Spring 2014: This country that does not exist


We were really itching for an adventure and decided to make our next trip something unusual. Looking at the map, we decided that Cuba was right up our alley. Still under a very strict embargo (blockade), we snuck in by flying through Canada.

Goodbye wi-fi, cell service, GPS, credit cards, internet, FaceBook, Instagram, google...‪#‎damnembargo‬‬‬‬. But looking forward to 50˘ mojitos! ‪#‎perksofcommunism‬‬‬‬.


A long drive up to Montreal and a short flight south, we landed in Trinidad. This UNESCO world heritage town was so full of music, color and history.
We stayed with local families the entire trip. What a great cultural exchange. We learned more about the country that way.

Arts, history and nightlife at every corner
   

Theo spent an afternoon at the local chess club

Training the next generation

Ambroise showing our hosts
a Dora game on the iPad.
   

Dad enjoyed photgraphing the old American cars from the 1950’s and the Russian cars from the 70’s
As well as exploring off the beaten path

Comités de Defensa de la Revolución

Street betting

Batista's wife's house, paid by the state

A day by the beautiful beach Ancon

Youtube video available here

A bit too much sun, heh?

We took the long drive to Havana, via a great snorkeling place.


We drove through a massive migration of crabs that freaked us all out.
The crunching under the wheels was highly disturbing.
Don't look at the video if you are faint of heart...

Youtube video available here
   


Next stop, Playa Giron, otherwise known as the Bay of Pigs (Baie des Cochons).
A beautiful scenery for a war....
 
 
We met a group of Cuban veterans touring the local museum.
Their version of history is a bit different than ours!
   

We then went on to Havana for a week.
Churches, museums, history, music and color.
 
 

Incredible museums

Castro's return boat, 'The Granma',
almost stolen by political refugees...
Politcs is always around the corner

Cuba's Grand Lodge
So many beautiful buildings.
So many in disrepair, waiting for budgets... They crash down regularly...
Havana would be grandiose.

But not all of the buildings are crumbling.
Downtown Havana is full of beautiful buildings, great history,
streets burstling with life.

Pictures are not free!

Queue to get into the post-office (more inside...). Disney!

No seafood or fish in Cuba. Boats are illegal!

Dual currency system. Local food cheap. Tourist food...
Fun museums too: Tobacco, cigars (no picture allowed at the factory), chocolate, rum and music

One of Batista's friends had a passion for Napoleon.
He left in a hurry, leaving incredible historical artefacts and books behind him.
His house is now a Napoleonic museum.

Pot de chambre imperial...

We also had family time:

This is what happens when you give a 5 year old 2 cans of soda


We stayed in a very nice private residence. Thanks, E!

Racing around town

Havana's famous cemetery

Can't go around a new city without a few panoramas and family pictures
 
 


Madeline and Theo sitting at the same table as Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Highlight of their trip.
Handing out tons of books to the local kids was a highlight of Elizabeth's.



Offering bubbles to the other kids was Ambroise's highlight
     
     

After 10 days being completely disconnected from the world, we thought that giving the kids a day by the pool at a fancy hotel with wi-fi would be appreciated, but surprisingly nobody wanted the wi-fi!
   
   

Cuba- politically charged, historically significant, confusing, hospitable, time warped, unique, interesting, crumbling, uncertain future, adapting, full of soul, musical....


And a papa's fun - a nugget for car lovers out there:

But we eventually had to take the ride home



The same day we arrived home from Cuba, Gontran popped over to France for the wedding of Clementine and Simon (Gontran’s sister Anne’s son).


Back at home, we kick off spring with an Easter egg hunt.

And the lovely flowers that start to bloom

The garden was planted (A planting leaves) and grows quickly

Theo got contacts. (Before and after, he he)

Mother’s Day tea at pre-school.

Youtube video also available here


Madeline’s spring crew season starts.

“Led Zeppelin” concert. Front row! Thanks Abellas!

Youtube video available here
   
And then Steve Miller with Journey. Thanks Muscarellos!

Ambroise might be the next basketball star.
Youtube video available here Meanwhile the Documentary Film club visits a Russian spa.
   


Ambroise turns 5!
He wanted exactly the same party as the year before, a rainbow theme.


See you soon...