Subject: Re: Cuba

Being a Yank & having visited Cuba below radar, I had to be much more careful with spending, but US dollars are definitely in order. For non US tourists, credit cards are ok along with lots of US ones & fives.

I only ate once at the Nacional in Havana, breakfast, but it was a dismal affair: cold, plain spaghetti & white bread, but the coffee was hot & strong. Otherwise, my sister & I skulked around, asking gypsy cab drivers about families who would feed us & enjoyed simple fare at several homes. We went down to Isla de la Juventud to dive (no reservations, of course!) only to discover that the island caters to full-board accoms for groups from Europe & there was no place to stay other than these fully-booked hotels. We only found one bar, near the harbor, but a kind bartender managed to scrounge up some mashed potatoes one night. We hung out on the docks at the little boat harbor & found a skipper who let us sleep aboard his boat. That was such fun! Over the 36 hours we were down there, the mashed potatoes & some granola bars we had were the extent of the food. Our dive was the most physically challenging in all my years of scuba (nothing like a macho Italian divemaster showing off to some young German divers!), so I was exhausted by the time we got back to Havana.

But, we used US dollars for all our financial dealings & they were welcome.

Gail In Eugene