Summertime is funnertime!
Funnertime? Really dude? What the hell kind of a word is that?
OK, it’s a bad one. One that I just made up. I’m in Las Vegas right now and it’s about 1,000 degrees outside, so the heat must be melting whatever brain I have left. Sorry, I won’t use that word again.
What I meant to say is summer is when the family and I let loose. The girls are out of school, so when we’re home, we almost live at the public pool. In between swimming, we’re on our bikes or building stuff around the house. And when we’re not doing that, we’re traveling. Our first big trip of the year was a cruise that happened to stop in Cuba.
Cavorting In Cuba
I like history and Cuba has always fascinated me. Everyone knows about the Cuban missile crisis, but this little-known event during the crisis was probably the closest the human race ever came to destroying itself. Scary.
Anyway, I’ve always wanted to visit the big island just 90 miles south of Key West. An opportunity presented itself when a family member volunteered to watch our children while Mrs. 1500 and I jumped on a cruise ship that departed close to Cocoa Beach:
The cruise was well, a cruise. There was a ton of food. And then some. Meh.
We didn’t know it ahead of time, but our cruise came with alcohol too. I usually don’t drink on cruises because the beer is expensive, but when beer is free…
Free beer wasn’t a good thing. I forced myself to walk a mile for every beer I consumed. I did a LOT of walking those 5 days:
But this post isn’t about cruises. Let’s talk about Cuba.
Hot Weather, Cold Beer And Friendly People
The boat docked in Havana early in the morning. The Mrs. and I had breakfast on the boat before departing.
Customs and money exchange were easy. It only took 15 minutes from departing the boat to roaming the streets of Havana. The first thing we did was head for El Capitolio, the home of government until the revolution in 1959. Along the way, we saw the old cars that Havana is famous for:
Many of the vehicles belched copious amount of exhaust fumes. I swear, I’ll never curse the Colorado emissions test again. However, there is hope for Havana. Many of the residents were getting around on electric scooters.
El Capitolio was closed, so we walked around the outside:
There were pictures of Fidel Castro and Che Guevera everywhere, but Western culture was also seeping in:
I was surprised to see a statue of Abraham Lincoln in a public park:
We spent quite a bit of time walking down the Malecon:
Somehow, we stumbled upon a microbrewery. Imagine that. The service was fast and the beer was cold:
I even got to use my very primitive Spanish once:
- Me: Donde esta el bano? (Where is the bathroom?)
- Cuban guy: ??????
Mr. Cuban Guy talked very fast. I didn’t have a clue what he said. Fortunately, he also pointed, so we set off in the direction he indicated and our bladders were soon relieved.
A couple times, locals came up and started talking to us. I was deeply suspicious of this; what did they want? However, it turned out that the locals just wanted to chat us up. They were very friendly.
Ruins and Cranes
Havana is a place of contrast. Some parts of it are spectacular:
But much of it looks more like this:
The ruins were sad because it was easy to see the beauty that was once there. The revolution didn’t do the economy any favors.
However, there were signs of light. We saw multiple cranes hard at work. The people were optimistic and lively. I got the feeling that better days are in Havana’s near future.
I will be back.
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