Tag Archives: Cuba

Far from home

Cuban spread

WE PASSED 15 years of matrimony last month and had planned on spending a few days on the Pacific sands to mark the happy event, but it never happened.

My dental work intervened, not just the visits to the dentist but the cost too, which took a good chunk out of the checkbook. Sure, we could still go to the beach, but the moment has passed, plus it’s hot as hell there right now.

We decided to just “celebrate” with a nice meal at a Cuban restaurant in the state capital. The restaurant offers a “Cuban banquet,” and we ordered that … for two.

That was last weekend. The banquet is quite good. The only beef I have with it is they plop everything on your table at the same time. It should come in stages, especially the warm dessert.

We’ve also eaten Cuban food in Cuba, of course, and it was good, but I wouldn’t recommend visiting Cuba. It’s depressing.

Lying in bed this morning before dawn, I was thinking about the United States where I was born and where I have not set foot in eight years. I likely will never set foot there again.

Years of separation, living in a very different society, affects your mind, your viewpoint, your perspective and so on. I’m sure that a visit now would be jarring.

The Germanic efficiency, the rules, the regulations, the cops who actually pay attention to your speed, the need to watch your mouth, be “sensitive.” Indeed, the entire humorless, asexual, multicultural mess that exists up there.

Don’t think I’d care for any of it.

I would enjoy a New Orleans snow cone and beignets on the banks of the Mississippi. But I would reel at prices that would seem stunning due to the exchange rate of the last few years and my no longer having access to dollars.

But mostly it would be a thump to my psyche.

Most Americans who live down here appear to flee back over the border on a regular basis, avoiding that thump.

I have no plans to return, ever.

Not to America. Not to Cuba either.

Up in the sky

SUNDAY WAS the final installment of a three-day, hot-air balloon festival in our mountaintop town.

I shot this brief video from our upstairs terraza.

The airport, and that’s using the term loosely, rests on the edge of my neighborhood on the outskirts of town. It’s a dirt strip that goes virtually unused all year.

There is a hangar there, and a DC-9 without wings on display. A funny story that. The DC-9 was brought here on a massive flatbed tractor-trailer some years back.

It had almost completed the trip when it had to make a right turn from one highway to a lesser road just three blocks from the Hacienda. There is an incline to the roadbed and, halfway around the curve, the jet fell off the trailer.

It rolled briefly toward a carnitas stand about 20 feet away. I imagine those seconds were endless to the crew cutting carnitas. It’s not often you see a DC-9 rolling your way.

The jet was hoisted back upon the trailer and continued the short distance to our airport where it now lives.

The hangar there, the DC-9 and, previously, an ultralight service is owned by some well-off individual. The ultralight service has gone out of business due to lack of, well, business.

Once I drove over there to inquire about learning to fly ultralights, something I never got around to, and the fellow let me go inside the DC-9, which was lots of fun.

I have a private-pilot’s license though I haven’t used it since the 1970s. It never expires. I also took a number of sailplane lessons in Central Texas, but I never got that license either.

There’s something a bit unnerving about being up in a plane with no means of propulsion whatsoever.

I skydived once in Louisiana, and I went up in a hot-air balloon once in Texas. Giving my mother near heart attacks apparently was an unconscious, lifetime goal.

And then there were the motorcycles.

She’s dead now, so I’ve quit doing all that stuff.

My father could not have cared less.

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(Promo! For those of you who have not recently visited — or never have — my SlickPic photos, there is a new look and new photos. The SlickPic Gallery is where you’ll find gobs of photos of the Hacienda through the years, our Cuba visit in 2012, photos of the Downtown Casita (available on AirBnB), my art furniture, Mexico in general and, last but not least, a blow by blow — photo-wise — of the construction of our free-standing pastry kitchen.)

Two birds, one stone

upstairs

FIRST BIRD:

This lovely photo of the upstairs terraza was taken years ago, but don’t be fooled. It’s the worst spot of the house.

Doing a 180, and taking another shot, you get this below, which was taken within the last year.

new-image

The chairs are the same, but the table now lives on the balcony of our downtown Casita, and the umbrella rotted from blazing sun and scorching heat.

