Destination: Cuba

A Traveler’s 10 Best Musical Discoveries

Contemplating and celebrating the world of travel

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What We Loved This Week: Food Tours, Traveling Through the Harper’s Index and More

What We Loved This Week: Food Tours, Traveling Through the Harper’s Index and More Bakhat Singh in the Moonlight

Our contributors share a favorite travel-related experience from the past seven days.

Michael Yessis
The searchable Harper’s Index. The magazine has been delivering pithy factual tidbits since 1984, and now you can search through all of them online by topic. Here are the 90 matches in my search for items about travel. One of my favorites comes from 1990: “Amount the U.S. Air Force spent this year to study the effects of jet noise on pregnant horses: $100,000.”

Joanna Kakissis
I’ve always wanted to host my own YouTube cooking show, because doesn’t the whole world really want to see me make my secret baklava recipe to the beat of “Chains of Love” by Erasure? But I doubt my show would ever be as awesome as the sensational “Cooking With Clara,” which features Great Depression-era recipes by 93-year-old Sicilian-American Clara Cannucciari.

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Leave Home Without It

Contemplating and celebrating the world of travel

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Morning Links: Paul Theroux Spits From Trains, Swimsuit Issue Locales and More

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Morning Links: Bill to End Cuba Travel Ban Introduced, Facebook ‘Flashmobs’ and More

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Che: The Ronald McDonald of Revolution

Che: The Ronald McDonald of Revolution REUTERS/AIN/Justo Gonzalez Ortega

Rolf Potts examines the clichés of the revolutionary's admirers and detractors

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Morning Links: A New Way to See the Prado, Cuban Tourism and More

El Tres De Mayo by Goya El Tres De Mayo by Goya (via Wikipedia)
The Prado’s El Tres De Mayo by Goya (via Wikipedia)

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Cuba’s Hemingway Museum Goes Digital

American Hemingway scholars don’t have to wait for a lifting of the Cuba travel embargo to gain more insight into the writer’s work: The island’s Hemingway Museum is digitizing large chunks of its invaluable collection, reports the Cuban News Agency.

When the author died in 1961, he left behind thousands of pages of manuscripts, maps, letters and photos at his farm outside Havana—all of which were apparently donated to the newly minted Cuban government by his wife. Government preservationists have already digitally reproduced more than 3,000 of the roughly 15,000 documents in the bequest.

(Via The Book Bench)


Cuban Exiles Recall Flights to U.S.

For the 265,000 Cubans who fled their homeland on U.S.-sponsored “Freedom Flights” from 1965 to 1973, the emotional 45-minute flight to a new life remains etched in memory.  Now, a Miami Herald series on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution has given Cuban-Americans a chance to share photos and memories of their “Freedom Flight” experience, in conjunction with a database that makes names and arrival dates of refugees available to the public for the first time.

In reading through the online recollections submitted by exiles who were children at the time, I was struck by how many remember their first taste of the U.S.—a coke, a ham sandwich, a pack of Wrigley’s gum, many handed out in box lunches at Miami’s airport. Others recall the tense days leading up to their departure, and the clothes, jewelry, and dolls left behind. 

With the recent publication of Rachel Kushner’s novel, Telex from Cuba, and Tom Gjelten’s Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause, along with the much-anticipated release of Steven Soderbergh’s Che next month, it seems Cuban history remains a hot topic in the U.S. Kudos to the Herald for rounding out that history with an important public record.


What do Afghanistan, Cuba, Liberia and Sudan All Have in Common?

What do Afghanistan, Cuba, Liberia and Sudan All Have in Common? Photo by malias via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by malias via Flickr (Creative Commons)

They’re the four countries deemed so dangerous that they’re excluded from the holiday coverage offered by a major UK insurer, Direct Travel. As Simon Calder notes in this sarcasm-laden response, the news that Cuba is as risky as Kandahar or Darfur may come as a surprise to the 2 million tourists who visited the island this year.

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Bienvenido a Cuba, 2 Millionth Tourist!

Bienvenido a Cuba, 2 Millionth Tourist! Photo by mauren veras via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by mauren veras via Flickr (Creative Commons).

“Strong mojitos” and a salsa band greeted Cuba’s two millionth tourist (albeit symbolically—they actually greeted the incoming plane holding number two mil), as the island celebrated what it hopes will be a record year for tourism. Despite the three crippling hurricanes that ripped through here earlier this year, Cuba expects to have had more than 2.3 million visitors in 2008.


Cuban Government: Gustav and Ike Damage ‘Worst Ever’

Somehow, amid the din of media reports about Galveston, lipstick on pigs and the U.S. financial mess, I missed this. The Cuban government has declared that the damage caused by hurricanes Gustav and Ike was “the worst ever” in the country’s history. Given that Cuba has been blasted by countless hurricanes over the years, the toll has to be massive. According to the BBC’s report, some 200,000 people lost their homes as a result of the storms.

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Cuba Flights Coming to Airport ‘Within Minutes of Downtown Detroit’

How you Canadians tempt us poor Americans. Canada’s Sunwing Airlines has announced plans to offer flights to Cuba from Windsor, just across the border from Detroit. Company officials predict that half the passengers will be American, even though the embargo all but forbids U.S. citizens from visiting Cuba. A State Department spokesman tells The Detroit News that the trip is “risky.”

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It’s Official: Guevara Children Embarrassed by Che T-Shirts

They’re not too hot on the Che image being used to sell vodka or cell phones, either, the AP reports. No word on their feelings about this.

Related on World Hum:
* Che Guevara: Revolutionary, Icon, ‘the Guy Who Intented Those Mojitos’?
* Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Che’: ‘Almost Unreleasable in its Current Form’
* Che and the Image Seen ‘Round the World

Tags: Caribbean, Cuba

Che Guevara: Revolutionary, Icon, ‘the Guy Who Invented Those Mojitos’?

Uh, something like that. In Sunday’s Los Angeles Times, Ben Ehrenreich reflects on Che as pop icon, Steven Soderbergh’s Che and “Chevolution,” an intriguing new documentary about the famed Alberto Korda photo.

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