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Lucky Man
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Afternoon all,

My recent silence on these pages isn't (only) down to overwork, I'm happy to report - I'm just back from a great fortnight in Cuba. You all know how much fun it is to get back to work after a good trip away  
 ...so I'm going to cheer myself up a bit (and bore you lot!) by reliving a bit...

So, I'm back from the socialist dinasour which is Cuba - excellent time had by all. First up Havana - it's surreal. People bang on about the old US cars, but it's only when you see streets literally full of them that you see why. And the buildings; loads of ornate, styled Spanish colonial period facades, lots of them crumbling away, some of them just the front propped up by scaffolding. Then there's a blokey every few yards trying to flog you either nicked/fake cigars, peanuts, or copies of government newpapers, or to take you to his friends/bothers/mothers restaurant. Revolutionary slogans all over the shop, live salsa music in every single place, every second chappie you meet was taught sax by Che Guevara (and would you like to buy one of my CDs by any chance
All a bit odd and a back-in-time ish - interesting place to see.

But the diving was (predicatbly for me :) the best bit. Seven days in a marine reserve on the Western tip of Cuba called Maria La Gorda. Nothing too over the top, no sharks or massive rays or what have you, but the reef was covered in coral and bright sponges, with loads of smaller reef fish and veeery few others divers (saw one in 17 dives) To top it off we did most dives starting on the inside of the reef, descended through various dark tunnels, to come out on a fantastic vertical wall, which drops straight down to 2km in parts I'm told (not that we went down to check!) - amazing it was. And as a bonus we had a big barracuda circle us at at almost every safety stop. Happy days........

OK, bored you enough now, not to mention ratcheting my post-holiday blues back up to Monday levels
 so I'm off now.

Later all,
Dave.

PS - came back with a new badge too: PADI DM - anyone need any tanks carrying, tea making or the like...  
 

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Well in Dave,

Glad you enjoyed it. Would you go back for the diving? If so, same gaff or new resort??
 

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Lucky Man
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Cheers Bren.

Yeah I'd go back for the diving, to Cuba and to the same resort, as long as I was looking for scenic underwater beauty, rather than big fish or wrecks. Scenic is how it is there. My enduring memory of Maria la Gorda is...

Early morning dive, looking back up the wall from 25m ish, coral fans and tubular sponges everywhere, reef fish buzzing all over, to see the others in the group descending, torches shining, down the same gulley I've just come down, pale sunlight backdrop, bubbles rising.... excellent stuff!
Now for that u/w camera  
 

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DUE CEO, Booking agent, Coffee maker & Dogsbody...
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Dave

Sounds superb, i take it, it was very good value for money?

Yours enviously,

Paul
 

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Hi Dave, thanks for the report! It's always interesting to hear about new places.
 

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Lucky Man
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Paul, it was fairly good value for money, but maybe not as cheap as you might think being Cuba. There is a real two tier economy there these days since tourism is now being actively encouraged, which is in turn since the USSR collapsed and the huge subisdy from there (to tune of $3billion a year I think!) dried up.

To give you a feel:

Additional boat dive: $25 USD
Main course in good restaurant : $8-10 USD
Beer (250ml bottle): $1.50-2 USD

Perversely it's people with access to dollars, and therefore those that get exposure to tourists, who are the well off in Cuba. Leading to surgeons jacking it in to work in hotels etc.
 
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