For years I had a hammock under the roof tile, which covers a small percentage of the overall terraza, but in time I found myself rarely using it, so I gave it away.

Nowadays nobody goes out there much. No plant survives there except for cacti. Due to the floor being too level, a pond lives out there, ignoring the drain holes, covering about a fifth of the area, through the five rainy months.

A few years ago, a big section of the ceramic floor buckled from the heat and sun, and had to be replaced.

The spot should have been planned better during the construction, but it wasn’t. A darn shame. Mistakes happen when you’re too cheap to hire an architect.

SECOND BIRD:

new-imageCan’t let a post slip by without a political element, at least not these glorious days.

Fidel Castro died. This may be the best month in decades. First, Donald Trump wins. Then Castro dies. Some are suggesting a connection, but I doubt it.

I was saddened, but not surprised, to see Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto expressing sorrow for the pendejo’s overdue death. I voted for Peña Nieto.

But even more appalling is the reaction of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who described Fidel as a “remarkable leader” and “legendary revolutionary.”

You cannot argue with either of those descriptions, but Trudeau meant them positively, not negatively.

Trudeau is a world-class ignoramus, and Canadians must be so proud. I guess he’s never been in Cuba, and if he has, he got the standard whitewash tour delivered by despots.

I have been in Cuba. A snarky hats-off to the Canuck nincompoop PM for inspiring me to link to this.

Let’s take both these birds and flip them toward Prime Minister Trudeau, using two hands.

“Liberal” response

loveAS OFTEN as one sees it, and that is too often, it’s hard not to roll one’s eyes at the ongoing response from “Democrats” to the victory of President-Elect Trump.

This morning I read a post from a left-wing blogger, a Cuban immigrant to the United States who’s now retired and living in the Gringo haven of San Miguel de Allende.

He will remain unnamed to avoid embarrassing him.

It was the same old stuff. Trump is a racist, misogynist, hater of gays, fascist, well, you know the long, familiar, silly list. And that Trump’s election spells the end of days.

The Earth has veered off course.

All of these epithets, of course, fly directly in the face of reality. Trump waved the Rainbow Flag during the campaign, never uttered a word against women or minorities,* but leftists have become so accustomed to hurling epithets that they simply don’t know how to apply the brakes.

It’s what they are: profanity, epithets and violence. It is the logical result of the politically correct obsession.

Trump, a guy from Queens, ran a bare-knuckle campaign, and it worked. Four years ago, Romney ran a cocktail-party campaign, and he lost. You cannot be polite facing today’s “Democrat” Party and have a prayer of winning.

After Nov. 8, Trump immediately halted the bare-knuckles approach, and now comports himself as a statesman. Polls indicate his likability has risen since his victory.

He’s named two women,** one a “minority,” to his Cabinet so far. There goes the misogyny and xenophobia.

Ben Carson may be the HUD secretary. There goes the racism. And if he does not name Carson, he will include blacks in his administration. Trust me.

But many Hillary lovers continue to behave in the manner you see at the top here, if not literally, then by word.

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. Let us be thankful that Donald Trump won the election instead of the woman beloved by the thugs in the drawing above.

I leave you with Trump’s holiday message to the nation. It is a message of unity. Imagine that.

* Illegal aliens are not U.S. minorities. Almost all come from Latin America where they are the majority. In the United States, they are simply law-breakers.

** Nikki Haley, designated U.N. ambassador, is the daughter of Sikh immigrants. Betsy DeVos, a champion of charter schools, is the Education Department choice.

Ronnie knew best

I’M ALMOST finished with H. W. Brands’ biography of Ronald Reagan. I recommend it to you.

I invariably voted Democrat during Reagan’s times, and I wasn’t a fan of his due to being duped by the left-wing news media of which I was a card-carrying member. Oh, the shame!

But the dawn of the 21st century, my move to Mexico and my higher tortilla intake caused my intelligence quotient to soar, and Reagan now makes perfect sense.

This is one of those countless things from the past that seem so relevant today. The speech was delivered during Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. Reagan was simply stumping for Goldwater, but this speech put Reagan on the path that led to his own win of the presidency in 1980.

