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Old 12-22-2014, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Ocean Shores, WA
5,092 posts, read 14,834,060 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fargobound View Post
I fail to see how Cuba is going to be any different than Tijuana
In Cuba you can drink the water.

And you won't be kidnapped and held for ransom, or beheaded by a drug cartel.
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
29,218 posts, read 22,371,062 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Let's hope they don't clear cut that treasure trove. There's going to be a gold rush of sorts, unless they enact laws for sustainable forestry.
I don't think that will happen, but it is a possibility. Primo musical instrument wood is a product that is a lot like diamonds. In some countries, wood is like blood diamonds, and in other countries, it's like DeBeers diamonds- tightly controlled and restricted in quantity.

There is a worldwide organization that was created to control exploitation of precious woods called CITES. The U.S. is a signatory to the CITES treaties, as is much of the rest of the world. The treaties initially had little enforcement, but that changed in ca. 2000, when the treaties were given real teeth. Any precious wood that does not have full certification is seized and destroyed as a way to keep it off the market, pretty much like eagle feathers are. A set of wood, enough to make the sides and back of a guitar, can cost as much as $5,000 for just the unfinished lumber. Typical sets of prime wood cost around $350 for most of the best woods used in top-grade guitars.
It pays a country more to conserve and restrict now than over-cutting. Since logs of hardwood are large, moving the wood from one place to another is difficult, and it's hard to smuggle the stuff when it takes a crane to lift a single log.

(One log of Brazilian mahogany took over 20 years to cut and haul out. It was a mutant tree that died naturally and fell into a canyon. The wood is unique, and super-expensive now. it looks like the curly hair of a red-headed girl when finished.)

From the little I've read, the Cubans have made most of the areas the wood grows into national reserves.

The Cuban culture was forced to become very conservatory after Castro took over out of necessity. Those old cars from the 50s are still running because they had to- the Cubans had no way of acquiring new cars. An entire industry in making new parts for old Detroit iron has sprung up over the past 57 years.

The same is true with all their agricultural heavy equipment, their power generation, electronics, and everything else. The Cubans have become experts at conserving and re-purposing things the rest of the world would throw away and replace with new stuff.

The other thing is the American guitar buying public really don't know much about the differences between Cuban mahogany and the other mahoganies that come from all over the world. Honduran mahogany became the world standard before the Cuban revolution because the Cuban had been pretty much depleted long before. 57 years was long enough for the stands of young trees to become mature.

Guitar buyers are mostly traditionalists when it comes to the woods used in acoustic guitars. Honduran mahogany became the standard wood about 70 years ago initially because it was cheaper, but now it is traditional, so it's the best.
The fact is most mahogany used for guitars isn't the same species. It's an African wood called Sapele, which is in plentiful supply and has similar visual and acoustic properties to true mahogany. Sapele has been in use forever, and most folks can't tell the difference between the 2 woods.

Nowadays, Honduran mahogany is also becoming depleted for a different reason than over cutting; mahogany typically grows mid-level in a tropical forest. It needs the shade of the really big trees to thrive, and the big ones are the first to be cut when a forest is cleared for agriculture or livestock.

The wood in Cuba and Honduras is exactly the same species, but Cuba is very windy, especially along the coasts, and apparently, the moist continual winds keep the mahogany from sun burning like it does in inland Honduras. By rights, the Cuban wood shouldn't be growing where it is, but nature has adapted it.

It's possible the Cubans may have been watching Hawaii too, observing how the Hawaiians have conserved their stands of Koa wood. Koa only grows on the Hawaiian islands, and is also a premium hardwood used in very fine (and expensive) musical instruments. Koa was once over-cut, and the state government restricted cutting severely for a very long time. It is now back on the market in limited quantities, and will always be restricted as to availability.

Forest management of premium woods is quite old in many places the best woods grow. The Swiss have managed all their forests for well over a century, as have the Italians, the Germans, and other European nations. The same is happening here and in Africa and Asia.

America grows the finest spruce for instrument tops that can be found anywhere. Sitka spruce grows in the northern Pacific coastal forests, and is prime, and Adirondack spruce, a generic term used for 3 species which tend to interbreed, is legendary for it's quality.
During WWII, a pine beetle infestation wiped out the mature Adirondack stands; there were no young men to fight the beetles because they were all fighting a war.

The Adirondack spruce is fast growing and short-lived. It's plentiful now, but most of it is unfit for musical instruments because the trees grow in a twist, not straight up. Now, there are enough mature trees to allow the twist to be cut away, leaving only the straight parts of the lumber to be used. It only took 40 years for those trees to mature.
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:28 PM
 
7,280 posts, read 10,954,215 times
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Within 10 years, the ports will be polluted, the forests seriously degraded, the coastal ocean beds ruined but they will have the Internet and solar panels so all is good.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
11,936 posts, read 13,111,286 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parentologist View Post
Adding Havana to the Bahamas cruise itinerary would be a tremendous boon to the cruise ship industry. Many people would take that itinerary, just to go to see Cuba. Immediate shot in the arm for their economy. Cruise ship tourism doesn't bring in that much money, since people sleep on the boat, and might only buy lunch on shore, but still, they do buy lunch, and spend on transportation around the island, and buy souvenirs. And since Cuba doesn't have the infrastructure yet for tourists who stay overnight, the cruise ships are a perfect start.
Where do you get your information? Cuba has tons of hotels and resorts. Cruise ships bring very little money into the areas where they land. People do cruise sponsored tours, then head right back to the ship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by azriverfan. View Post
It's amazing to read all of these comments regarding the cruise ship docks being unauthentic. Do you guys really think we don't know that? People who can afford cruises did not get that way by being dumb. I don't know anyone who actually buys anything at the docks or those stupid little shops. Every cruise has excursions that take you into the city and real areas, and that is where tourists go. You get dropped off, you walk around and explore the city on your own and then you get picked up at a meeting spot. It's not difficult to understand
Cruises are dirt cheap. It is one of the most economical ways to sightsee.

