traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
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isaacfe
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by isaacfe » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:30 pm

People speak spanish with a strong cuban accent. It is completely different to the spanish I guess you are more familiar with from your european neighbours.
Beside the cultural, music, gastronomy, beaches, colonial architecture, it would be worthwile to get in touch with different people and learn about their thoughts regarding their living. Just be careful.
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singvomblatt
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:21 pm

thanks isaacfe,

sure I try to be careful !! traveling is always an adventure and a risk too. But I am optimistic that I'll be safe. It would be different traveling to Africa nowadays. There it could be that you get kidnaped without bale and left in jail for nothing. horrible !!
Yes, I'll will tell you how my trip went when I am home again safely and soundly.

keep your thoughts coming !! thanks !!

Rick Hutt
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by Rick Hutt » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:15 pm

The note about the Spanish spoken in Cuba is absolutely spot on. Their dialect is very distinct, and they speak rapidly to the non native ear. But they are wonderful people and communication will always succeed. Also, you will be safe there. I have walked down darkened alleys after visiting a club in the early morning hours without incident. By the way B & B is called "case particular" (accent on the AR) and there are many. You will find interaction with Cuban families a priceless experience. There are especially good casas particular in Miramar. The Museo de la Revolucion is very interesting. It's just a few blocks away from the capital.. Also spend time in Habana Vieja (old Havana). The colonial architecture is best there plus there are good restaurants. Also go to La Floridita, the bar where Hemingway supposedly hung out, enjoy a mojito!
Oddly enough, the guitar is not the main instrument for folk or modern music. The traditional stringed instrument is the "Tres" so called because it has six strings in three courses. But there are guitars and guitarists, usually in combos along with s tres player and percussionist. Whenever I go there, I always bring several sets of nylon strings to give to guitarists I might meet. Always appreciated.
Just go and enjoy!
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singvomblatt
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Tue Apr 07, 2015 3:16 pm

hello Rick Hutt,

great things you tell me here !! I just wonder how did you find the B+B places ? per Internet or by telephone books or are there signs on the houses? I'll definitely look for Miramar and old Havana and also have a drink thinking of Hemingway 'the old man and the sea' !!!

thanks so much !!

Rick Hutt
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by Rick Hutt » Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:20 pm

Buenos dias,

Try www.havanacasaparticular.com. If that site is not up and running anymore you could probably "google" casa particualr habana (or havana) cuba and something will pop up. Also at some time during your visit go to the Hotel Nacional (located right off Avenida 23 and have an espresso or a mojito in their garden behind the hotel. It is on a bluff overlooking the Malarcon and the ocean
2010 Pimentel & Sons Concert Grand
1970 Taurus (Barcelona)
2009 Ramundi flamenco blanca
1962 Martin 0-16
2000 Martin 000-18
1963 Epiphone 12 Str

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isaacfe
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by isaacfe » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:42 pm

I just read the poll. It may be of your interest. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the ... story.html
2012 Ramon Blanco Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2015 Ramon Blanco German Spruce/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2016 Edgar Perez Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2016 Edgar Perez 8 strings Spruce/Cocobolo. 650 mm.
http://ve.linkedin.com/pub/isaac-feuerberg/18/4b6/730/

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singvomblatt
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:59 am

hello Rick, hello isaacfe,

thanks so much for your ideas and suggestions. I just saw your replies here !! The pool over all and quote below does not surprise me. No wonder, most young people like America and Obama. I have been there for 15 years. It is different if you are living there or if you just visiting as a tourist. Also even here in Germany lots of people like America 'the land of the 1000th's of opportunities' !! Sure, you will have a good live in most places of the world, if you bring a lot of money with you and leave it there. But as soon as the money gets tight, you don't have the right education, race, color, sexual-or religious opinion, it can get difficult.

I think that the few days I will traveling there in Cuba, I am not intending to change the world. My spanish speaking abilities will be limited and I hope that my love for music and people will help me to connect.
With Cuba’s restricted news media and limited Internet and phone access, getting an accurate sense of public opinion in the country can be difficult. Public surveys are very rare; opinion research is strictly controlled by the Cuban government. Some, conducted surreptitiously, have been sponsored by anti-Castro organizations and have been viewed as biased. On the island, Cubans have an aversion to discussing politics: three-quarters of those surveyed in the Univision poll say they feel they need to be careful about expressing themselves.

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singvomblatt
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:36 am

now since my flight is booked irreversible !! I am looking for place to stay. Thanks to few suggestions from members from here I already have a starter the first couple of days. Now I am investigating and I am very surprised how cheap some of the accommodations are. Starting from 6,25 €- 16,37 € !!!! p.n. and person. The thing is if you travel alone you still have to pay for two people !! And this is the case in Europe also and I think it is unfair. But in this case, since the price and the central location is right it is ok.

http://www.hostelsclub.com/city-de-109-Havana.html

Smith
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by Smith » Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:02 pm

A friend of mine told me she packs crayons, or coloured pencils, or colouring books (I can't exactly recall). The point is kids there have few of these items we take for granted, and they are much appreciated there.

gilles T
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by gilles T » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:46 pm

Hello,

I strongly second the advice of bringing crayons, pens, pencils and guitar strings : these small gifts will be much appreciated.
Regarding the music : Cuba is a kind of paradise, but the old masters have a saying : "the Havana is the showcase, Santiago is the conservatory". Never had the chance to travel to Santiago, but I do believe the old masters (I was fortunate enough to meet Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, et al.).

If you plan to purchase an instrument, you will certainly meet more Tres than guitars, but keep in mind that the tropical climate can affect strongly the quality of woods. And if you want a really decent Tres, it may not be cheaper than those you can find in Europe. All the cheap Tres I have tried were virtually unplayable, but you can always have the luck to find a great bargain, who knows?

