The Firearms Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
*VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*
Joined
·
25,889 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
INTERESTING!
From: [email protected]

~ TRIP TO CUBA ~ (Author Unknown)

Those of you who have been talking of going to Cuba may find this interesting.

As a 77 yr. old guy who has gone to Europe, Canada, Mexico and now Cuba for bicycle road trips, I thought you might enjoy reading my report of bike trip to Cuba:

On February 1st I flew to Atlanta, met some friends and we flew to Cancun, Mexico. We spent 4 days there, mostly touring the Mayan ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza and getting ready for the next part of the adventure. Seven more people flew in and we all boarded a Mexican airline, Interjet, and flew to Havana for a week of bicycle riding in Cuba.

Cuba, where nothing works, including the people. Unemployment is 48% and of those who do work, 8 out of every 10 work for the government. Before heading to the western part of the island, we spent a night in Havana at the Riviera Classic, the finest hotel at the time. 20 stories with 3 elevators, but only one worked. Contrary to what I found in the rest of the country, my shower only had hot water. Turn the knobs all you want, but you only got hot, scalding water.

The stories about the old cars is quite true, but many of those cars are used to take tourists on tours of the city. $30.00 gets you 2 hours in 1952 Cadillac convertible and you can pile in as many people in as you want. Old Chevys seem to be the most popular and a few are quite nicely restored. They all fell in the 1941 to 1957 range. I saw nothing newer than a 57. By restored, I mean they look good on the outside, but as our Cuban tour guide said, there would not be a V8 under the hood. The original had failed decades ago and with no parts to fix it, other means had to be found. Generally that involved putting a 4 cylinder Russian made diesel in and making the necessary changes to get it to fit and mate up with an unknown transmission.

Outside Havana, the country is still in the 19th century. Many people walk, but equally as many use horses, both to ride and pull carts. I saw wagons pulled by oxen on the highway. We traveled by motor coach, stayed in crude motels, and ate in restaurants; all owned by the government. Staying clean was a challenge. In the public restrooms washing your hands was interesting. You need three things to wash your hands; water, soap, towel to dry. Well the towel was your shirt or pants, because there never was any towels. In 1/3 of the toilets there was no water and in one case, there was a lady standing beside the sink with a bottle of water to pour over your hands. In an equal number of places, there was no soap.

If you thought not having soap and water in the rest room was a problem, imagine not having a toilet SEAT. Yep, no toilet seat and it wasn’t just confined to public facilities. One of the rooms we stayed in had no toilet seat, which was matched by the fact there was not toilet paper. In its place, somebody had carefully torn individual sheets of toilet paper from a roll and placed them on the back of the toilet.

Free health care and education is one of the things Castro brought with his revolution. The health care is generally limited to the bigger cities. Our guide told us that a taxi driver in Havana earned more in tips each day than a medical doctor earned in salary in one month . Oh, and the doctor can be arrested and jailed if he attempts to treat people on the side for extra money. Education is free, but the reality is that most people cannot afford to stay in school. Our tour guide was the exception. He completed college and got a Master’s degree in computer technology, but can’t find a job in that field, so he conducts tours.

We visited a tobacco farm, where we had the opportunity to purchase genuine Cuba cigars for $3.25. The farm had been in this man’s family for 3 generations, but only recently had actual title been put back in his name. The government claimed it after the revolution. After harvest, the government takes 90% of the tobacco, leaving the farmer with just 10% for his “own personal use”. He chose to demonstrate how to hand roll a cigar, then sell it to tourists. I asked our guide if all farmers lost 90% of their crop to the government. His reply, “Oh no, vegetable farmers only give up 60% of their crop”.

The roads looked like they had been carpet bombed with huge pot holes everywhere. Add that to the very steep hills we encountered and it made for slow biking. While I am no speed demon, one day I averaged just 4.5 MPH as I attempted to find bits of pavement between the holes in the road. In many cases, there was no road, just dirt and when the trucks went past, we were engulfed in a storm of dust and exhaust fumes. A few of the trucks were left over Russian military vehicles. Personal transportation in the rural area was provided by stake bodied trucks. People would stand by the side of the road and climb aboard when such a truck came by. The fare was around 8 cents and you stood packed in the bed of the truck with several dozen other people.

