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Lois2 Feb 23rd, 2017 03:31 PM

as i said before Connor's blog is really off base and not even up to date

crosscheck Feb 23rd, 2017 03:45 PM

Lois2, Yes, lots of misinformation and condescending perspective.

Re: La Guarida - we went late and loved it. We tried to get into San Cristobal before we arrived and I'm sorry we didn't try once there. We also ate at Cocinero (fun, swanky and worth it for the access to FAC), Ivan Justo (known for paella, but you need to order an hour in advance) and Esto No Es Un Café, both in Old Havana. For location, ambience and varied food that you won't find elsewhere, Esto was a winner. Great menu in a cool courtyard with excellent music. I have a friend who runs music tours and she thinks it's the best meal in Havana. We wanted to go more than once.

SambaChula Feb 23rd, 2017 04:07 PM

The condescension is on the part of any out-of-touch Johnny-come-lately who makes light of the respect earned by experience in country. Connor Gorry is a journalist living in Cuba since 2002 and is respected for her professionalism and perspective on Cuba by all the experienced posters on every Cuba forum but this one apparently, and by most foreign visitors. She has been forming her ideas about Cuba since the 1990s. Foreign visitors flock to her cafe for advice and support, and a little bit of home.

crosscheck Feb 23rd, 2017 06:38 PM

I lived in Cuba when I was about the age that Conner was when she moved there. I also have lived in Mexico and Venezuela. In those places there were always expat gringos who had a holier-than-thou attitude about US tourists, when, in fact, the locals were much more tolerant. (I'm not a fan of rowdy/ignorant sightseers either, but I respect their right to travel as they please.) Also, Connor's writing suffers from an overuse of colons, semicolons, dashes, run ons, and appalling spelling errors. I do find some of her observations interesting, especially her musings about the American election. But It's really hard to believe that she has had journalistic training.

On another note, SC, it really would be terrific if you could learn to stop trolling and have a discussion here without insulting others. A forum - especially a travel forum - should thrive on diverse opinions and yours is provocative and most welcome. But your delivery really spoils the fun.

italynovice Feb 26th, 2017 07:08 PM

Crosscheck, thanks for your input. You bring up two restaurants that I had never considered, Esto and Ivan Justo. Hopefullly we can at least fit Esto in. I enjoyed your trip report. These trip reports are very helpful in trip planning, especially with tour books not up to date on current travel issues in Cuba. Glad to know Havanna Memories worked for y'all.

Any thoughts from you travelers on what to bring our host as a token of our appreciation? She has arranged transportation from the airport and made many dinner reservations for us. I am from New Orleans but can't think of anything unique to this area that might interest them. Any ideas from you travelers?

annhig Feb 27th, 2017 03:33 AM

italynovice - we took cornish fudge and biscuits to give to casa owners and they were very appreciative. We also tipped the first one who did a lot of casa booking for us very well which you can do on departure.

You could also ask if there is anything that you can bring - it's rather different because they were being paid for them, but the slovian salsa dancers who were staying in the same casa as us brought a load of parts for the owner's husband's car, which he couldn't get in Cuba. There was much rejoicing on the night they arrived, I can tell you!

SambaChula Feb 27th, 2017 06:42 AM

@italynovice---ASK them directly what might be useful. Do you have an email address with which to stay in contact? You may assume they are lacking certain things, when normally there are just periodic shortages before products can be found again for a time, but certain things are off the market more often.
Food gifts may be received with appreciation, but never touched afterwards. For example, several casas had Canadian maple syrup on the breakfast table, clearly from former Canadian guests, and never even sampled by the casa host.

Insofar as NOLA products, however, why not bring some creole seasoning? Food is rather bland and they may appreciate the novelty. Spicy food is in the African tradition which informs Cuban culture as well as that of New Orleans.
Some colorful framed photos of Mardi Gras, particularly the Indians to illustrate the African culture shared with New Orleans, or calendars with photos to decorate walls.
T-shirts for men (size S or M) or tank tops for women (size S usually works) with a NOLA logo.

italynovice Mar 4th, 2017 01:38 PM

Great suggestionsSambaChula and Annhig. Creole seasoning is easy to come by and pack, and mardigras items likewise. We did email our host (who has been extremely helpful with restaurant reservations etc) today to see if there was anything we could bring to show our appreciation for all she's done in advance of our trip. Curious to see how she responds. Very very excited to be going to Cuba; It's a bucket list trip my daughter before she starts medical school in the fall. If there are any last minute thoughts, I would love to have any input.

PANCHOLO May 24th, 2017 03:57 PM

Hi folks,

NCL Sky is cruising to Havana and we would like to know if Havana Bus Tours offered by NCL are multilingual, even using earphones or any other method or devices, for those that English is not the primary language. Can you help us ?? Thanks folks !!

SambaChula May 24th, 2017 04:46 PM

For a question so specific to a certain cruise line, ask on the Cuba forum of the Cruise Critic site, and also find there the roll call thread for each cruise.

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