You are very lucky to travel there, best wishes for your holidays.

Gilles

gauchita
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by gauchita » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:39 pm

The only really viable way to get around Cuba is by bus run by Viazul . They run a network that covers all of Cuba , For some reason , it is bit of a hassle and time consuming to buy a ticket at the Havana coach station , so you need to be there in good time . You can find the times on line . the train would be good , but it is really unreliable and more trouble then it's worth . There are lots of B&B in Cuba and it is worth asking the owner if they recommend one ,in your next destination . They often can and will even ring them for you . The food in Cuba is terrible and if your a vegetarian it is even worse. Lots of bars have good music , but the band will play a couple of tunes , come around with a hat and take a half and hour rest . No one has any money in Cuba , and there is rationing for most people . The only good source of income is the tourists . Robbery is not very common, but practically everybody you meet will be try to get some money/ fee drinks and the like , from you. I think visiting the resorts is OK , you don't get the hassle and it is the only place you can find a decent cup of coffee.

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andreas777
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by andreas777 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:54 pm

When I was in Cuba with a Chilean girl friend a few years ago, we met some musicans near Varadero and in Havana. There was a fascinating street band, four members who played guitar and sang Cuban songs. (I forgot their name but I bought a CD.) My girl friend talked to them and asked them to compose a song for her. Then they played some songs only for us, and the voice of the lead singer was as load as a jet plane. Very impressive!

We visited some nice placed in Havana and around, but I think most of them are listed in each travel guide. I would not book a sight-seeing tour through Havana because they will not only show you nice places but also lots of gift, tobacco, or alcohol shops. (The tour guides get provision from the shop owners.) There is a large art gallery in Havana, and when I will come back to Cuba I will buy some pictures there.

Very important is not to accept any help that you have not asked for. When someone offers you to show beautiful sights of the city, then reject that offer, even if this person behaves friendly. I've heard stories where they harshly asked for money, after the "tour", or where they went into a restaurant for an extended lunch, and before the bill was presented they went to the toilet and were never seen again. The same is true if there is a detour (for example because the tunnel to Havana is flooded) and someone offers to show you the "shortest" way into the city. So be careful!

I can recommend two good books: I guess you are German, so I tell you the German editions. The first is a book from one of my favorite writers, Graham Greene, and it's called "Unser Mann in Havanna". (In English: Our Man in Havana). The second book is from Jesús Díaz and it's called "Erzähl mir von Kuba."
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singvomblatt
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Sun May 03, 2015 3:59 pm

wow, thanks again for all your input an suggestions !! this keeps me busy !!!

I just talked to an old friend of mine and he was kind of hesitating saying something like 'they kind of keep you in a tight "tourist" group, not allowing too much exploration on your own' !! That really would bother me a lot if that is the case still at these times !! I was thinking of finding my on way to the cities and coming and leaving places at times I wanted too. Anybody knows more about this ? I would appreciate any advice here too, thanks !!

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LVR
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by LVR » Fri May 08, 2015 12:31 am

OK, here's a little starter info from someone who goes to Cuba often - I spent just over 2 months there in 2014 alone. You don't have to stay with any group or in tourist destinations as far as Cuba and its authorities is concerned; you can pretty much do anything that's legal. (If you are going with a group, of course they may have their own rules.) The exception to the "anything legal" is that you cannot participate in the highly subsidized stuff intended for citizens alone: you can't access the health system for free, your museum and concert admissions will cost more, you obviously won't have a ration card, and - the only annoying part - you must take 1st class busses traveling inter-city. (The reason this is annoying is that they don't go everywhere, but they probably go everywhere a first -time visitor without relatives on the island needs to go, so OK.) You can take public transportation within Havana even though it's subsidized and incredibly cheap.

There is essentially no violent crime in Cuba, even in Havana, compared to the US. The incredible feeling of freedom of being able to get out of a concert late at night and walk to the bus stop or anywhere without being afraid is one of the reasons I love Cuba. There is property crime though. Watch out for pickpockets and for purse-snatchers on bikes. Oddly enough, the poorer areas of the city are the safest. Since there are no tourists, there are no tourist- predators. If you can get past the Lonely Planet idea that the city is only Old Havana, Vedado, and Centro Habana, and find a place to stay in one of the 11 other districts of Havana, you will have a good time. You need to speak Spanish to move outside the tourist orbit, of course.

Finding stuff to do: check the Granma (newspaper). If you have internet access, the Cartelera Cultural comes out every week <cartelera@listas.cubarte.cult.cu>
There are 6 junior conservatories, and the National Conservatory (Instituto Superior de Arte) in Havana alone and all of them have guitar studies. I haven't permission to share anyone's contact info, but I would recommend showing up with a big handful of new strings and asking at the office if you can speak to one of the guitar professors. New strings are gold there. People like D'Ad hard tensions, but anything will be very gratefully received.
Oh, and you might want to drop by the Leo Brouwer office - Oficina Leo Brouwer - Calle E #517 apto. 13d, between 21st and 23rd in Vedado. They're putting together a new festival - voice, not guitar for Sept./ Oct. Make a contribution and stay to chat. This is also Editorial Espiral Eterna; you can get some sheet music.

Time to explore! Have fun. Don't worry too much.
The basic thing about playing the guitar is the pleasure you get from it. There's nothing wrong with pleasure is there?
Julian Bream

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singvomblatt
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Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Sun May 17, 2015 1:35 pm

hello LVR !! thanks so much for your Cuban- stories and advices !! very useful !! Since you are at least the second one who tells me about bringing strings with me I definitely will !!! I might eve give away the steel strings I bought by mistake years ago and hope that somebody might have use for it. By the way, since I don't recognize it at our picture, can I ask you if you are a woman ?

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