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Cuba Today: People and Society

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9 Days | 8 Nights
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
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EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. Minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
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Discussion Board

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Nancy N Aug 26, 2015 at 06:56 PM

Interested in meeting anyone going on the January 8 trip that begins in Cienfuegos.
James Stowe Aug 27, 2015 at 08:06 AM

Hi Nancy, Carol and Ron for Gainesville, GA will be on the January 8th program. My user name on this forum is James, but I go by middle name - Ron!
Nancy N Aug 27, 2015 at 03:52 PM

Nice to meet you. I'm pretty excited about this trip. As bonus I get out of Michigan in January.
Nancy N Aug 27, 2015 at 03:52 PM

This is my first Road Scholar Trip. Still trying to learn the procedures.
James Stowe Aug 27, 2015 at 04:14 PM

We have traveled with Globus, Trafalgar, OAT, and GCT, but this will be our frist RS program as well. We too are pretty excited about the trip and getting out of north Georgia i January. In between, we headed to Peru and Bolivia next month with Globus and a cruise over Thanksgiving on the RCCL Allure with our kids and grands, but all we're talking about is the Cuba trip. It should be very interesting.

Premium Email Subscriber Aug 26, 2015 at 02:14 PM

Not sure if my first post made it, I don't see it Main question is value of CUC to American dollar?
Premium Email Subscriber Aug 26, 2015 at 02:15 PM

Now not sure why my name didn't show on this post
Barbara Rice Aug 26, 2015 at 05:00 PM

Here is what it was in July: 1.00 Cuban Convertible Peso = $1.00 USD. Note that there is a 10% penalty charged when exchanging USA dollars cash, so, you will only receive 87 centavos CUC for one USA dollar when changing the money, allowing for the 10% penalty and a 3% currency exchange fee.

Barbara Rice Aug 26, 2015 at 01:12 PM

The weight allowance is the combined weight of the group. I was over 40 pounds, but did not have to pay because others were under 40. I was prepared to pay for the over weight. It does not matter what size bag you check. It will be put on the shuttle at the hotel in Miami. It will be put on the bottom of the bus in Havana and taken to your room for you. In other words, you don't handle it much. I took a purse and fairly large backpack on the plane with me. You will be sightseeing right off the plane and you will not see your checked luggage until late afternoon when you get to the hotel and then you have to wait for it to be brought up for you. We saw ours in the group in the lobby and started take it with us and that did not go over well. They wanted to bring it up and keep track.

Thanks for the info, Barbara.

Jamie Fine Aug 26, 2015 at 10:57 AM

In the material I received from Road Scholar after I signed up for the trip from NY, it said the combined weight of carry-on and checked bags could not exceed 44 lbs. It did not mentioned size of bags, but I think I read something (and I can't recall where) about the size of carry-on for charter flights. The RS material also said you can bring a purse on board, but not a large one.

Yes, I read that too. It just says it includes the cost of one checked bag, and that rollaway bags will be weighed. I was just curious what others might be packing. :)

OK, I have a silly question...I know we're limited to 40 pounds, but does it matter what SIZE suitcase we pack? Are we expected to use small bags (like roller bags that can go in the cabin), or are larger bags acceptable (again, as long as we're under weight)? Just wondering if there's some group consensus about packing as light as possible or not. Thanks!

James Stowe Aug 25, 2015 at 12:11 PM

Here is the updated wish list from Cuba Libro:

