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Jose Marti International Airport, the first point of disembarkation for travelers to Havana.

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The state capitol, built after the sugar boom to rival the size of the one in Washington,D.C.  In 1959, Castro disbanded representative government and set up the building to host the National Academy of Sciences.

 

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Central Havana

 

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     Oil slicks in downtown on a newly paved road, Havana

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La Floridita bar, Havana

 

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Central Havana

 

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Outside the Museo de la Revolucion, next to the monument to the boat the Granma, under 24-hour guard.

 

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Melting ruins in Havana Vieja

 

 

 

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Capitol renovation conducted by a Dutch company.

 

 

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Sign on the back bar: “The future is unwritten.”

 

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El Patchanka, one of the many Beatles-themed bars populating the island.  Since everyone is stuck in the 1950s, listening to them still stokes the revolutionary spirit from the days when they could only be heard on scratch antennas tuned to stations in Miami.  Fidel has softened to them over the years, hence the presence in entertainment venues.

 

 

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Museu de la Revolucion, formerly the presidential palace.

 

 

 

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The word malecon denotes any seaside esplanade placed throughout the country.  But here in Havana, the malecon is the original strip, tracing the northern boundary of the city with the Straits of Florida.

 

 

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In the largest, most populous and successful city in the country, images like these ruins in a prominent downtown district, are everywhere.

 

 

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Mexican-deeded boat pulls in where the first American cruise ships will dock three weeks from now.

 

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Plaza Vieja, Havana

 

 

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The automobiles are referred to as “maquinas” here, each one a miraculous achievement that they run at all, off of 1950s spare parts and Cuban ingenuity.

 

 

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Central Havana

 

 

 

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The Hotel Saratoga, one of the nicest properties in the city, across from the Capitol.

 

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Plaza de Armas

 

 

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Enormous limestone formations dot the landscape in Vinales, three hours west of Havana in prime tobacco-growing territory.

 

 

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Valley of Silence

 

 

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Farm tours outside Vinales

 

 

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View from our first casa in town looking south to the fields we would hike and ride through.

 

 

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The road leading out of Vinales.

 

 

 

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One of the harder days: somewhere around 22 miles of trekking through the valleys and farms surrounding the city, not emerging until just before dark.

 

 

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Overlooking the Valley of Silence

 

 

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Mural de la Prehistoria, a 1960s piece designed and brought to Castro as a sort of public works project and one that depicts the crude process of evolution and honors the tribes that lived in these hills, the guanahacabibes that the Spanish expelled.

 

 

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Drying room, tobacco plantation

 

 

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Extracting sugar cane

 

 

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The far western part of Cuba, the reverse-c shaped bay surrounding by the Peninsula de Guanahacabibes.

 

 

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One of Cuba’s premier dive destinations: the resort Maria La Gorda offers 15-17 dive sites 5-10 minutes from the dock.

 

 

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Looking much more picturesque and scenic here than it did at 3 AM when the power to the entire complex went out because of poor maintenance.

 

 

 

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The central plaza in Trinidad, in the middle of Cuba, 12 miles north of the southern coast.

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The close-knit streets of Trinidad, with the Sierra Maestra mountains in the distance.

 


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The largest and oldest house in Trinidad, now home to the city museum.

 

 

 

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Taller Alferero, one of the ceramic workshops dotting the city.

 

 

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A Yoruba cultural presentation at an art gallery in Trinidad.

 

 

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Fashioning cigars at the Robaina Plantation, one of the high-class cigar brands cultivated by the government.  The workers of the field surrender almost 90% of the yield to the government for sale, and sell the rest to other Cubans.

 

 

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Topes de Gallante, Cuba’s largest collection of hiking trails and waterfalls in the mountains above the city.

 

 

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Salto del Coburni, the first of the falls, 10 miles from Trinidad and up some precipitous  and poorly maintained roads.

 

 

 

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Eastern Orthodox church in Havana.

 

 

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The Museum of the Pharmacy in Havana, an eclectic collection of remedies from the 19th and 20th centuries.

 

 


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Some of the most powerful flamenco dancing I’ve seen outside of Spain in Central Havana.

 

 

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