Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Oh, yeah! Cuba. (Part Dos)

 

Hola!

My father would be very pleased to know that I posted this photo of he, my older brother, and me.

Since I got away with sharing a vacation slide show without complaint, I’ll try my luck again. From Havana, our guide took us on an excursion, 185 kilometers west of the city, to visit the karstic wonder, Vinales. Cuban highways have about as much pedestrian traffic on them as they do automotive; tobacco fields and drying huts dominate the foreground and are contained by the forested mountains in the distance.

On the way there, we were able to stop by a farm whose operators were friends of our guide. Instead of helping the regime, we were able to load up on cigars and enjoy some delicious fresh lemonade. As unsettling Havana was upon arriving (and I was visiting from New Orleans!) you really have to leave the city to get a sense of the poverty that Cubans have to struggle with.

If you missed part 1, check it out here.

Some accompanying music:

The Road to Vinales:

A bus stop of sorts. This is on the highway heading away from Havana.

People walking along the virtually empty highway is common. Most commuters rely on hitchhiking to get to Havana or Santiago.

A gorgeous little restaurant outside of Vinales.

This is Miss! You might’ve already met Miss. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the Cubans took to her. She was everyone’s favorite Block.
Little sister.
This is a restaurant!

Vinales, Cuba.

This was one of those rare sights that gave me a taste of what the country would have been like before the revolution

This seemed to be the most popular form of transport besides walking. Again, this is on one of the nation’s major roadways.

Older sister.

Padre y Miss.

Another bus stop along the highway. I did my best to get shots of these, but we were moving about 50 to 70 km whenever we passed one.

State property! (The cows anyway. Even if somebody else owns the land. Up to 18 years imprisonment for butchering one.)

I’ll put together photos of Cienfuegos and Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) next. Stay tuned.

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There are 11 comments.

  1. Doug Watt Member

    Thank you for the posts with these photos.

    • #1
    • November 7, 2019, at 3:37 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. Samuel Block Member
    Samuel Block Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Thank you for the posts with these photos.

    Thanks for checking ’em out Doug. I’ve got a lot of pictures, so I’ll probably put together at least two more posts on other parts of the country. 

    • #2
    • November 7, 2019, at 5:13 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  3. MarciN Member

    I’m really enjoying these photographs. Why was your family in Cuba? I’m just curious.

    One of my all-time favorite movies is the last one Hitchcock made: Topaz. I’ve watched it at least ten times. I’m fascinated by the story. I’ve always believed it was some sort of historical fiction–in other words, that it is based on a likely series of events surrounding the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. The story is so plausible. Have you seen it? Some of the pictures you’ve posted here and in the first post remind me of some of the locations in the movie.

    • #3
    • November 7, 2019, at 5:28 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  4. Samuel Block Member
    Samuel Block Post author

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I’m really enjoying these photographs. Why was your family in Cuba? I’m just curious.

    One of my all-time favorite movies is the last one Hitchcock made: Topaz. I’ve watched it at least ten times. I’m fascinated by the story. I’ve always believed it was some sort of historical fiction–in other words, that it is based on a likely series of events surrounding the Cuban missile crisis on October 1962. The story is so plausible. Have you seen it? Some of the pictures you’ve posted here and in the first post remind me of some of the locations in the movie.

     

    Thanks Marci! 

    I haven’t seen the Hitchcock flick, but I’ll see if I can find it. Sounds great!

    As for why the Block’s went to Cuba: My father moved around a lot, mostly in the south, while he was young. When his mother remarried in the middle 60’s, they located permanently in South Florida. He’s been a political animal since a young age – but the joke about him being pleased that I’d post the picture of he and his sons smoking Cuban cigars is that I’m posting it on a conservative website. My father is a committed New Deal Progressive. 

    Sometime around 2010, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. By 2015/2016 it was very aggressive and doctors were talking about arduous, risky treatments or hopefully healthful living that could allow him to make it another five years. He always wanted to go to Cuba – it being a forbidden destination, a mere 150 miles away.

    (Miraculously, despite choices like taking up a cigar-smoking habit, and beginning to drink again after a half decade of sobriety, his cancer has stopped spreading so aggressively.)

    So, anyway, that’s why the family went to Cuba.

    • #4
    • November 7, 2019, at 6:00 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. MarciN Member

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I’m really enjoying these photographs. Why was your family in Cuba? I’m just curious.

    One of my all-time favorite movies is the last one Hitchcock made: Topaz. I’ve watched it at least ten times. I’m fascinated by the story. I’ve always believed it was some sort of historical fiction–in other words, that it is based on a likely series of events surrounding the Cuban missile crisis on October 1962. The story is so plausible. Have you seen it? Some of the pictures you’ve posted here and in the first post remind me of some of the locations in the movie.

     

    Thanks Marci!

    I haven’t seen the Hitchcock flick, but I’ll see if I can find it. Sounds great!

    As for why the Block’s went to Cuba: My father moved around a lot, mostly in the south, while he was young. When his mother remarried in the middle 60’s, they located permanently in South Florida. He’s been a political animal since a young age – but the joke about him being pleased that I’d post the picture of he and his sons smoking Cuban cigars is that I’m posting it on a conservative website. My father is a committed New Deal Progressive.

    Sometime around 2010, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. By 2015/2016 it was very aggressive and doctors were talking about arduous, risky treatments or hopefully healthful living that could allow him to make it another five years. He always wanted to go to Cuba – it being a forbidden destination, a mere 150 miles away.

    (Miraculously, despite choices like taking up a cigar-smoking habit, and beginning to drink again after a half decade of sobriety, his cancer has stopped spreading so aggressively.)

    So, anyway, that’s why the family went to Cuba.

    What a wonderful story! 

    Prostate cancer is like that. I’m so happy for your dad. 

    • #5
    • November 7, 2019, at 6:17 PM PST
    • 1 like
  6. Arahant Member

    About how old is your father, Sam’l?

    • #6
    • November 7, 2019, at 6:39 PM PST
    • 1 like
  7. Samuel Block Member
    Samuel Block Post author

    Arahant (View Comment):

    About how old is your father, Sam’l?

    Mi padre es about 64 años.

    • #7
    • November 7, 2019, at 6:48 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  8. Arahant Member

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    Mi padre es about 64 años.

    He looks younger, although one might say the pictures aren’t exactly close-up portraits.

    • #8
    • November 7, 2019, at 7:49 PM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Samuel Block Member
    Samuel Block Post author

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    Mi padre es about 64 años.

    He looks younger, although one might say the pictures aren’t exactly close-up portraits.

    He does look pretty young. Before his diagnosis, and subsequent medical complications, he was incredibly healthy. 

    • #9
    • November 7, 2019, at 10:32 PM PST
    • Like
  10. kylez Member

    You might be interested in this post of mine from 2 years ago about a relative who went to Cuba to keep bees in the early 20th century.

    https://ricochet.com/428329/archives/cuba-1903/#comments

    • #10
    • November 8, 2019, at 1:09 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Samuel Block Member
    Samuel Block Post author

    kylez (View Comment):

    You might be interested in this post of mine from 2 years ago about a relative who went to Cuba to keep bees in the early 20th century.

    https://ricochet.com/428329/archives/cuba-1903/#comments

    Definitely interested! Thanks for letting me know about this. The country has such a complicated history, which is why I don’t want these posts to have too much commentary. The situation there is tragic, but it is not without tremendous beauty. 

    • #11
    • November 8, 2019, at 1:28 AM PST
    • Like