Tag Archives: cuba
November 2, 2007

Legal Ease

Em waves goodbye to Cuba (20k image)A few days ago, I was threatened with legal action over a blog entry I wrote almost four years ago.  Cliff Mayhew, owner of aircharterbahamas.com, claimed that I libeled his business.  I feel like I’ve just passed some blogger right of passage!

When I first read it, I was worried.  What did I write?  Was I going to have to edit my entry… perhaps remove it altogether?  After rereading what I wrote back in 2004, I realized I didn’t have anything to worry about.

If I hadn’t been so busy with Halloween, I would have posted a response sooner.  I’ve been seething about that comment for a days now.  Let’s have some fun tearing it apart, shall we?

Here’s what he wrote:

New comment on your post #15 “Cuba:  Getting to Cuba”
Author : Cliff Mayhew (IP: XX.XX.XX.XX , XXX.fl.comcast.net)
E-mail : XXXX
URL    :
Whois  : XXXX


I am the owner of Air Charter Bahamas.com

This blog has liabled my business and I am in contact with an attorney.

I have never been in contact with anyone that has written the story above.  

You should take the time to determine the legitimacy of the article –

This article was most likely written by one of my competitors – this industry is filled with scumbags that should be housed in the federal penitentary.  Watch your wallet..

A competitor called the BBB to file a complaint with us too!!  They acted as a customer when dealing with the BBB – The BBB threatened to place us on a “bad” list if we did not competulate to their “rules”.  Bullshit.

If you need to deal with an honorable, trustworthy, respectable, honest, reliable, etc. company, call us – you will soon learn who we are, and what we stand for.

Thanks for the post:

Cliff Mayhew, CPA
Masters – Finanace
Masters – Taxation
Bachelors – Finance
Commercial Pilot
Certified US and Bahamian Air Carrier


Please call me personally if you would like information about fllying to the bahamas.

Too bad the blogger didn’t leave contact information – scammer in the shadows.

Have a great day!

Nice how he turned a threat into an advertisement for his company, isn’t it?  I thought about editing that information out, but then I realized that I went ahead and linked to his business in what I wrote, anyway.  If you want to give him your business after reading this, go right ahead.  Here, you can have these, too:  My condolences.

Before we really get into it, I’d like to respond to his comment, point-by-point:


February 9, 2007

Plaza Mayor, Trinidad

Plaza Mayor, Trinidad

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Twice now, I’ve visited Cuba, and twice I’ve spent some time in Trinidad.  It’s a beautiful colonial town in central Cuba, just a couple miles from the coast.  There’s a church on the hill, cobblestones on the streets, and picturesque landscapes and architecture around every corner.

On my first visit, I spent a lot of time moving around the central plaza with my 35mm camera.  There’s a wonderful bell and clock tower at one corner and I was continually trying to find the best angle on it.  I eventually found one; it’s now framed and hanging on the wall in my home office.

Four years later, my camera had changed, but the view in Trinidad was mostly the same.  I amused myself by trying to find the exact spot where I’d taken the first picture, then set out to frame something new.

There’s a museum in the base of the bell tower — something I’m not sure I was aware of on the first trip.  My companions and I paid a few dollars to go inside, hoping we’d get a chance to climb the tower.  Despite the rickety stairs and often a lack of handrails, tourists are, indeed allowed up.  Not all the way, though; the top room with the clock was barred with a trapdoor and a hefty padlock.

We stepped out onto the museum roof and paced around the edges.  From there we had a wonderful view of the terra cotta tile rooftops and the lush green countryside.  (Not to mention an ancient, rusty air raid siren.)  Walking back down the stairs, I stopped at the oval window we’d skipped on the way up.  I had to climb half into the cement ring to take an unobstructed picture of the courtyard below.  When I climbed back out, I took another picture to remember what the window was like.

I like the cement window frame better than the original.  It gives the viewer an interesting perspective, and in combination with the other photo I took years before, tells an interesting story.  Looking back and forth between them, I can identify the exact location where I took each picture!

Canon Powershot s30
Date: 27 December 2003
Focal Length: 8.6mm
Shutter: 1/1000 second
Aperture: F/3.2
Photoshop: Adjusted levels slightly to deepen the black edging

June 4, 2004

After the Wedding

Oksana's ParentsWarning: This one is long. I wrote this… wow… about a year ago now. I’ve been meaning to post it on my wedding page, but I still have some writing to do that chronicles what happened before this stuff. I had been waiting (in vain?) to complete that first. I’m posting this on my ‘blog, today, because it has some background information that not every knows about. Unfortunately, it’s background information for some bad news that I need to post tomorrow.

The day after our wedding, Oksana and I awoke in our opulent room at Pearson’s Pond. The room was expensive, but it was also comfortable a quiet. Lying there in the late morning, enjoying the distinct lack of stress, I decided that it was worth every penny. My only regret was that we were not able to stay there much longer – our checkout time was rapidly approaching.

The day before, Oksana had dropped off an overnight bag in our room. I was glad that I’d married a smart woman – it meant that I wouldn’t have to wear my tuxedo again. In fact, because I was back in casuals, we dropped it off on the way home.

