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Wednesday 23 Apr 2008
Dublin, Ireland

Equipment checklist... MUST HAVES!

This post is being written post-trip... Whilst Cuba is a fantastic country and caters to tourist needs very well, internet access in Cuba is either non-existent, not available (Etecsa offices - the main provider - would often be found closed), or extremely expensive (about 8 CUC - or 6 euro - per hour).

Where internet connections were available, very often they were very slow.
At the time of writing the best places for net access were:

- Hotel Sevilla in Habana
- Etecsa in Vinales
- Etecsa in Trinidad

Additionally, my days would often be so action-packed that I wouldn't get one day to sit and compile any notes.

Hence, the following blog notes are all written after I've arrived back home...

I prepared for this trip very well, but there were a few things I wished I had brought that definately would have made the Cuban experience so much better...:


- Mosquito net and sleep-in sheet - mozzies are prevalent everywhere you go. Casa particulars or hotels. I thank every night that I slept under my mozzie net (Markus can testify to what it's like to have to face the buzzing/bites each night!)

- Energy bars - although the food in Cuba *IS* fantastic, I was glad to have about 20 energy bars along the ride with me whenever I had to get on an early morning bus and miss brekkie.

- Alarm clock and batteries - must have. Very early mornings are the norm for most bus trips.

- Factor 20 suncream - I went virtually black in 2 weeks using factor 20. The sun is extremely strong in Cuba!

- Pens/soaps/calculators/etc - These things are hard to come by for locals in Cuba. The look of appreciation on the kids face when I gave him the old calculator made his (and my) day.

- 1000 euro in CASH! - Credit cards get charged about 20% commission each time you use them, so where possible, bring as much cash as you can (or want), and keep it in a safe place. I spent a total of around 800 euro on the 2 week trip while in Cuba.

- Mobile phone - Mobile phone access is everywhere! You don't need a local sim card, can usually use the same one from Europe (I'm with o2, although I found people who were on other networks weren't always connected there).

- Batteries / Chargers - Can't buy decent batteries in Cuba, so I was glad to have a few sets for the various devices that required them. Also battery chargers worked everywhere (220V plugs)


- Spanish-English mini dictionary - hardly anyone speaks English at all, so you can try (as I did) to make your way around using broken Spanish (very hard), or you can arm yourself with one of these babies and make it so much easier to communicate.
All saying though, I *DID* pick up some Spanish quite quickly so it was an education Cheesy

- Balls - the one thing all the kids love there is baseball. The lucky ones have an old tennis ball they hit with a stick, but most of them are on the street hitting bottle caps with twigs. A few old tennis balls would have been great gifts! Better yet: baseballs!

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Perdido en Cuba de Fidel

Travel blog by peterforan

Swish antique

Swish antique

2 weeks in which I crap-dance salsa-stylee in my own inimitable way; terrorise the Cuban people after one-too-many mojitos and visit bars where they actually ENCOURAGE people to smoke cigars as big as your leg. If I get time I'll take in some culture..

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    Baseball crowd 2