Tag Archives: travel

Trinidad, Cuba – Another Part of Town

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On one of our many walks through town, my travel buddy and I, armed with cameras, decided to take photos of the community around us.

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Trinidad, Cuba – Almost Speechless

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What can I say about this place to do it justice?  Nothing much, which is why I placed the pictures first. If there were a fairy tale set in colonial era Cuba, it would all take place in this town that borders the warm azure waters of the Caribbean.

Cobblestone streets, ancient walkways, ruined churches, and amazingly restored homes…..simply took my breath away.  I even had a knight in shiny cowboy boots tell me that since I was unmarried and had no boyfriend, I was all his….wow!!

Sorry, Cuenca, Ecuador…I have a new (if totally unattainable) love in my life and it’s name is Trinidad.  It’s too bad I can’t live in Cuba though, since as a non-Canadian foreigner I can only be in the country for 60 days max in a single visit (Canadians get up to 6 months), and there is very, very limited entrepreneurship allowed here (and none by individual foreigners not married to Cubans – with a few exceptions). And what is allowed is highly controlled by the State..or black market.

That said…please allow me to fantasize!!

Almuerzo (Lunch) – Ecuador vs Cuba

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Cuba is definitely part of the Latin American/Caribbean  club for low cost, flavorful meals….if you eat in peso restaurants, not geared for tourists (which is why it is a peso restaurant).  Cuba has two currencies (1) the national peso is what salaries are paid in and (2) the CUC, which is what tourists use and it is the currency for modern or big ticket purchases. The CUC is pegged to the US dollar 1:1 and 25 pesos = 1 CUC. 4 lunches at a peso restaurant in Camaguey cost 163 pesos ($6.50) and included a quarter of roasted chicken for each person, drinks, rice, a side salad for one person and a corn-mash side.  In Santiago, our meal  for two people was 20 pesos ($0.80) and included a whole fish, rice, a vegetable side dish (stewed yucca), and juice.

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So eating out in Cuba is on par with eating in Cuenca, Ecuador if you are comparing peso restaurants to almuerzo specials.  However, Cuban restaurants were the CUC is the currency of choice are by definition more expensive and are usually on par with restaurant prices in the US.

Chess in Cuba

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My little travel buddy, Little Lucie, loves to play chess and Cuba was the perfect place to indulge in the game.   She did a presentation for our local chess club yesterday and she posted her thoughts on her blog page.

Click here to check out her page and her presentation.

Attention Book Lovers

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In Camaguey we got to see something incredible,  a sight rarely if ever seen in the US.  This week the Feria de Libros, the national Cuban book fair, has come to Camaguey and it is all about books for sale in every corner, kiosk, free space available in town.  Books for children and adults, history and philosophy, epic and revolutionary – take your pick of literally themes and you will surely find them here, in Spanish. And folks not only are the books available, they are inexpensive and priced within every Cuban’s budget.

Cuba, which has the 2nd highest literacy rate in the world ( according to a 2011 UN report), is a country of readers and this was evident by the long lines and excitement around all of the book kiosks, bookstores, and corners of random shops, cultural centers, churches and pet shops, that had tables and shelves stacked with books.

Feria de Libros is an annual event that happens in every city throughout the country for a least a week.  So it is not just the “big city folks” that get to partake, even those in more rural areas get a week to revel in the majesty of literary abundance, diversity and affordability.

Purchasing books can be a cost prohibitive endeavor for those on a tight budget in the US, but the cost of books at the Feria range from 2 pesos (national) to 20 pesos (national).  This is the equivalent of 8 to 80 cents (USD).

I got so excited, I wanted to pick some books out as well.