Those on well fare receive $25 a month, plus a ration of beans, rice, and cooking oil. The money came from the Cuban government, but the Russians provided the food. Each month a supply cargo ship docks with beans, rice, and cooking oil sent by the Russians. Speaking of them, the Cuban version of the Missile Crisis is quite different from what we heard in the US.

Glad I went, but have no desire to return. Cuba makes our inner cities look like paradise and the poverty is staggering. After two weeks abroad, we flew home and I spent the night in a Hampton Inn at the Atlanta airport, before catching an early morning flight back to Seattle. Took the longest hot water shower ever after having a cheeseburger, fries and two gin & tonics for dinner. I was really glad to be back.

Dedicated to all Bernie Sanders supporters and other DUMMYCRATS that believe "Government Socialism" is so much better than our country that was built on "Capitalism."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,168 Posts
Some of what is written in this article is true and some is just plain BS.
I've been to Cuba 20 + times and the author is a jerk and really is putting on a one sided story.
Unemployment is 48%????????
The real unemployment rate is 2.7% .
A stake bed truck for transportation? I just use their double decker buses.
I have never , never stayed at a hotel that didn't have both hot and cold running water.
The vast a mount of food imported into Cuba is from Argentina , Spain , and France.
Russian is classified as a dirty word in Cuba and the Cubian people treat the Russians like S--T.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,604 Posts
A very close friend of mine was born in Cuba 60 years ago. When he was 5-6 years old he saw a man cut in half with a machine gun in front of his house. He also told my there were many things that he would rather forget than talk about. His father was sent to prison for several years and when he escaped my friend and his parents came over on one of the rickety boats that someone managed to steal. I recently asked him if he would like to go back for a visit. Tears came to his eyes and he just mumbled a weak "no".

It may be a great place to visit or a terrible place to visit but I haven't lost anything there, so I don't care to go.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,995 Posts
A good friend of mine fought at the Bay of Pigs back in April of '61. It saddens me he passed away before democracy could be restored to his homeland.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,168 Posts
Cuba is a rapidly changing place. When I first went there I saw cops on every street corner with machine guns.
Today you never see any cops or military walking around with full auto weapons.
You have to keep in mind that it was not that long ago that they had a bloody revolution.
I too have relatives that were born and raised in Cuba but had left for political reasons.
I just wish that Cuba would be portraded as it really is . Remember that it is a second world country.
The politics involved are by the US in Cuba are insane.
How can you get a true picture of a country when If you are a US citizen you are allowed to see only certain things, go to certain places and stay at US approved hotels and not allowed to use the beaches.
I stay at mostly five star hotels and resorts and pay less than a third of what the people who come from the US pay. If you are a US citizen and leave from Canada , then there is NO restrictions. You can basicly go where you want see what you want and stay at the best hotels. The Cuban government doesn't care. The US government dose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,924 Posts
>The vast a mount of food imported into Cuba is from Argentina , Spain , and France.
Russian is classified as a dirty word in Cuba and the Cubian people treat the Russians like S--T<

Yeah, I wondered about that "food" thing. Seems like, since the 50s, we've been sending food to Russia, since they don't seem able to feed themselves.

So they give food to people they don't like? Why - because they all good little Commies?

I kinda doubt that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: grcsat

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,168 Posts
This is kind of funny. The Cuba government has to buy X amount of Russian made cars per year yet you never see them on the streets. The reason being is that they are stripped of parts while new . The engines are used in the old cars from days gone buy along with being put into tractors ect. The number one new car (for the past five years) in popularity in Cuba is the Suzuki.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,995 Posts
Another friend was on-site when Ivan's first shipment of farm tractors arrived in Cuba. He managed to get close enough to chat with some Soviet technicians and also inspect one of the tractors - I've no idea what model. He reported that included with the accessory equipment of each tractor was a blowtorch. Asking what purpose the blowtorch served, he was informed it was to help get the engine started in frigid weather. Can't say for sure, but I don't think Cuba's seen any frigid weather since the last Ice Age.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top