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Posts Tagged ‘Cuba’

In March 2012 my wife and I travelled to Cuba for a week. We spent most of our time in Havana, staying in a hotel called The Lincoln in the old quarter of the city, and just a few hundred metres from El Malecón, not very far from where I took the photograph below.

El Malecón in Havana

El Malecón in Havana

Havana is one of the most beautiful cities I have visited. It is replete with Spanish Colonial buildings, most of which are in a fairly poor state of repair due to the lack of money in the country. But, to me, their decaying nature added a certain charm to their beauty, and the colours were stunning. Hopefully the photographs below will give you some idea of the beauty of this city.

The people were very friendly, the main downside we found of visiting Cuba is that it is quite expensive for a “developing country”. Tourists have to use a different currency from the locals, and so pay what often seems to be about 10 times more for even basic things. Whilst I think it is fair enough that tourists pay more than locals when there is such a disparity between their relative wealth, I think a factor of ten was too high, putting the daily cost of being in Cuba about the same as being in a developed, Western country. The other downside we found is that most of the food is pretty bland – you have to hunt around for restaurants that serve tasty food.

We also spent two nights in the tourist resort of Varadero, I will show some photographs from there in part 2 of this blog.

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As my last post mentioned, I was recently on holiday in Cuba. The first public building I visited, on my 2nd day in Havana, was the “Museo de la Revolucion”, which is in the grand colonial splendour of the former residence of Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban dictator removed from office by the 1959 Communist revolution which Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara led.

The 4 cretins honoured on this wall are Batista, Ronald Reagan (the 40th president of the USA 1981-1989), George H.W. Bush (the 41st president of the USA 1989-1993) and, finally, his son George W. Bush (43rd present of the USA 2001-2009). It is interesting to note that the 42nd president, Democrat Bill Clinton, is not given the dubious honour of being on this wall. But, perhaps most surprisingly, also no John F. Kennedy (35th president of the USA 1961-1963), who tried to get Castro assassinated.

El Museo de la Revolucion

The Museum of the Revolution


Tucked away in a corner of the ground floor is the following wall. There is nothing like propaganda 🙂

The "Cretins" wall of fame

Batista, the US installed and supported dictator who was removed by the Communist revolution. The caption says "Thank you cretin for helping us make the revolution"

Ronald Reagan, the actor turned president. The caption says "Thank you cretin for helping us strengthen the revolution"

George H.W. Bush (George Bush senior). The caption next to him says "Thank you cretin for helping us consolidate the revolution"

George W Bush. The caption next to him says "Thank you cretin for helping us make socialism irrevocable"

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This post is only peripherally about the wonderful R.E.M. song “Losing My Religion“, it is mainly about losing my iPhone4 whilst abroad. [In fact, it is barely about the song at all.]

The iPhone 4

At the end of March I went to Cuba.

The Malecon, Havana, Cuba.

Unfortunately during my stay there I managed to leave my iPhone in a taxicab in Havana, whilst riding along the very road shown above, the Malecon along the seafront.

The Revolutionary Museum in Havana (residence of the former dictator Batista)

Now, as some of you may know, iPhone’s have a facility on them called “find my iPhone“, which when activated will allow you to locate it. I don’t know the details of whether it uses mobile-mast triangulation or the built-in GPS in the phone (I’m sure I could find out with a bit of hunting on the internet).. But, what I do know to my cost is that, unless you are careful, it won’t work abroad.

By default, iPhones are set up so that “data roaming” is switched off. This is a good thing, as accessing the internet via the mobile network when abroad can be VERY expensive. But, what I have discovered is that the “find my iPhone” feature requires the iPhone to be able to access the internet, which in 99% of situations means it is going to need data roaming switched on, unless of course it is left/lost within range of a a WiFi signal.

I have played with the “find my iPad” since getting back to see how well it locates my iPad, and it does seem to be able to locate it to a high level of precision, which leads me to suspect it is using GPS, but I plan to go into Cardiff’s local Apple Store to find out more. But, it would seem to me that people should be advised to switch data roaming ON so that “find my iPhone” works, but then switch off all the push notices to the internet, such as automatic email checking, Facebook checking, twitter checking etc. Although this is a lot more work that leaving data roaming off, if it means a lost iPhone can be located it would be worth doing. But, as I say, I will go into my local Apple Store to get advice.

So, now for one of my favourite R.E.M. songs – “Losing My Religion”, which has nothing to do with losing an iPhone, except for the rather tenuous one that for some people Apple products are akin to a religion.

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