Our arrival back at our apartment was a rather rude awakening. It seemed as though every item from the wedding and the reception was piled in up our living room and kitchen. Flowers, clothes, decorations, leftover cake, and computer gear was everywhere. For some inexplicable reason, there was a pair of men’s dress shows on the kitchen counter.


May 1, 2004

More blog, less Cuba

And now for something completely different.

I’ve been fed up with myself lately. See, I’ve got an annoying, mile-long perfectionist streak and sometimes it prevents me from doing the things I want. How? Let’s use updating my blog as an example.

If you’ve been reading along, you probably now know far more about Cuba than you ever cared to. When I returned from my last trip a couple months ago, I was all gung-ho about sharing my experiences – I think the initial veracity with which I attacked my keyboard vouches for that. Eventually, though, as the trip fell further and farther (what’s up with those words, anyway?) behind me, I lost the valuable initiative that kept me cranking out ordered ASCII characters.

Ever since I crossed that nebulous line where my writing libido had decreased, it’s been a struggle to finish the Cuba Guide. Not only that, but I think I lost my theme – I always intended my entries to be a guide about what to expect in Cuba with a healthy dose of “Arlo in Cuba Anecdotes.” Somewhere along the way (the intro?), I lost site of that and simply wrote about what one can do there.


April 29, 2004

Cuba: Specific Recommendations II (with a ton o’ photos)

Wedding photo-op in Trinidad (25k image)Part the Sixth: Part the Second: Specific Recommendations II

I’ve been to Trinidad on two separate occasions and they couldn’t have been more different. In 2000, I was there shortly after New Year’s, within the first two weeks of the new millennium. When I returned at the end of 2003, much had changed for the worse.

What was noticeable right away was the increased “hassle factor.” Granted, the second time around, I was there in the height of the high season – right between Christmas and New Year’s. The streets were packed with tourists, housing was scarce, and you couldn’t walk a single block without someone trying to sell you something.

At first I wondered if I was mis-remembering how things were in Trinidad three years before. After a day or two, I knew it couldn’t have been as bad as it is now. Perhaps the government loosens its regulations for the high season and the officials look the other way when people start selling cookies in the streets, get together for an artisans market, or brazenly offer tourists “illegal” lobster in the streets. I sure as hell hope so. With the hassle factor as high as it was, I’d have a hard time recommending Trinidad again.

And considering how wonderful Trinidad can be, that’s a horrible thought.


April 5, 2004

Cuba: Specific Recommendations

Museum of the Revolution (25k image)Part the Sixth: Part the First: Specific Recommendations

Okay, if you’ve been reading along until now, you have a good idea how Cuba is going to function. The big question is: What should you plan to do once you get there? Let me help you decide.

More than likely, you’ll end up flying into Havana to start off your trip. How much time you spend in Cuba’s largest city depends mostly on how much you like big cities. Rest assured that no matter how long you plan to be there, there will be too many things for you to see.

Museo de la Revoluccion and Bellas Artes
A few years ago it finally dawned on me that I don’t actually like museums. Go ahead, call me uncultured, but after countless visits where I pour over the details of the first half of a museum and feel guilty about skimming hurriedly past the second, I just gave it all up. Cuba’s Museum of the Revolution, though, almost changed my mind.

The Museum of the Revolution is situated in a beautiful palace in Old Havana and its goal is to chronicle the great achievements of the Cuban Revolution over the last 45 years. What interested me most was the spin of the propaganda contained within. Our U.S. version of many events is very different from the way Cuba views them. History is written by the winners, they say, and I find it refreshing to see both sides before it’s written at all.

For the military buffs, there’s a covered display behind the museum that has some assorted military hardware and the boat that brought Fidel and his initial revolutionaries over from Mexico. There’s a tank out front, too, if you’re into that sort of thing.

If you’re one of those that enjoys a full day (or two) of museum crawling, the two buildings containing the “Museum of Beautiful Arts” is right next door.


March 12, 2004

Cuba: Eating in Cuba

Big Machete, teeny-tiny fork! (25k image)Part the Fifth: Eating in Cuba

The first thing I should mention about eating food in Cuba is that you’re probably going to get sick. Is that a bad way to start this topic? Well, too bad. It’s true.

It’s not that the food in Cuba is unhealthy; somehow not up to the specs of food in the U.S. Rather, it’s that whenever you cross country boundaries, you’re likely to run into food with different bacterial contents. Those bacteria are not necessarily bad for you, they’re just different from what your stomach is used to. After a couple days of… shall we say, gastronomical distress, you’ll adjust and be good as new.

Actually, you might be able to dodge that bullet completely with a little pre-trip planning. After getting delusionally sick once in Ecuador, I began to look for solutions that would accomplish my newly realized goal of diarrhea-less travel. One of the suggestions that has worked remarkably well for me ever since was to start taking in acidophilus bacteria before leaving my own country. Since I almost always travel in winter (to remind myself that some places outside Alaska enjoy sunlight during December and January) I have made a routine of switching my diet right after Thanksgiving. A simple switch to acidophilus milk in my breakfast cereal and one container of active-culture yogurt every day does the trick! (If you’re lactose intolerant, I hear that acidophilus pills will do the same thing.)

Okay, great. Let’s focus less on stomachs and more on what goes into them.