Updates from February, 2015 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 7:23 pm on February 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Cuba’s Ironic Curtain, through Uncertain Countryside… 

    Old Cathedral in Trinidad

    Old Cathedral in Trinidad, Cuba

    Continued from previous…spent four days getting my internal bearings greased and realigned, so now my Cuba trip is one-third over… good to finally get out into the Cuban countryside… too little of that, and too much city…

    …nothing spectacular about the Cuban countryside, but still it’s nice, rolling fields with agricultural plantations and the occasional wilderness.  We pass through Cienfuegos, a small city on the western coast, where half the passengers, mostly backpacker types, disembark…

    …finally pull into Trinidad an hour and a half later… I gulp audibly.  Uh-oh, I’ve been here before… rot sets in first where the fruit is ripest… it’s too small, a tourist enclave and little else… lady on the sidewalk holds up a sign reading “ROOMS $15”, looking for all the world like a cute little webcam ‘performer’ with a sign across her bare midriff reading something like “$.99 min.”  (More …)

  • hardie karges 5:59 pm on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Cuba Si, WiFi No… 

    Tourist quarter of Havana

    Tourist quarter of Havana

    continued from previous…

    …move out of my first hotel to save a few bucks and because nothing works right… take an Indonesian mandi-style splash bath for two days, rather than watch them turn my room into a work-site, or God forbid, loan me a screwdriver.  That would’ve required another chapter on Marxist class struggle….

    …move to a casa particular to save a few bucks, but looks like any savings will quickly get squandered in Internet charges… if I stay, that is… doubt that Cubana de Aviacion will let me change the date of my return with such a cheap flight… can hardly travel without Internet now, booking for the next stop a few days in advance… usually I don’t worry about such things.  In the high season in the Caribbean I do, especially here.  Chill, Hardie, chill. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 6:38 pm on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Lots of hassle – it seems. Not much fun. But enlightening for us to read.

  • hardie karges 4:06 pm on February 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Last Commie Standing (almost): Cuba on the Installment Plan 

    Taxi in Havana

    Taxi in Havana

    January 2009

    After three more days in Jamaica… on to Havana… got the $250RT killer deal to Cuba, half the normal price… $6-700 round trip to Cuba from Tijuana, no need to hip-hop the Caribbean.  But that’s a slow way to reach 200 countries… Havana’s little more than an hour from Jamaica.

    If you’ve never been to a Communist country, then you should go: the cold gray architecture, the suspicious glances, and the general lack of… anything.  The hard part is timing: real Soviet/Bolshevik-style communism, on the cusp of their coming out.  Frankly I was surprised—even shocked—to see Cuba in the backward state it’s in. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 10:46 pm on February 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I was interested to see this post of Jan. 2009 – six years ago. It was very interesting.

      Charla and I have just returned from four days away attending the DAR State conference in Jackson at the Hilton. It is good to be back home.


  • hardie karges 8:04 pm on February 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Suriname: New Knickers in Nieuw Nickerie; Barbados: the Good Life in Passing 

    Surinamese architecture

    Surinamese architecture

    January 2009

    …every mile traveled out means another mile I must travel back- the motto after all IS ‘backpack, don’t backtrack’- since interior roads are few and far between in this undeveloped wilderness.  So I decided I’d maybe just go to the French Guiana border and make an unofficial crossing, withdraw enough Euros from the French ATM’s at a savings good enough to pay for the trip- I need Euros for Cuba- then come back.  But that’s still extra miles and Lonely Planet says the best thing to do in the border town of Albina is leave, which is very uncharacteristic of the usually overly optimistic crew there…

    So when the US dollar suddenly gained ground against the Euro and I realized that I could withdraw fairly large amounts of local currency from the Paramaribo ATM’s and buy enough Euros right there in the local cambios, then why make a butt-busting trip just to save a few bucks and cover my future Kountry Kount in the unlikely event that Guyane Francaise might one day secede from the union?  France is not likely to give up the Ariane launchpad at Kourou any time soon I don’t reckon… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 8:47 pm on February 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      How do you have the stamina to withstand? At least, you survive to share your experiences with us – and e appreciate it a lot.

  • hardie karges 3:14 pm on February 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Paramaribo, Sranan Tongo, Suriname   

    Satori In Suriname: Naked Lunch & A/C Nightmares As I Lay Dying 

    Old Paramaribo, Suriname

    Old Paramaribo, Suriname

    New Year 2009

    Paramaribo a traveler’s dream… Suriname one of those great unknowns, I long put off by the presence of a local dialect called “Taki-taki,” figure some sort of pidgin (i.e. bad) English, follow me around like some fart that just won’t go away.  Mea culpa mea culpa mea culpa mea culpa hail Mary hail Mary hail Mary hail Mary.  Taki-taki, aka Sranan Tongo… goes back to the earliest days of colonialism… a complete mystery to me even when written…

    …line between Dutch and Sranan Tongo is a horizontal one separating at least educational, if not social levels… Taki-taki the language of no single one, but of all… Dutch the language of government, education and commerce, and some educated native-born Surinamese who speak it amongst themselves… touts and hawkers bark at me in Dutch not English…  testament to the very low level of tourism here and the high percentage of those who are Dutch… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 4:29 pm on February 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Fantastic. A good read on a cold February morning in Mississippi..

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