Santiago de Cuba from my taxi window –
Santiago de Cuba from my taxi window –
Two weeks away ended late last night with surreal familiarity of coming home. We’ve done this enough to know how dreary Vancouver is after time away. Wisely, my husband softened transition from 11 days in Cuba with 3 in Toronto for Caribana before flying home. Caribana, the largest Caribbean Festival in North America helped, but didn’t cure longing for Cuba.
I’ll need a few days to process Cuban ponders – three cities, over 1,000 kilometers by taxi between them, hundreds of kilometers walked along cobblestone streets – a lot to digest.
Carnival in Santiago de Cuba
Valle de la Prehistoria, a sprawling 60s era theme park located in Parque de Baconao, twenty Km outside Santiago de Cuba.
Changing of the guard at Castro’s grave in Santiago de Cuba.
Fusterlandia – https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/fusterlandia
Ah vacation, weeks of planning, simmering expectation and promise about to become reality. This time next week we’ll be in Havana at Mercure Sevilla (pictured below)
Three nights in Havana, a flight to Santiago de Cuba later, four nights at Casa Granda to experience Carnival.
Next we hire a driver to take us to Trinidad de Cuba, a distance of roughly 600 Km. The fact we have to spend 3 nights at “all inclusive” pictured below, is over shadowed by adventure of driving there.
Time to hire another driver, back to Havana for two nights at Estancia Bohemia –
From Havana, a flight to Toronto for Caribana –
Home on August 4th.
Words fail to describe how much Notes needs a vacation. I’m exhausted, Cuba promises to put everything right.
The first Monday of the month, Quora deposits money earned from views on my content into a PayPal account. A little bit here, little bit there, I never gave it much thought. Truth is, I wouldn’t have a PayPal account but for Quora insistence on opening one to receive deposits. Not much of a online shopper, credit cards secure occasional purchases. PayPal mystifies this middle aged ponderer.
After work today it dawned on me – in 22 days, 11 hours we’d board a plane for Havana. I needed new dresses. Where to begin? Amazon, eBay? Search by retailer, brand, style? Argh, I loathe online shopping! Pop-ups, flash sales, discounts offered with acceptance of mailing list bombardment. Hour after hour of futile nonsense wore me down. Frayed, disgruntled, on the verge of calling bullshit – I found a acceptable dress. Add it to my cart? Seriously? Okay fine, I’ll play along. Watch me push a virtual cart to check-out! Payment options? What’s this, complete the transaction with PayPal?
Throwing caution to the wind I clicked PayPal. Snap, order on the way! Holy crap, I just bought a dress with virtual money handed to me for posting questions. WTF? Sweet! Can I play again? Yep, seems so – twenty minutes later, repeat performance, another dress on the way. What fun! Steady now, take a deep breath, time to act responsibly.
I can’t figure out how to post photos from my husband’s Flickr site to allow full screen viewing on my blog. His images deserve full screen scrutiny, take a look at the above link.
These images can’t be enlarged as posted, please ponder in full screen glory at https://www.flickr.com/photos/15574096@N00/
All photo credits to my husband
Ponder Mexico City through my husband’s lens. Photographs documenting vibrant textures, mesmerizing beauty and pulse of a city beyond definition. My apologies for posting photographs that can’t be enlarged by a click. Please follow the link below for full screen viewing – each and every image a work of art. Viva Mexico.
Few places are harder to leave than Mexico City. Home after nine days, decompression won’t come easily. Much as I’d like to dangle poetic eloquence worthy of honoring the cadence of Mexico City, I need a few days to understand it myself. Meanwhile a gallery of cell phone images taken September 16, Mexican Independence Day.
We don’t need a reason to visit Mexico City, this year it happened to coincide with Independence Day. Over the next few days I’ll try to explain why this city is worth pondering.
The countdown is on – in 28 hours we fly to Mexico City, a city that takes our breath away. Twice traveling for Day of the Dead, this year to experience Independence Day celebrations
Mexican Independence Day marks September 16, 1810, the day when priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla urged Mexicans to rise up against the colonial government of Spain. The call today is often referred to as the Grito de Dolores, or Cry of Dolores, named after the town of Dolores—now Dolores Hidalgo—where the cry was originally uttered. (According to the Library of Congress, Hidalgo is believed to have said, “My Children, a new dispensation comes to us today…Will you free yourselves? Will you recover the lands stolen 300 years ago from your forefathers by the hated Spaniards? We must act at once.”) Independence was not won immediately, but that day—and its uprising—is typically considered the beginning of war that eventually brought the country independence in 1821.
Official celebrations begin at 11 p.m. on September 15 when Mexico’s president rings a bell at the National Palace in Mexico City, repeating Hidalgo’s words to crowds gathered at the Plaza de la Constitución ( aka Zócalo, one of the largest public plazas in the world). After each line, many of which tout key figures in the revolution, an estimated 500,000 citizens and tourists chant back, “Viva.”
On September 16 a military parade, the likes of which would make Trump cream his pants, thunders through the heart of Mexico City. I’ll have my own images soon, meanwhile watch the video clip above
Random internet images are no match for personal experience. I’ll be back in a few weeks, bursting with Independence Day ponders and Mexico City exuberance.
It wouldn’t be summer without a road trip to the Okanagan Valley, forty one years gone but forever home. Wildfire smoke smothered the road home. Falling ash sang red sun blues, an eerily apocalyptic symphony oblivious to suffocating cinder rain. Ponder a road trip gallery –
Enlarge, explore, see more of my husband’s road trip photos at the link below.