I got off the plane in Melbourne yesterday morning....I had done what I had set out to do ....Me and my Brother drove a car from Baracoa to Vinales. All up we did 2,500kms...we drove through some astonishing places and met some astonishing people. Very very occasionaly we saw a road sign! (BEWARE-there are pot-holes that you could stay the night in!) We soaked up a lot of motivational sloganeering from the big hoardings on the sides of the road,we were offered at least 3 tons of bananas and unlimited strings of garlic,the highway patrol guys were dudes...I loved them!!!...my Brother drank 7 million Buccaneros' and 15 gallons of Ron...I nearly smoked a cigar! At one point we stayed for 3 days in Room 615 at the 'Sevilla' in Havana,Al Capones old room...Bill Wilson had his honeymoon there in 1929! I swam in the Atlantic,I swam in the Caribean,I had hustlers roust me for stuff and I told them "You should go to hustling school!!!" they were pathetic...I did a fair amount of hustling when I lived in South London...they made me feel like a genius...What a line..."Where you from?..." "F@#king Mars,Where you from? Don't take them too seriously folks.. I will be honest here-I nearly cried when I got back on the plane in Havana...I loved Cuba...the smell of it...the crumbling buildings...the dancin' and singin'...the elastic nature of Cuban time.....the fantastic energy and resilience of the people...the kindness....their toughness and their honesty. I would go back right this minute, as my wife just said "you'll have to get the mask and the gun out of moth-balls then!" My one big tip---Try your best to learn some rudimentary Spanish!!!" Next time I go (and I will because I was in the River Toa!) I will have done lessons! Pleasantly most Cubans were fascinated to meet an Australian...there aren't too many of us around their neck of the woods..Anyway...I now have a bit of hands on knowledge from doin' that wonderful country by the seat of my pants...I would like to say that soaking up tips on this forum in the months before I left was invaluable... If you want to get humble,if you want to see how people look out for each other,how they take pride in themselves and their country...Go to Cuba as fast as you possibly can! I shall never forget my time there!!!!
p.s. I even went to Biran ,Fidels' birthplace.I found it by mistake!
p.p.s. I think I left enough Lobster for everybody else!
p.p.s. the gift that went down best was 'the Rawlings Baseball', and you can throw it from 50yards away at kids playing with a bundle of rags taped together in the street... you don't have to hang around and feel like some ego driven Rockefeller!