Monday, April 23, 2007

Back from Cuba

Yesterday we arrived back in Vancouver after a relaxing and refreshing vacation. Dr. H. and I had decided to take a vacation fairly last minute, and booked a resort online with less research than is usual for us. In a stroke of good luck, the resort we choose was beautiful and lots of fun. We arrived back in Vancouver relaxed, refreshed, and ready to get back to real life....well, sort of ready for real life.

Lately many hits on the blog have been from U.S. visitors. With that in mind I thought it might be interesting to post a few pics from Cuba, as Americans never get to see this very interesting place. Cuba has a very interesting history, worth reading about. At present it is a one party socialist republic, with Fidel Castro as Prime Minister. The cultural background is a fascinating mix of traditions brought to the island by both Spanish colonialists as well as African Slaves. Since becoming a socialist republic, Cuba has been under trade embargo from the USA. This has resulted in some interesting cultural twists in Cuba. For instance, the trade embargo has severely limited the import of cars to the island. As a result they have made the cars they have last, and the cars on the roads are mainly classics from the 40's and 50's, often with Diesel engines in them. This has also created a transportation shortage and there is wide spread organized hitchhiking and some very interesting buses, as partial solutions to the problem. Havana itself is a very beautiful place with much intact Spanish colonial architecture.

Cuba really is a fascinating place. Like any resort destination it is difficult to see the contrasts of poverty side by side with the often opulent resorts. Like so many things, tourism itself has both positive and negative implications for the local people. Below are a few pictures you might enjoy...

The resorts pool.

A camel bus in Havana.

Some European looking row housing in Havana.

A classic car, and it's proud owner.

A cigar makers bench.

The Tropicana show in Havana.

Time to return to real life....


medstudentitis said...

Getting onto a camel bus was one of the most interesting and fragrant things I've ever experienced. Somehow even though I've ridden numerous rush hour buses in numerous places crammed with people until I thought I couldn't breathe, people seem to stand much closer in cuba :) Hope you had a cuba libre for me.

doctor T said...

I believe you stayed at the same resort my husband and I stayed at 2 years ago. It really is the nicest one on the stretch.

I found Cuba interesting but a bit troubling. The tourist industry is such a stark contrast to the rest of Cuba. I'm still not sure how I feel about the country.