Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Segment 17: Around La Habana, Playas del Este, and Varadero (June 7- 14, 2010)

From Cancún, we took advantage of relatively cheap flights, boxed up our bikes, and headed to a well-known nearby Caribbean island for one month, the largest of all Caribbean islands...

The plane was an old Russian plane:

Jeff, after three bong hits, ha ha, this was the woeful air conditioning system on the plane

we ate previously prepared sandwiches for lunch, dazzling other passengers with our appetites and attention to vegetables

We weren´t on the island long before El Che made his first of thousands of appearances:

Of course, La Habana is famous for its insane array of beautiful old American cars from the 40´s, 50´s and 60´s...

a neighborhood fruit and vegetable market near Plaza de la Revolución, near to the Casa Particular in which we stayed several days

Cuban heroes...
these people are heading to line-up at the nearby embassy, trying to get permission to go abroad

these slogans are seen all over La Habana

classic downtown scene, on El Prado

We visited the Museo de la Revolución in Habana Vieja, and one of the first and most striking visuals was the following...
... in which Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr. and Fulgerencio Batista are depicted as the cretins and villains they are

painting of the scene in which Fidel took power after Batista's flight from the island

Revolutionary war heroes:
Camilo Cienfuegos

El Che

tank constructed by farmers from a tractor during the revolution, never used, but fantastic!

The monument to Jose Martí, known as the father of Cuban independence and a key figure in Latin American solidarity

An enormous monument to Camilo Cienfuegos in the Plaza de la Revolución

Jeff in line for a batido de mamey, or a smoothie made from mamey, a tropical fruit found all over the island.  Cost: pennies.

The central fruit and veg market of La Habana, dark and busy:

We passed a few days in the streets with our camera ready.  More classic cars seen on the streets of La Habana:

this one in the pouring rain (which we waited out in a lively crowd)

Image of a young El Che, when he toured around Northern Argentina on a bicycle when he was about 20 y.o.:

Scenes of Habana Vieja, the old part of the city which is very striking and photogenic:

if you look closely at this late afternoon photo, you will see a man playing trumpet on the second floor of this old building... he was belting out The Girl From Ipanema over the streets!  amazing...

While the above guy played the trumpet, these fishermen plied their lines backed by a gorgeous rainbow on the malecón:

The following images are of Jeff´s healing wounds (see previous post), which would be a recurring theme during our time on the island:
deep thigh bruising

the tore up nipple

From La Habana, we headed east along the Via Blanca towards Las Playas del Este, first stopping at Playa Santa Maria:

parked at Playa Santa Maria

This is a Cuban favorite: fire-roasted whole pig.  We first encountered this at Playa Jibacoa:

Jason tests out the snorkel gear we purchased in Cancún before the flight.  Playa Jibacoa

the first of many gorgeous sunsets we witnessed on the isle

Next we headed to well-known Varadero Beach:

our favorite Cuban beer: Bucanero

we stealth camped across from the giant Barceló Hotel:

Jeff took this opportunity to convert his visor:



A quote from Fidel himself, seen in Varadero.  It says: "I fight on the side of the impatient ones.  I fight on the side of the hurried ones, those that always make sure that things get done, the ones that more often than not try to do more than what is believed to be possible."

Scenes from Playa Varadero, on a weekend crowded with Cuban vacationers:

Revolutionary slogans seen on the streets of Varadero:
¨Revolution is defined as the feeling of a historic moment¨".  One of the most popular slogans

Fidel and Camilo, image from the revolutionary war campaign

Fatherland or Death.  Also a very common slogan seen on the island.

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