It is a famous speech with reason.

One wonders what Reagan would make of the tragic societal disintegration occurring in the United States as a result of political correctness and the glorifying of multiculturalism and its resulting and increasing bloodshed.

The Soviet Union did not threaten the United States half as much as “Black Lives Matter,” Weepy Barry and — on the horizon but creeping closer — savage Mohammedans who are endlessly discounted by America’s ruling class.

* * * *

(Note: There is a White House petition under way to formally name “Black Lives Matter” as a terrorist organization. Go sign right here.)

Havana revisited

roofs
View from the top of Hemingway’s Ambos Mundos hotel.

WEEPY BARRY recently visited Cuba, posing in front of the murderer Ché Guevara, glad-handing with Raúl Castro, and getting dissed by the dictatorship after he’d gone home.

He’s ever the embarrassment.

This foolishness inspired me to flip through our Havana photo album from our anniversary trip in 2012. And I’m going to share a few photos from the visit, some of which some of you have seen already. But some of you have not.

tank
Felipe poses in front of the tank Fidel manned at the Bay of Pigs.
View over the tail fins of a 1059 Buick Invicta.
View over the tail fins of a 1959 Buick Invicta cruising Havana’s Malecón.
window
From our bedroom in the Mansion la Orquidea, a B&B in Vedado.
Felipe in "Old Havana."
Felipe in “Old Havana.”

It was a memorable trip, my second visit to a dictatorship, the first being Baby Doc Duvalier’s Haiti in the 1970s. Baby Doc’s despotism was far preferable to the Castros’.

As ever, a full report of that trip can be found here, and more photos can be found here.

Bill’s Cuban vacation

BILL O’REILLY spent some time in Cuba shortly after Weepy Barry and the Rolling Stones visited the socialist* isle.

Ole Bill makes some digs at Bernie Sanders, implying there is some link between Bernie’s air-headed, socialist campaign and the Castro regime, but there is little comparison, of course. Bernie does not advocate a police state.

He just wants a far more intrusive government, higher taxes, enforced equality, and so on, which is silly enough since it lessens liberty and economic opportunity.

Oh, yeah, and there’s all that “free” stuff!

Your never-humble correspondent and his child bride vacationed in Cuba too, back in 2012 for our tenth anniversary, and you can read about the trip right here.

My report is titled Cuba: A Socialist Hellhole.

O’Reilly complains that his high-priced tourist hotel lacked basic amenities. He should have stayed where we did, the Mansion la Orquidea. Reasonable price, nice amenities.

A welcome hint of Capitalism!

* * * *

* The official line is that Cuba is socialist, not communist, and who am I to argue with the official line? Let them call themselves what Bernie Sanders calls himself.

Cuba, yet again

WE VISITED Cuba for our 10th anniversary in 2012, and I posted a piece titled Cuba: A Communist Hellhole.

In spite of its being a hellhole for Cubans, you’ll never lack for collectivists outside Cuba who praise the place.

Most have never been there, of course, and those who do visit keep blinders firmly in position.

Recently, I came upon two articles in the PanAm Post written by Scott Beyer who had visited Havana and, like me, had found it sad and deplorable.

You’ll find Beyer’s articles, in sequence, here and here.

Communism is, of course, the final stage of “social democracy” and socialism (à la Bernie Sanders). All are philosophies that pipe-dream of making everybody “equal.”

Equally depressed.

The American voter

I AM NOT a fan of universal suffrage. Perhaps a stiff civics test is appropriate or a poll tax. That one should be a property owner sounds stupendous to me.

Tossing the “right to vote” out there for absolutely anyone to pick up is nuts and dangerous.

Here’s a lovely example of voter stupidity. They are Hillary fans, it seems, and one imagines that if a similar petition in support of Bernie Sanders’ vice presidential choice of Vladimir Lenin were offered, people would sign that too.

Mark Dice, the petition guy, not only says Karl Marx out loud repeatedly, he also states that Marx is a communist. No matter. Sounds good to these voters, all of whom should be swept up and sent to Cuba. A one-way ticket.