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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The "Traveling To Cuba?" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just heard the news about the new relations that the United States may have with Cuba.  Pretty exciting news for both countries.  I can remember over 50 years ago when my friends and I had nothing by bad things to say about Communist Cuba.  But this is another era and quite a few of you who are reading this probably know very little about the bad blood between our two governments.  A few news stations last night called it a win-win for both countries.  Even the Pope is hoping for better communications and relations between our two countries as well as the rest of the free world.  For me it also looks like a win-win.  I would love to travel to Cuba in the near future to see (1) All the classic cars that roam the streets, (2) Some of the best baseball players who have not defected already to the USA and (3) Some of the best beaches in the world.  


Jose Abreu in a Cuban uniform.
As far as baseball players goes, this past year saw the Chicago White Sox rookie and Cuba defector, Jose Abreu, make the American League All-Star team, finish the season with 36 home runs and be unanimously named the 2014 American League Rookie of the Year.  Prior to the Cuban Revolution in 1959 when Castro rose to power, Cuban-born players played in the American Negro league as well as in Major League Baseball. After the revolution Cuban players were not allowed to play abroad.  I checked online and found almost 200 Cuban players who either played before 1959 in the United States or who defected since that time to play in the Major Leagues.  


Who wouldn't want to relax on this beach?
As far as beaches go, Cuba is renowned for its spectacular beaches, which lay on the Atlantic Ocean on the north side of Cuba and touch the Caribbean Sea on the south side.  There are more than 300 natural beaches on Cuba's coastline with an average 330 days a year to enjoy all of them.  Cuba's most famous beach is Varadero Beach which is a dazzling white sand beach with glistening, clear Caribbean waters that are perfect for snorkeling.  People who Carol and I meet on other islands in the Caribbean describe some of the Cuban beaches and how lovely they are.  Since they people we meet are citizens of other countries, they may travel to Cuba.  And, as of now, Americans can't lounge on a chair under an umbrella with a drink in hand and enjoy it.  Here's hoping that will soon change.  My traveling years are slowly coming to an end and I would love to try the sand and water on the island before my time ends.  


Really "Cool" classic cars in Cuba.  The Desoto on the right
sports the same grill that I placed in my 1958 Chevy Impala.
As far as the classic cars go, there are approxi- mately 60,000 of them in Cuba.  These vintage cars are a tribute to the nostalgia of the good old days when cars where ... well CARS.  Every year the car companies would make enough changes so that you would know what year each car was.  A 1954 Chevy was easily distinguishable from a 1955 Chevy by almost any American boy and probably even a few girls, even thought I didn't know any of them.  Sadly not like that anymore.  I also read that since the early 1960's, no new parts were shipped to Cuba so they had to either manufacture their own parts or use parts from Soviet cars to keep those 60,000 US cars running.  Funny that last night I was listening to President Obama talk about our new relations with Cuba, since yesterday I started a story about a good friend of my and his Studebaker, one of the oldest American cars ever made.  Hope to post that story soon for you to see how automobiles played such an important part in our American history.  And now I may soon get the chance to see some of those classics, on the island of Cuba, in person. 

It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

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