Monday, June 9, 2014

Day 7 - Cancun (Mexico) & Havana (Cuba)

Sunrise over the Caribbean sea.

Locals fishing

Cancun Hotel Zone

Beautiful morning

Just lazing at the day bed.
What a wonderful sunday morning!

Nice view, gentle breeze, quiet morning, comfortable bed...
Can't ask for more. =)

So relaxing and peaceful...


Beautiful Waves...

One of the best beaches I ever visited.

Panorama view

Turquoise Water

View from the water

Hyatt Regency Hotel
(A little old, but it has a really good location and view)

Relaxing in the sea....

One last view from the hotel room balcony. 
Just beautiful....

Cancun Hotel Zone 
(On board the flight from Cancun to Havana, Cuba!!)


Wiki: "Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is an island country in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba comprises the main island of Cuba, theIsla de la Juventud, and several archipelagosHavana is the capital of Cuba and its largest city. The second largest city is Santiago de Cuba.[13][14][15] To the north of Cuba lies the United States (150 km or 93 mi away) and theBahamas are to the northeast, Mexico is to the west (210 km or 130 mi away), the Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south, and Haiti and the Dominican Republic are to the southeast.

The island of Cuba was inhabited by numerous Mesoamerican tribes prior to the landing of Italian explorerChristopher Columbus in 1492, who claimed it for the Kingdom of Spain. Cuba remained a colony of Spain until theSpanish–American War of 1898, after which it was briefly administered by the United States until gaining nominal independence in 1902. The fragile republic endured increasingly radical politics and social strife, and despite efforts to strengthen its democratic system, Cuba came under the dictatorship of former president Fulgencio Batista in 1952.[16][17][18] Growing unrest and instability led to Batista's ousting in January 1959 by the July 26 movement, which afterwards established a socialist government under the leadership of Fidel Castro. Since 1965, the country has been governed as a single-party state by the Communist Party.

The Republic of Cuba is one of the world's remaining socialist states with Communist governments. The Constitution of 1976, which defined Cuba as a socialist republic, was replaced by the Constitution of 1992, which is "guided by the ideas of José Martí and the political and social ideas of MarxEngels and Lenin."[112] The constitution describes the Communist Party of Cuba as the "leading force of society and of the state"

The Cuban state adheres to socialist principles in organizing its largely state-controlled planned economy. Most of the means of production are owned and run by the government and most of the labor force is employed by the state. Recent years have seen a trend toward more private sector employment. By 2006, public sector employment was 78% and private sector, mainly composed by personal property, 22%, compared to 91.8% to 8.2% in 1981.[157] Any firm wishing to hire a Cuban must pay the Cuban government, which in turn will pay the employee in Cuban pesos.[158] The average monthly wage as of July 2013 is 466 Cuban pesos, which are worth about US$19.[159]"

The Cola drink served on the flight was not Coca Cola (American).

More than 15 years ago, I saw pictures of Cuba in a magazine. Back then, I had no knowledge about Cuba, but the impression was this country seemed to be frozen in time with its vintage cars. Subsequently,  I read the biography of  Guevara Ernesto Che and watched the motorcycle diary movie that led me to learn more about Cuba, and visiting this country became one of the items in my bucket list. 

Happy to tick it off my bucket list. =)

Official Money Changer in the airport.
(Bring Euro as you would incur additional 10% tax if you changed USD).

First impression of Cuba - Vintage Cars and No traffic!!

See... no cars!!!

Managed to stay in CASA - local home (which is good and cheap).

Wiki: "Casa particular (Spanish for "private house"; plural casas particulares) is a phrase meaning private accommodation or private homestays in Cuba, very similar to bed and breakfast although it can also take the form of vacation rental.

It is also considered a type of boarding house typically operated out of a single family residence where guests can be accommodated at night in private bedrooms (which may or may not be equipped with private baths) and where breakfast, sometimes continental and sometimes the full English variety, is served in the morning. The business may be operated either as a primary occupation or as a secondary source of income, and the staff often consists of the house's owner(s) and members of their family who live there.
Because they are usually small, rarely with room for more than about 5-6 guests, it is advisable for anyone wanting to stay at a particular casa particular during high season to make advance reservations. "

View from the CASA Balcony.

My first impression of Havana is it is really frozen in time. Vintage cars, old colonial building, nobody is using smart phone, spartan (limited consumerism), lotsa people hanging around on the street doing nothing...

Quite interesting. Something that I have never experienced before....

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