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reinerehlers



Joined: 25 Jul 2001
Posts: 1046

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cuba was outstanding! We stayed on Cayo Santa Maria, a barrier island joined to the mainland by a causeway. The beach / sea was the most beautiful I've ever seen. The water is crystal clear, baby blue and the beach is fine, super clean tan colored sand much like Naples, Florida. The sand goes out for miles under the sea with very little to no seaweed or grass on the bottom. I windsurfed out a good half mile and if its 20 feet deep it looks 1 foot deep it so clear.

The windsurfing could have been great given it blew over 20 knots for 3 days straight. On the third day it was clean lines of shoulder to head high waves near shore and easily logo high off shore judging by the breaking white water runs on the waves. The gear there is lame! The boards are all Bic one designs or 293 boards, but all are in poor conditions with punctures and no deck grip. The sails are pretty old dacron learning sails. Kiting is the best option there as you can easily bring your own gear. It was interesting that most of the kiters I talked to were from Montreal and most knew the same windsurfers I know from a local wave spot where sailors from Ontario, Quebec and northern US converge on big days.
The food is OK at best but I didn't go hungry and I was happy to come home the same weight that I left at considering I just lost 10 pounds.

My daughter and I did a whole day excursion into the mountains called "the Rambo Tour". We took a bus into the mountains, stops at a look out for a later breakfast, hopped back on bus to catch a ride on ex-Russian military 6-wheel drive vehicle up some crazy steep roads to a trail head. There we trekked through mountainous jungle type trails that took us first to a cave, then to an amazing waterfalls. Then we were off to more trails and then into river to hike down in the river which took us through waterfalls and crystal clear pools and then to final falls to dive or swing off of a vine into one final pool. This lead to more hiking through mountains past farms and then out to camping hostile for lunch as chickens and dogs ran under the tables. Back onto trails, more truck ride to back on bus..... We also did a snorkeling excursion.

The best part... the people! The people are beautiful in spirit and a joy to talk to. While on the "Rambo Tour" bus I spoke to the tour guides the whole way there and back. Their stories about their culture, socialist politics, economics, elections and hope for the future was fascinating. I learned so much from them and despite what their third world standards they are educated, proud and sincerely happy and simple people. I was interested in their explanation of American involvement in Cuba in the 50s, and how they lost 85% of the economy, based in sugar exports, once the Berlin wall came down. They have seen some very hard times.

I found this article an interesting read upon return:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Revolution
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frederick23



Joined: 24 Dec 2013
Posts: 482

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder since the post Berlin wall money has dried up where the country will be in 30 years? If capitalism took over , lots of prime real estate and jobs to re-hab the beautiful architecture as well as tourism dollars. Sounds like a fascinating place. I have had similar experience in the happiness of the people in third world countries.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3525

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That article leaves out something important.
At the time of the Revolution, Cuba was still the last Western feudal state. 75% of the land was owned by about 7 families.
My childhood friends were children of one of those families. They employed thousands of people, but barely paid them. If they needed money to go to town, the grandfather would give them just what was needed.
The folks who were mad were the city people.
Feudal conditions were not good in the cities of Europe and led to the end of that form of Gov. in Europe hundreds of years ago.
We were about ten ,listening to the older folks planning the Bay of Pigs.
The peasants from the country farms were asking the lords to come back and save them. They lost because they thought city folk would rise up too.
We heard all this without politics or prejudice because we were children.
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reinerehlers



Joined: 25 Jul 2001
Posts: 1046

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cuba just seems like another shining example why the US should mind its own business, especially back then. It's no wonder Castro kicked their filthy greedy and corrupt ways out of the country.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3525

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually RR another thing I remember is that Canadians were in Cuba at the same time in lesser numbers and Castro threw them out for their filthy ,greedy and corrupt ways.LOL

Or he threw them both out because the Russians made a deal with him to do so because they wanted a missile base near North America.so he could threaten both countries.

Through the years Castro has paid back some Canadian companies for assets taken when he threw out the Canadians.

Of course the vast majority of folks Castro threw out for their filthy dirty ways were Cubans.
Or maybe he threw them out for the crime of owning a business or farm in Cuba when he took everything for the government.
The Castro family is very rich these days.

We heard a lot of the details every day as kids playing in that Cuban exile family home.

Castro must have thrown out some Swiss too. I remember some solemn men in nice suits who looked like they were going to bolt at any minute. It was a big deal for Grandad because he wanted money from them. They seemed to want their stuff back after the Bay of Pigs invasion if it was successful.
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