* The "Orishas" make great Cuban Hip-Hop and are quite
popular with exile Cubans in Europe. They live in exile (France)
themselves but their music and lyrics have a very Cuban feel.
* One should not forget that there is also female sex-tourism
in Cuba. Of course, the number of male Westeners coming to Cuba
for sex is much higher but there are also Western women that
come to Cuba for sexual adventures. The rastafari-style looking
black Cubans are most wanted, especially in Santiago de Cuba,
Cienfuegos and around Obispo in Havana. I am not justifiying
male sex-tourism in Cuba but it is definetly not only "the
fat old German with a beautiful young Cuban girl" who is
responsible for Cubas dubious image concerning sex-tourism. I
think the behaviour of the "truly harassing" Cuban
men described by a reader on page 100 is partly caused by the
obivious intentions of some women coming to Cuba. My asessment
is based on talks with Cuban women and men and a group of four
Canadian ladies who were quite frank about their intentions.
Travelers Checks & Credit Cards
* Changing American Express Travelers Checks is no problem anymore.
There are a few ATMs that except VISA cards around but they only
dispense pesos convertibles.
* Many numbers mentioned in this edition are incorrect. I think
some numbers in Cuba have changed. Call 113 (national telephone
information) for correct numbers.
* The best Cuban rum is "Matusalem a ?(Bjo".
Unfortunately it is not produced under that name anymore because
the patent ran out. It will be produced in Puerto Rico by Bacardi
soon but of course it will be a completely different rum. Bottles
with the label "Santiago de Cuba" now contain
what used to be called "Matusalem a $B F (Bjo" - same
stuff, different label. If you find a bottle of "Matusalem
a ? (Bjo" in Cuba or your country buy it! It will be
worth a lot of money soon. But make sure they don't sell you
fake bottles on the streets in Cuba. Even the bottles sold at
the "Museo de ron" for $ 25 in Santiago looked
very fake. I was told by Cuban rum aficionados that there are
no bottles for sale anymore. You can buy original "Matusalem
3 a $B P (Bs" at the "Barrita Ron Havana Club"
in Santiago for $ 5.10 but it is not as good as the a $B F (Bjo.
Another first-class rum that is readliy available is "Havana
Club 15 a $B P (Bs" ($85). If that is too much, just
buy "Havana Club 7 a $B P (Bs" ($10.70) or "Havana
Club reserva" ($6.60) which tastes a bit softer.
* Getting around
www.viazul.cu lists all bus connections