DixPix Photographs

     

CUBA

 
     
  TOURISM VERSUS REALITY  

 

"Cuba is a lovely island, unless you are Cuban", or so the saying goes.  Most visitors wind up at tourist traps such as Varadero which have nothing to do with the reality of Cuba.  There are, however, other more isolated tourist accommodations scattered about the island.  Most of these were originally built for the Cubans themselves, but after the fall and withdrawal of the Soviet Union, the need for hard currencies turned these into tourist establishments, and the cubans are now only welcome if they are among the few with dollars.  If you are a tourist, to reach these more remote lodges will require either being adventurous, having some Spanish, or having a guide.

 

Baracoa Harbor, in the easternmost part of Cuba.  If you see yachts, it means tourists, although U.S.  patrol boats threaten American citizens and try to deter others from visiting. Click to see big picture (640x429 pixels; 94 KB)
This is the tourist lodge in Baracoa.  Very nice, but don't
expect to rub shoulders with any Cubans there.
Click to see big picture (640x389 pixels; 111 KB)
The beachside cave-bar near Santiago de Cuba represented the nearest thing to private enterprise in the 1990's.  Click to see big picture (636x407 pixels; 119 KB)
But these attractive hideouts are only open to Cubans if they are among the few with dollars. Click to see big picture (349x480 pixels; 85 KB)
If there are enough tourists around, it may even be worth roasting a pig. Click to see big picture (365x414 pixels; 76 KB)
Alas, the first signs of a place that entertains gringos is deposits of a type of garbage completely alien to Cuba.
Unwelcome at the tourist beaches, Cuban families still find many secluded coves. Click to see big picture (640x429 pixels; 130 KB)
And in Cuba, as with other parts of Latin America, family is of utmost importance. Click to see big picture (640x406 pixels; 86 KB)
One of the most impressive sections of coastline borders the Blue Mountains, Cuba's highest range. Click to see big picture (640x424 pixels; 94 KB)
Away from the coasts, the rest of Cuba plods on. Click to see big picture (640x414 pixels; 129 KB)
With few buses, trucks provide the major method of travel.
This is common throughout Latin America.
Click to see big picture (640x462 pixels; 131 KB)
But in Cuba it has been institutionalized.  There is a laws requiring
drivers to pick up hitch-hikers if they have room.
Click to see big picture (640x371 pixels; 60 KB)
Ox logging was once the norm, but in Latin America it is now
confined to areas which are either more primitive or which lack
road access.
Click to see big picture (640x369 pixels; 115 KB)
Then again the availability of oxen can be handy.  Here the author's truck is being towed from the mountains after blowing a cylinder. Click to see big picture (640x429 pixels; 100 KB)
School children near Guantanamo (the Cuban city, not the naval base) return with rustic hoes from school "lessons" in the fields. Click to see big picture (640x353 pixels; 87 KB)
Cuban cuisine has a rich history, but the ingredients are now mostly unavailable.  There are special stores for tourists and the few Cubans with dollars, but for the rest it is down to basic foods and rationing. Click to see big picture (603x480 pixels; 108 KB)
Environmental concerns are not foremost in Cuba.  This is a
nickel refinery on the north coast.
Click to see big picture (640x422 pixels; 75 KB)
On the other hand, music and the visual arts are free and widespread for Cubans. Click to see big picture (395x480 pixels; 69 KB)
And scattered throughout Cuba there are theme parks and other
sites of educational entertainment for families.  This "paleo-geologist" is from a pre-historic theme park near Santiago.
Click to see big picture (335x480 pixels; 66 KB)