La Aventura with Patti & James

06 July 2018 | Faial Island –Atlantic Portugal
24 June 2018 | National Holiday day in Faial
22 June 2018 | afternoon whale watching boat trip
20 June 2018 | an enjoyable day trip to another island.
19 June 2018 | Fabulous Faial. – Azorean Island
18 June 2018 | Faial Island – Horta Harbour - Mid Atlantic
29 May 2018 | Mid Atlantic - in the middle of nowhere
26 May 2018 | the cruising yachtsman’s haven
25 May 2018 | party day in Hamilton
10 May 2018 | Vero Beach/Ft Pierce –road trip to Jacksonville.
12 April 2018 | Vibeke onboard
17 March 2018 | lovely to return to Belize and Mexico and meet up with sailing friends along the way
24 January 2018 | I have become so interested in Guatemala textiles
17 January 2018 | So great to catchup with so many friends and our families
01 November 2017 | what a wonderful Guatemalan fiesta to experience
29 October 2017 | Volcanic crater
28 October 2017 | Antiqua - Guatemala

CUBA - an evening out in Havana

16 June 2015 | boat jobs and evening in Havana
Tuesday 16th June
IMAGE Havana waterfront
TUESDAY 16 - today we decided to do a few boat-jobs during the day - making the most of having dockside electricity, and then have an evening out in Havana.

We chose the local bus route this afternoon to take us to the '50's-era kitsch Vedado neighbourhoods. There was a large influx of rich Americans at the start of the Prohibition era. By the 1950's Havana was a decadent, gambling city frolicking amid the all-night parties of American mobsters.
I was keen to walk around the lobby area of the large modernist Hotel Habana Libre to especially see the Venetian tile mural 'Carro de la Revoluction' and photo gallery from the day Castro and his bearded band commandeered the Hotel on Revolution day in 1959. The Hotel had been owned and operated by the American Hilton Hotel for just 9 months before Fidel ruled the country from a suite on the 24th floor. From that day it was no longer the Havana Hilton- he promptly renamed it Habana Libre (Free Havana). Today this is Havanas biggest and boldest Hotel, now managed by a Spanish Hotel chain - and is a full-on tour group hotel offering international standard services.

We next visited the Hotel Riviera - specifically to take a look at the lobby and possibly have an afternoon drink to take-in the 1950's atmosphere. This Hotel was a true mob/Marfa Vegas-style palace. The retro lobby is almost unchanged since the late 1950's. The smell of cigars still wafts through the lobby and deep leather couches. It isn't hard to imagine all the hoods and their gals congregating here. Sadly at 10CUC each the Rum and Cokes were beyond our budget - so we could just admire and imagine.

Fidel Castros new revolutionary government promptly closed down all the casinos and sent the Marfa guys packing - straight back to Miami. Their large hotels were divided up to provide homes for the rural poor.

Today I became a camera-mad transport spotter.
Now that we are getting to know the city and outskirts - we now understand that there are defiantly two transport systems - locals and tourist transport - ie peso or CUC payment. The main peso mass local transport are the old gas guzzling crowded busses - they go everywhere 24 hours a day, and do a great job of moving the masses in and around the city.
In the outer suburb of Santa Fe where we are in the Marina there are horse and carts mainly used for goods transport. A few posh horse carriages are available for tourists in Central Havana.
The only taxis that travel to the outer suburbs are old, falling apart American sedan cars. They operate like route taxis, and will stop at any request to dropoff or pickup - we have travelled on a few of these with the locals, paying in pesos- to the connecting bus stops.
The old yellow-and-black russian Ladas ply the streets around the Vedado hotels as tourist taxis.
The absolutely beautiful open-top classis Chevrolets are available for short 1 or 2 hours city centre unofficial tours - they look SO cool, and their owners are SO proud of these stunning cars. - they are now so iconic to Havana.
The fun little 2 seater Bici-Taxis are mainly located in Centro Havana - the pushriders work hard cycling around the streets, especially in this summer heat.
We saw some interesting little bubble cars. They are battery operated and silently float around - locals would not be seen dead in one of these!
Everyday Cubans do not own cars, but we did see a few old sidecars and the odd motorbike in and around the local outer streets.

Before finding somewhere for dinner and before it got dark I wanted to visit the streets around the Callejon de Hamel. After seeing the all-white clad Santeria followers around the city I had read about this Afro-Cuban area of Havana, and was hoping to look around and maybe catch some early evening Rumba music. Every building wall in the streets in and around the Callejon were full of mad, psychedelic wall art - some really dark images indeed! The many metal art pieces were of execution and punishment!! There were some rumba drums and other musical instruments in an impromptu stage area - but sadly there were many male street hustlers too. They were all trying to get us into their stores and keen to offer tours and explanations. Our time was too short here due to this intimidation, and we didn't feel comfortable.

Rather than finding a formal tourist restaurant we wanted to continue to explore and I had read about a street-food area and restaurant strip - this is more our style. After some wandering we found ourselves back on the Malecon at Rancho Coquito. This locals place is run by a Spanish co-operative society- and the food was excellent Spanish-type cuisine that we thoroughly enjoyed.

Late into the night, we caught a local bus and then a local taxi back to the Marina, to enjoy coffee in our cockpit and review todays fantastic photos.

Vessel Name: La Aventura
Crew: James & Patti

Who: James & Patti