• Where the Boys Are, Van Gosse
• Prose Contribution to the Cuban Revolution, Allen Ginsberg
• Anything by Vandana Shiva (eco feminist)
• Back Channel to Cuba, Peter Kornbluh
• Listen Yankee!: Why Cuba Matters, Tom Hayden
• Double Life of Deacon Brody, R.L. Stevenson
• Freefall, Joseph E. Stiglitz.
• Time Out Film Guide (2009 or later)
• Rolling Stone, Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll
• Howl, Allen Ginsberg
• The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe
• Anything by Junot Diaz
• Anything by Naomi Klein
• Sartre on Cuba, Sartre
• Quiet, Susan Cain
• Future Shock, E Toffler
• Talking to Fidel, Peter Kornbluh
• World Guide, New Internationalist
• Empire, Tony Negri
• Adios Muchachos, Daniel Chavarria
• Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware
• Memorias del Fuego, Eduardo Galeano
• Cocktail Time in Cuba, Basil Woon
• Buena Vista in the Club, Geoff Baker
• James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
• A Bargain for Frances (or anything from Frances series), Russell and Lillian Hoban
• The Art of War, Sun Tzu
• What Everyone Should Know about Cuba, Julia Sweig
• Cuba/Havana Guidebooks
• Cubana: Contemporary Fiction by Cuban Women, Mirta Yáñez (ed)
• Open Your Eyes and Soar: Cuban Women Writing Now, Mary G. Berg, ed
• Havana is a Really Big City, Sarah Cooper, ed
• Disconnect, Nancy Alonso
• Ophelias, Aida Bahr
• A Corner of the World, Mylene Fernández Pintado (forthcoming)
• The Man Who Loved Dogs, Leonardo Padura
• Havana Red, Leonardo Padura
• Vital Signs, Pedro de Jesus
• New Short Fiction from Cuba, J. Loss & E. Whitfield, eds
• Cuba on the Edge, M. Berg, P. Carmell, & A. Fountain, eds
• Cuba: A Traveler’s Literary Companion, A.L. Bardach, ed
• Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana, Marc Frank
• Cuban Economic and Social Development: Policy Reforms and Challenges in the 21st Century, Jorge Dominguez, ed
• Bobos in Paradise, David Brooks
• Best Women’s Travel Writing, ed by Lavinia Spalding
• The American Promise, Arthur Blaustein
• All Honorable Men, James Stewart Martin (Cuban author request; he’s writing a book on US politics)
• Franklin D Roosevelt, Analysis of his Administration Cuban author request; he’s writing a book on US politics)
• Dance with Dragons (Book 5, Game of Thrones), George R R Martin
• The Nuremberg Trials, Paul Roland
• The Victors, S.E. Ambrose
• Skorzeny’s Special Missions, Otto Skorzeny
• Auto/Biographies (of any type; Cubans love them)
• Cookbooks
• Textbooks on film
• Textbooks on accounting
• Anything on physical fitness

We prefer annual subscriptions; you can send them to the same address as above:
• Architectural Digest
• Art in America
• Art News
• Cooks Illustrated
• Downbeat
• Dwell
• Good
• Granta
• Guitar World
• Hip Hop mags – don’t know what specific titles exist
• Monocle
• Outside
• Rock climbing mags – don’t know what specific titles exist
• Sports Illustrated
• Wired

cool, thank you.

John Aug 23, 2015 at 10:06 PM

For those of you with access to Al Jeezera America cable network, they have just aired a very good hour long balanced discussion about Cuba-US relations. The video tours of Havana brought back good memories. One of the people they interviewed was one of our lecturers. Nice production.
James Stowe Aug 24, 2015 at 04:53 AM

Thanks for the information! A video of the Inside Story program from Aljazeera is also available online at http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2015/07/cuba-relations-breaking-150718192108440.html.

James Stowe Aug 23, 2015 at 04:39 PM

A friend showed me the “like new” dinner menu he brought back from the Tropicana when he visited Havana in 1952. It was really interesting to look at some the prices. A dinner of Red Snapper, Broiled Lobster, English Mixed Grill, or Sirloin State was priced at $5.00 to $7.00. This included an appetizer, soup, entrée, salad, and desert. Also included was coffee or tea. The price for a bottle of wine was between $6.00 and $9.00. Coca Cola and Ginger Ale cost $.30 and beer was $.75 per bottle. I’m going to have a copy of the menu made to take along for "show and tell" on our program in January. Give the average wage in 1952 in the United Sates I would think these prices were quite expensive.
James Stowe Aug 23, 2015 at 04:57 PM

Dinner is not included in the program for Wednesday night January 13th, so dinner and show at the Tropicana might be a good option. The cost of the show along is $75 and dinner is included for another $15. Theprices have gone up since 1952! The reviews on Trip Advisor are generally good. This might be something we consider just to see what life in Havana might have been like in the fifties for the elite. From what I read the show is still basically the same show.
Chuck Cairns Aug 26, 2015 at 01:20 PM

Actually, those 1952 prices were not particularly high. I was in high school in those days and I remember that a $10, all course dinner would be on the high side, but not terribly surprising. The wine is a bit high -- a good bottle in a store would be about $3.00, maybe double that in a restaurant.
Chuck Cairns Aug 26, 2015 at 01:21 PM

Reasonable prices, actually. Remember this was a casino, so they didn't gouge for food; they wanted to make you feel good, a bit tipsy, and ready to part with your retirement funds.

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8 nights of accommodations
22 meals: 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
4 Expert-led lectures
20 Field trips
2 Flights during the program
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