Saturday 14 December 2013


A while ago a member of our group went to Cuba as part of one of the “Southern Cross Brigades” and recorded his experiences, plus a bit of his own musing and some historical notes and travel advice.

He has sent this material on to us and we thought that it has anecdotes which some of you may enjoy and information which could be of interest to those of you planning to visit Cuba, as part of a future “Southern Cross Brigades” or free-lancing it.

So from this post onward we’ll serialise our friend’s travel notes on a more or less weekly basis.   
Enjoy the reading.

AN INTRODUCTION: i.e. Why I wrote this silly Blog:
After saying that the average middle-class Australian really only goes on a seven-day package holiday to safe places within his (or her) comfort-zone, places like Bali or maybe New Zealand (and to Fiji a few years ago), but never, ever to Cuba; that same nameless person told me that these Australians would be much happier if they had lived in a European village some few hundred years ago. 
In those distant times people like them, I was told, never ventured out of their tiny communities. So they never got air miles, either. Today in Australia, these very same village idiots absentmindedly put compact disks and fish-fingers into their electric toasters in the morning.
That very same cynical person also once said that I should write a ‘travel guide for these types of Aussie Homer Simpsons. You know the type of conceited and small-minded guy who maybe packs tea-bags and powdered milk with his clean underpants, and who can write awfully sweet postcards home, and think bigoted thoughts ever-so pleasantly. Of course I refused to write such a guide, even a small one, for Aussies who don’t like any evidence that contradicts their prejudices. 
That is, until I thought about it a little more. After all, I am basically a bit of a nerd (and my 17 year-old daughter wrongly thinks that I am also a control freak) and I have always been secretly fond of Cuba and their Revolution, their rum and unkempt beards, plus their women and (especially) their official defiance of Uncle Sam.  Beside all this, the Republic of Cuba opened a consulate in Canberra in 2012, and the Cubans were apparently cooperating with our Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (usually known as DFAT) in a Pacific Region Medical Program, this includes East Timor which has/d 300 volunteer Cuban health workers helping build the country’s health system, plus 850 Timorese students are studying medicine in Cuba.
Well, even without a bottle of Cuban brown rum at hand, I do like Cuba - it may come out now and again in this blog - if you read on.  But, if you do go off to Bali and you disagree with my fondness for this defiant and controlled little island in the Caribbean that tells near-by Uncle Sam to p*ss off, then don’t read this any further.
 If however, you want to read more about socialism in action, Cuba, and especially La Havana, the capital of Cuba, which is now a World Heritage area to be restored and conserved; and if you think that the ‘life’ of an average Australian capitalist consumer is perhaps a little empty and that you are secretly looking for a different type of holiday experience, a wee bit outside of your usual comfort zone, then read on because (my friend) I have written this blog especially for you...

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