And what better way to kick it off than with this utterly stunning photo essay by photographer/editor Carlo Alcos of popular travel writing site matadornetwork.com, who read my book, bought a Bike Friday, and did his own sojourn in 2010. His dramatic shots far surpass my Kodak happysnaps circa 2000. Take a look for yourself ... more Cuba news http://www.galfromdownunder.com/cuba/blog
CAMERAS Carlo uses (and you're GONNA wanna know): "A Canon 40D... my two lenses are the Canon EF-S 10-22mm and the Canon EF-S 18-200mm." Rats! big 'ones. I guess I'm gonna have to grow up ...
Carlo Alcos: CUBA PHOTO ESSAY 2010
published by matadornetwork.com
My wife and I were sitting on the steps of the Capitolio when I said, "is that...is he...no, can't be." But it was. 10 years after Lynette's excursion in Cuba and here he still was, the man on the cover of her book The Handsomest Man in Cuba (left)
Since the book is what kicked it all off for us - from our decision to go to Cuba to the (great) decision to buy Bike Fridays - I thought it couldn't have been more fitting to get a snap of him (and then pay him to take a shot of us with his camera) and talk to him a little.
In broken Spanish I asked if it was him on the cover of the book. "Libro? Libro? Tu? Al frente?" I willed him to understand what I was trying to say, and it seemed to work. "Si! Si! Esta en mi casa. La china. Me gusta la china."
And yes, all that is true...I was even surprised to see some with iPhones and some casa particular owners with huge widescreen LCD TVs! There seems to be a widening gap between the haves and have-nots...just as in any capitalist society. People still aren't allowed to have Internet in their homes, but some manage to get around it somehow. The Internet at hotels or in the ETECSAs is painfully slow, like dialup speeds. I hardly used it while there...it was actually a very nice break!
In September 2009 a writer/editor from Matador Travel emailed me about Cuba.
Carlo Alcos had read my interview with Julie Schwietert, Freewheelin': Lynette Chiang's Two Wheel Journey From Cubicle to Cuba and wanted to check it out for himself - just like I did in 2000, on a Bike Friday. Judging from this utterly stunning photos in his Cuba Photo Essay, I'm so glad he followed through. Gotta love that wide angle lens!
Sep, 2009: I loved the experiences you wrote about in your book, and I've read other blogs with people who've experienced similar treatment (eg staying in private homes). I'm wondering though, how different it would be for a couple?
We bought a book called Bicycling in Cuba (or something like that) so maybe the more practical questions we would have will be answered in there. Since we only have around 6 weeks I think we'll keep somewhat close to Havana, I know we can't travel all around with this time. Any opinions on that?
As for the Bike Friday...we've been meaning to go to one of the dealers here in Melbourne, so haven't yet had a chance to check them out. They look sweet judging from the YouTube videos. We were interested in the New World Tourist and understand that the Pocket Companion is the same bike, but just off-the-shelf (as opposed to customized)? Is that accurate?
Bike Friday co-founder Alan Scholz says: My favorite people, intrepid couples and Ambassadors for us all. Best in Cycling,
Now then, not everyone finds my little memoir so inspiring. Here's a letter I got from someone who read the German edition of my book:
I have read your book which fortunately I had borrowed from a friend and not bought myself. Sorry, but I'm somewhat repelled by your taking advantage of other people. Decent travellers would look upon you as an insolent freeloader trying everywhere to save a buck.
An unsatisfied reader.
I'm very gratified that he "got" one of the most important points of the book ...
More Gal on Cuba posts