, program. Technically we cannot come as tourists but must come on an approved p2p itinerary. It used to be that … Continue reading Sustainable Propaganda (But Nice Pictures)
Our bus tour took us through different neighborhoods of Havana, through the Miramar and Vedado neighborhoods and we arrived at the pier in time to do a little shopping. At each place we stopped the seller said “See you Saturday.” We are not scheduled to return to Havana but Hurricane Matthew is headed toward Santiago in Eastern Cuba so it seems reasonable that we will … Continue reading Sailing into a Havana Sunset.
October 5, This is my first Sea Interlude, a sea day between Havana and Cienfuegos. I like to use Sea Interludes to process what I’ve seen but that isn’t happening today. There’s too much going on. The Cuban band is playing at midday and in the evening. We have lectures on Cienfuegos and Cuban history. Those who want dancing or Spanish lessons can have them. … Continue reading First Sea Interlude
October 6 In many ways Cuba is not the type of Communist country I am used to. I have traveled in the Soviet Union before the collapse and have visited various parts of the old Soviet empire both before and after the collapse. Cuba is not colorless gray world we encountered in, say, East Germany. It is colorful and vibrant. The customs and immigration people … Continue reading Cooperative Farm, Cowboys and Cheese
After the cooperative farm we are supposed to have lunch at a restaurant between the farm and town, about 20 km out of town. When we get there two other buses from our ship are at the restaurant. There is no room for us or the passengers off the bus that pulls in right after us. The guide tells us we will have to wait … Continue reading Waiting for Lunch in Cienfuegos, Communist Problem Solving
We had about 15 minutes in the Cienfuegos main square, time for a peak into the Thomas Terry Theatre lobby and a walk around Jose Marti Square. I had a good view of the Art Nouveau skyline from the deck of the ship as we sailed out. Continue reading Cienfuegos Art Nouveau
The sail out took us past a number of villages and past the old Spanish fortifications guarding the harbor. Normally the ship sails out of the harbor just after noon. Today it was at supper time and people in the villages lined the shore to wave at us, shout “Adios,” “See you later” or just “U.S.A.” I wonder how many cruise ships will come and … Continue reading Cienfuegos Sail Out
October 7 This is our second sea day, but I have more time to write and process today, there will be three Sea Interludes today. So all told we will have 4 Sea Interludes, just like Peter Grimes. Today’s first, and the trips second, is about graphic art. We saw a lot of revolutionary graphic art on our travels around Havana and Cienfuegos. In this … Continue reading The Second Sea Interlude — Revolutionary Graphics
My third Sea Interlude is about music. There is live music wherever we go in Cuba. There is Cuban music on the ship, at every restaurant where we ate, on the streets, in cafes and music to welcome us to las Terrazas (although not at the cooperative farm.) Much of the music is new to me, some I know from listening to recordings of Chano … Continue reading Our Third and Fourth Sea Interludes
On Saturday, our final day in Cuba the “Impact” team had organized another p2p event for our extra day but Suzi and I both decided that after Cienfuegos we had enough of buses, even very nice air-conditioned Chinese buses, so we set off on our own “self guided” p2p tour. I intend that this blog be part of the documentation in case the feds question … Continue reading We Flee the Ghost of Jesse Helms, in a Studebaker
After the castle Luan dropped us off at the Artisan’s market, which has a display of old steam locomotives sitting outside the artisans hall. Inside the arts and crafts vary in quality and style. There is the normal tourist art, no Elvis on velvet but there are Che, Fidel, and John Lennon, as well as paintings of 1950s cars. There is also a good deal … Continue reading Artists and Locomotives
From there we walked through Havana Vieja. We stopped at a small square and bought some fried bread from a vendor. The man sitting on the bench across from us is a drummer at the Tropicana. He loves his job and loves practicing English. He tells us that today is a holiday, although he does not know which one. (It is the weekend celebration of … Continue reading A Final Walk Through Havana
Finally it’s time to go. The Captain comes on the speakers before we sail out telling us that it will be a rough ride into Miami because of the tag end of Hurricane Matthew but for us it seems like smooth sailing. This, I guess, is the Coda. If you want go to Cuba now to see an area “unspoiled” by tourists you’re too late. … Continue reading Cuban Coda
My parents were stationed in Miami Beach before Pop was shipped to India during WW II. He was a lifeguard, PT instructor and made training films on the beach. My parents always had a thing about Miami and wanted to go back. And I went back to Miami with them twice as a kid. We stayed in North Miami Beach where the motels lined both … Continue reading Miami Beach Deco
Alaska Airlines has several ilk runs, flights that hop from airport to airport. They often are numbered in the 60s and 70s. Flight 62 starts in. Fairbanks at 6 AM and arrives in Seattle at around 4:30 PM stopping at Anchorage, Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan. Some flights also stop at Cordova, Yakutat, Petersburg and Wrangell. On a bumpy day they can be a pain, and slow. … Continue reading The Milk Run
We arrived in Skagway in time for its evacuation. Skagway has a year around population on 850 but in the summer the population is on the north side of 2000. Sometimes 10,000 visitors, tourists and crew, come off of up to 5 ships. We arrived the second Sunday of September. The day we arrived we were the last of 3 ferries who were taking people … Continue reading Skagway
The White Pass and Yukon Route (WP & YR) is billed as the Scenic Railway of the World. It’s a narrow gauge (3’) railroad that was built to carry gold stampeders from tidewater at Skagway to, first the White Pass Summit (Late 1898) then to Lake Bennet BC, the head of navigation for the Yukon River (1899) and finally, 110 miles to Whitehorse (1900), beyond … Continue reading White Pass & Yukon Route, STEAM !!!
The White Pass is billed as Scenic Railway of the World. I can imagine with the play of clouds as we climb the almost 3000 feet to the summit of White Pass each trip is different. With steam power the whole trip is filtered through the fine mist created by the locomotive, we were in the car directly behind old 73, giving the whole landscape … Continue reading WP & YR Scenic Railway of the World.
The White Pass and Yukon Route used to run from Skagway, Alaska at tidewater to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, 110 miles. Today it goes only as far as Carcross, YT. Most tourists only ride the train to the White Pass Summit. Some trains go tho Fraser Meadows BC, some on to Lake Bennett BC and a few to Carcross. A few lucky of us get to … Continue reading Beyond the White Pass Summit.
If you really want to understand Southeast Alaska you should travel on the ferry. The trip to from Sitka to Juneau is a 20 minute flight, by ferry it takes 9 hours. It gives you a sense of the country. Each trip is different depending on weather, season and tide. The gateway to Sitka is Sturgis Narrows. Tidal currents require you to navigate the narrows … Continue reading Elderly Ferries
Lynn Canal is the deepest fjord in North America. It runs 90 miles from Juneau to Skagway and is from 3 to 12 miles wide. George Vancouver named it after his birthplace, King’s Lynn in England. It’s an extension of Chatham Strait, formed by a fault line running from the Gulf of Alaska to Skagway. Lynn Canal is the northern end of the Inside Passage … Continue reading Lynn Canal