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PostOff for Cuba Through December 25th (John Eipper, USA, 12/14/17 5:18 am)
Greetings from Toronto. As of tonight, WAIS will put down stakes in Cuba. Our itinerary includes three days in Havana, then Viñales, Trinidad, Playa Girón, and finally Varadero beach. This will be my first visit since the spring of 1998. It's been twenty years of momentous change--or is it plus ça change?
I will do my WAISly utmost to keep the posts coming. Wi-fi on the island is increasing and available in some hotels. But at unconnected times I'll get to experience the ETECSA (telecommunications) card, which gives ordinary Cuban citizens Internet access...for a price. I found this advice on the 'Net:
Absolutely, although the reviewer's closing recommendation may not be for everyone. To my mind, it's preferable to make the long and exhausting tail, even with the warmth. (The CUC is the convertible peso, Cuba's parallel "hard" currency. In '98 the US dollar was king, but now it is proscribed. Although the CUC-USD exchange is 1 to 1, there is a 10% surcharge imposed by the government on Gringo Greenbacks. Therefore, savvy US travelers equip themselves with the unpenalized euro or Canadian dollar, which we have done.)
I'll close with a replay of Pat Mears's classic postcard (below). Our shark team is hitched up, Aldona has donned her bonnet and petticoats, and it's time to set sail...
We return on the 25th--Christmas Day.
Off for Cuba; from Gary Moore
(John Eipper, USA
12/15/17 5:14 PM)
Gary Moore writes:
As you step out onto the tarmac to greet Raúl, a belated note of thanks
for your felicitous phrasing re the New York Times-Carlos Slim note: "charitable condescension."
It's a tough area to get into and I was glad of your response.
Oops. There he IS--with glad hand extended to the Adrian ambassadors,
and eager with the time-share
JE comments: We finally did land in Havana, and had the joy of going through a metal detector as you leave the plane. Doing things takes time in Cuba, such as a full hour and a half to get out of the airport.
Raúl to greet us, but the weather is beautiful and this city is, well,
fascinating. Bustling, edgy, shabby-chic. The hotel wi-fi is
glacier-slow, which may limit my ability to upload photos. Of the classic cars alone, I'll have hundreds.
Off for Cuba; WAIS Email Alert
(Luciano Dondero, Italy
12/16/17 4:00 AM)
Have a nice time in Cuba!
PS: And Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your wife.
JE comments: Many thanks, Luciano; same to you and yours. We'll begin today at the Memorial de la Denuncia, the newly opened museum that famously displays the CIA's exploding cigars and other attempts to bring down the Castro regime. This should be an eye-opener for a visiting Yankee.
Important note: One of my two WAIS e-mail accounts, email@example.com, has been blocked: "service not available in your country." I am also shut out of my Adrian College "civilian" account. So to reach me and to send WAIS posts through December 25th, please hit "reply" or try firstname.lastname@example.org.
So far, so good... although Internet service is very iffy here.
- Off for Cuba; WAIS Email Alert (Luciano Dondero, Italy 12/16/17 4:00 AM)