Cruising is very conducive to not seeing much of the areas.
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Chicago
607 posts, read 761,569 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueherons View Post
Cruisers will ruin Havana like they ruin every other port.

If you ever go to a port of call in the Caribbean, they aren't like the rest of the area. They are contained little tourist trap ciites with Senior Frogs, Liquor stores, chochtke stores, t-shirt stores, and jewelry stores.
I understand what you are saying..I've been to a few of those you mention..The one on St. Thomas is like its own little self contained world, with a skylift to a parrot show, not connected to anything on the island.....

The difference with Habana is that it is not only a real city, but with a population of 2.1 Million, which would make it the 4th largest city in the USA, ahead of Houston, so its not one of those little dinky port cities like St. Marteen, or even Kingston, Jamaica.....

It is too large for the cruise lines to make cutseypoo/twee, not to mention the authorities would never allow the same......

It will very much hold its integrity, trust me..

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Old 12-22-2014, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Chicago
607 posts, read 761,569 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueherons View Post
I highly suggest you run to your nearest music/dvd store a pick up a copy of the masterpiece, The Buena Vista Social Club.

It is about a group of men who were extraordinary musicians in Cuba in the 1940s and were brought back together and toured the world in the 1990s. There music is amazing.

Buena Vista Social Club | Official site of the legendary Cuban musicians

Buena Vista Social Club - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Agreed!

Actually, in general, all Cuban music is amazing, and easily the finest music south of the border outside of perhaps Brazilian, for the same reason...both incorporate afro-european rhythms and harmonics...the combination, ala the Brazilian Samba, is insane.....you simply must get up off your butt when you hear it.

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Old 12-22-2014, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Chicago
607 posts, read 761,569 times
Reputation: 832
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
YES! Once a cruise ship establishes an itinerary, suddenly all the little port-of-call towns acquire an identical appearance, with all the same shops. It's really annoying. But Cuba can regulate that. At least, while Raul is still around... I hope it doesn't devolve into a huge political power struggle over the money to be made by allowing the Yanquis to invade with their hyper-commercialism. Could get ugly, and very corrupt.
That is the only good thing I would hope from the old guard, before they are swept away in a few years or less.....keep in mind Havana's population is 2.1 Million, more than Houston, so it is not a dinky little Virgin Island kind of place....

Disney will not be welcomed to turn it into another Epcot, ala what they did to Times Square, trust me on this..

BTW, look at Havana at dusk at night..so pretty it can make one weep..wow..

Yes, let's all hope they keep it like this, but with more money to preserve the same..

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Old 12-22-2014, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Chicago
607 posts, read 761,569 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IheartWA View Post
I missed this one. Yes, God had a very special purpose in mind when His servant, Jorge Mario Bergolio was elected Pope Francis. He didn't do all the things everyone in the Catholic Church wanted him to do (social issues.) He was chosen for a higher purpose, and freeing Cuba is a great gift to mankind. I never thought I would live to see it. I thought this stupidness would last 100 years.

Vive Cuba!!!!!!!!!
I do not know the man, yet I love him....I know it sounds weird, but true.....same as John Paul II...for the same reasons...the man is beyond ideology and bullcrap...he loves people, and would lay down his life to help someone..

Viva Cuba AND Pope Francis...



He does "Selfies" as well..the man is a trip..

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Old 12-22-2014, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Chicago
607 posts, read 761,569 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW View Post
I wonder how much it would cost to spend a month at a someplace like a B and B on the beach on the Cuban side of Guantanamo Bay? That might be affordable and a lot better then another February in New Hampshire.
When sanctions are removed next year, until they jack up prices per supply and demand, you could probably rent an entire apartment for 500 bucks a month......this won't last long though....might want to do it early in the post-sanction period, before online stuff like www.airbnb.com get in the game..

This is what one that is available right now for rental looks like...I would kill to spend a month in one of these, right next to the beach, bars, and clubs, myself.

Blows Key West, essentially itself a dinky skankhole tourist trap, to shreds....



The top looks like a skydeck/swimming pool. though enclosed, as it prob gets hot as hell on that roof in the summer..
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Old 12-22-2014, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Chicago
607 posts, read 761,569 times
Reputation: 832
Quote:
Originally Posted by cotocatmom View Post
I'm originally from Canada so I've been to Cuba many times... it's a fairly popular vacation destination for the rest of the world. Tons of Canadians and lots of Brits/Europeans whenever we went. The resorts and beaches were pretty, but honestly, it was mediocre at best and didn't feel very safe compared to other islands I've been to. Fun trips over all, but I probably wouldn't go back. Unless you happen to have an interest in Cuban history/culture, it's probably more of a novelty just for the fact that Americans couldn't go there.
Reason it might seem mediocre is they don't have the standard issue fun places like senor frogs and such...or the crazy beach things like parasailing......other islands are self-contained, as someone else mentioned, and closer to Disney/Epcot antiseptic fun.....havan may be a little rough behind the ears, but it is a huge city of 2.1 million, bigger than Houston, so of course it will have crime...but I would go there anyday before jamaica or some of the bahamas, even the US virgins, where they hold up tourists often(or kill them)..
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