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About RiverBlues

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    Cool Cruiser
  1. If you read the regs fully, you might understand that, while buying rum directly from the distilleries on the list is not officially permitted, buying from a third party, i.e. the corner bottle shop, id OK. So all Cuban rum is OK to purchase.
  2. This is the El Patronato that I have mentioned several times in these "donation" threads. They have been running this "pharmacy" for decades. You can just take a taxi over there (Calle I, corner of 13th, in Vedado) for 5 CUC, walk into the office and drop things off. Get in contact beforehand to ascertain what is needed. And they in turn are known to people who have a legitimate need to use, and not sell, the items. They, as some charities do, may supply a letter to use at Cuban Aduana/Customs in the event (doesn't happen all the time) that you are stopped by a Cuban official. Contact info (again): Adela Dworin Vice President of Casa de la Comunidad Hebrea de Cuba El Patronato Calle I, #259, Esquina 13 Vedado, Ciudad de la Habana 10400 Cuba Phone: (537) 832-8953 Fax: (537) 33 3778 E-mail: beth_shalom@enet.cu or patronato_ort@enet.cu
  3. And IF you had actually read the regs, you might have seen that buying from a third party is OK. In other words, if you buy rum direct from a distillery that is on the naughty list, it is not OK, but if you buy that same rum from the corner bottle shop, it's fine. It has been posted online that this could also apply to hotels booked through a third party. Don't worry about not having read the regs though. CPB staff probably haven't either, even if they cared.
  4. Even for those (Europeans, for example) whose credit cards function in Cuba, it is largely a cash society. Few places are set up to accept credit cards. ETECSA sells cards to enable smart phone use. The lines are long to purchase one. Hotels often sell them at a higher price. You will see people lined up along the streets in areas that have Wifi hotspots. Some hotel lobbies also have Wifi.
  5. Please tell your mum, from another of possibly similar age who wanders around Havana at will, that there is nothing to be concerned about in Havana. Learn the word for cruise ship (crucero ---crew-SAY-roo) or cruise pier (muelle de cruceros----MOO-yay de), or write it down, and any taxi driver will get you back there from any location. Also, be careful walking around in Vieja. It's easy to trip and fall on the cobbles and uneven pavement. Use the inexpensive bici-taxis to get around the neighborhood.
  6. Some/most items look a bit high, but better to have more cash than less. I suspect the one thing that is low are the taxi rides, especially any after dark, especially from/to the pier. The taxi drivers know who you are and know they've gotcha. Note: Some of my Cuban friends get very upset when I tip at restaurants what I am used to tipping in the US. They will even snatch back some of the money when my back is turned and give it back to me outside! We are driving up the market unnecessarily, they claim.
  7. The bar musicians are not always the best, especially the ones on/near the major plazas in Vieja, popular with tourists. If you really are interested in the music, hit one of the clubs listed in LaHabana, or even one of the BVSC shows. The Fabrica del Arte can be interesting; art, drinks and music in the same venue, with a mix of tourists and better-off locals. The bar crawl bars are likely to be packed with tourists. Some of them, like La Bodeguita del Medio and often La Floridita, are so packed with tourists you can't even get near the front door.
  8. At tourist bars, drinks run about 6 CUC each.
  9. But the AirBnB site quotes U$72/€61pp for the tour, much cheaper. Doesn't seem like you need to be associated with AirBnB in any way to take the tour. Seems like it goes to the same farm and the same restaurant. I ate at the restaurant of a well-known organic farm in Vinales and it was a wonderful experience, a varied menu and very good quality. (Food in Cuba can too often not be good, even at the paladares that are said to be higher quality, with higher quality products to start from, so I am always thankful for a good meal in Cuba.) Hope you enjoy your tour, whomever it ends up being sponsored by.
  10. Previous posters are saying that you don't pay duty on the first bottle/liter that you bring back through US Customs, (It is free of duty/duty free.) not that there is a duty free shop at the pier. (There is one at the airport though.)
  11. Looks like others (AirBnB, CTN) offer this same tour, with a visit to that farm and back to the restaurant Mediterraneo : https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/117928 https://www.cubatravelnetwork.com/cuba-excursions/excursion/from-farm-to-table-a-culinary-field-trip
  12. RiverBlues

    Cuban Whiskey

    Old Havana brand? Still produced? They make rum because the island grew/grows sugar cane. They use whiskey barrels to age the rum. A lot of food items are hard or impossible to get on the island, so I wonder if (malted) barley, or wheat for making other than bread, or maize other than for people/animal feed are given growing room and priority. The resorts must have something though. Imported? I am told that you might find whiskey from some former eastern block country. I'll stick with mojitos.
  13. This is the Canadian charity mentioned. They regularly send containers to Cuba full of donated items that are needed. http://www.duboischaritablefoundation.com/ The Dubois Charitable Foundation 686681 Hwy #2 RR#1 Princeton, Ontario N0J 1V0 admin@duboischaritablefoundation.com
  14. I think I saw some in the little shops along Obispo and around that area of Vieja, but didn't really notice enough to point out one specifically.
  15. Emphasis on the word "SOMETIMES". There are shortages, not usually a permanent lack. Cubans have developed patience about these things. I first understood this when my casa host came home one day with half a dozen sturdy fans on a tall stand/foot.....,.because they appeared in the marketplace that day, and might not have been there the day after. I have brought sink faucet fixtures down in my suitcase, with a can of plumbers putty as well, as a matter of fact, and jars of spackle for holes in the wall, and those nifty picture hangers that you can pull and remove without wall damage. But those are things I was specifically asked for or observed a use for when in that home. I also noticed that their dogs and cat were scratching and brought down flea collars, which were gladly received. However, I was told the cat could not wear hers, because she goes outside where it was likely to be removed from her. And on that note, the Spanky Project is another entity that you could donate to. Do some research. It may be surprising for we who are used to be able to get whatever we want 24/7 to see how the Cubans manage. I have friends who had been on mission trips to Cuba years ago, building houses way out in the middle of nowhere. Canadian charities have regularly been sending supplies (building supplies and more) to Cuba over the years. Nothing preventing Americans from donating to those entities. And in fact, IMO, rare and expensive construction materials may be what the poor need most to improve their living situations. Maybe bringing gallons of paint and pallets of wall board to fix up apartments would be of more value in upgrading living conditions than one more tube of toothpaste or a handfull of hair scrunchies from the dollar store. Also, you see it as a "small window of tourism", but US citizens have been going to Cuba for decades (read posts and get to know about posters on TA and TT). Much of the material goods (appliances, new furniture, building material, etc) flowing into Cuba actually comes from the relatives in Miami, so I doubt Cubans are overly concerned about the grand opportunity of a few toothbrushes tourists are, perhaps temporarily, bringing.
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