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Traveling without moving ( page 3 )

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Cuba: A tale of 2 currencies

written by owen, Wed, 27th Apr 2016 at 6:13 pm

I often buy a newspaper when I am in a foriegn country but since they speak Spanish in Cuba there was no point to buying a paper since I know very little spanish. I bring the paper to work to share with a co-worker who's always interested in the paper news.

The only reason I ended up buying this paper is because I had bought cake and pizza at a local bakery in Havana and ended up with 2 Pesos change.

Cuba has 2 currencies and some shops have prices in 1 or both. Pesos are the old Cuban currency which is 24 to 1 CUC. A CUC is the currency used tourists and government businesses. A CUC is worth $1.15 USD. So 2 Pesos is like useless and I had to get rid of them quickly. For fear of getting stuck with money that I could never spend or exchange.

Most times you can tell something is in Pesos if the Cost is very high like say for instance $50. In other cases if all the prices are low then the menu is in CUC. A bottle of water is $1 CUC and a flask of white run is $2 CUC. A fancy dinner is $12 CUC. A small pizza with pepperoni is 30 pesos.

The cheapest thing on the menu was 5 Pesos which means I was stuck because of my careless spending in a country of two currencies.

As luck would have it I saw an old man selling newspapers by the hotel for 1 Pesos so I bought 2. And for a even bigger twist the co-worker is studying spanish! A 2 birds with 1 stone scenario!

Some kinda cake pastry

Some kinda cake pastry

5 Pesos

5 Pesos

10 CUC

10 CUC

One of the many newspapers

One of the many newspapers

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In the streets, Cuba

written by owen, Sun, 24th Apr 2016 at 8:47 pm

Havana, Cuba is an unusual place. Everyone works for the government, some people do not work at all. Everything runs and works like you are stuck in 1950s Florida - except with iphones and WIFI hotspots on the street. The people are calm, collected, and like to sit by the ocean with their families. There is a tunnel under the harbor that was built in the 50s why? because bridges are ugly.

Public spaces for people to sit are everywhere. Monuments and historical art is around every corner. Havana is like walking in a museum where people live and work. You not only can feel the oldness but you can touch it as well. It is hard to tell whats new and whats old. Some buildings are freshly painted, most are not but they are all occupied by multiple generations of families. It is pretty awesome.

Young girls as young as 14 are very fashionable wearing heals and multi-coloured tight cloths with fish net stockings that are in contrast to the more reserved western culture. Young men rock mohawks with creamed hair and tight pants. They sell pop-corn in bags in front of the movie theater. They seem to love popcorn, sandwiches and cigarettes - everybody smokes; women, old men, young men. Alcohol is almost as cheap as water.

For this trip I shot pictures in 16:9 widescreen super vivid. Widescreen is annoying because I lose so much of the top and bottom of the pictures. I get good pictures with super-vivid once there are no people in the shot. With people; everyone looks very red skinned - lesson learned. Unfortunately its not an effect I can undo. I should try to upgrade my point and shoot in the near future. I will post more pictures when I can.

Fishnet stockings are an essential part of the work dress code in Cuba

Fishnet stockings are an essential part of the work dress code in Cuba

Stoplights and cross walks have count down clocks to red, to green and even to amber.  Cool feature.

Stoplights and cross walks have count down clocks to red, to green and even to amber. Cool feature.

Very little graffiti or advertisements.  Gives Havana a really clean look.

Very little graffiti or advertisements. Gives Havana a really clean look.

A movie theater

A movie theater

Small businesses all around, markets in buildings

Small businesses all around, markets in buildings

There is a bridge there but underground

There is a bridge there but underground

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Caye Caulker, Belize

written by owen, Tue, 04th Aug 2015 at 9:06 am

The thing I love about this Caye/island is the days seem to last forever. I am not sure if it is because of the almost total lack of cars or police or the constant sea breeze. I have never been to place with no cars. A life without cars is so far removed from everything I am accustomed to.

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Miami International Airport

written by owen, Wed, 24th Jun 2015 at 8:33 am

Expect to wait a couple hours in passport control.

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Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport, Belize

written by owen, Sun, 07th Jun 2015 at 7:20 pm

I was on my best behavior when I touched down in the country of Belize. Last thing I wanted to do was get deported with my Jamaican passport the first day I arrived. So I only took a few pictures when I was leaving.

A funny thing happened; our pilot discovered a technical difficulty with the plane navigation while we were on the tarmac waiting for 2 hours. They are to fly in 3 guys from Puerto Rico to fix it and we had to stay over night at a hotel and had all our connecting flights rescheduled/book. It was worst for people connecting to Canada. All paid for and organised by AA of course. The only good thing that came out of that day was that I got a first class trip back to Jamaica. All is well that ends well I guess.

Only a couple months left on my "Jamaica" passport

Only a couple months left on my "Jamaica" passport

This sign was in the bathroom

This sign was in the bathroom

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