27 Mar 2022
I've been interviewed by Marilyn Ball on her show, "Speaking of Travel," several times over the years, and we always have a great time chatting – both on and off the air. One of
these days, we both have vowed, she and I will travel to Cuba together! I'm very much looking forward to it.
This LINK lets you travel to a podcast of the March 27 show.
23 Mar 2022
|Yes, that's some of my luggage on the roof – there wasn't enough room in the trunk!|| |
TRIP REPORT: My most recent Cuban adventure Hola! I've been thinking about what to say in a "trip report" on my recent two-week stay in Cuba... That's how I began a Facebook post with a semi-brief report. It will serve as a base (original text in blue),
which I will add to below. I have to warn you, though, I have a lot to
say! So, grab a drink and snack, to tide you over as you read. Here we
Officially, the exchange rate at a bank is 24 pesos = $1 USD. But, if you're comfortable having your money changed on the street, you can get as much as 100 pesos for your American dollar in some places. Canadian money, of course, is less valuable but, even so, the street rates are better than a bank's. I started using a general calculation of 500 pesos = $25 dollars, with it being slightly over/under, depending on whether you prefer to think in CAD or USD. When I was out and about in Pilón, the cheapest rum I saw for sale was a bottle of Pinella for 500 pesos. Havana Club was significantly more! Wine is priced much higher (I saw one kind for 1,000 CUP), if you can find it, and beer is simply not available in that area at this time.
Since the places I visited (Pilón, Marea del Portillo, Mota and Niquero) are all along the coast, fish would seem like a natural option. When I was there, unfortunately, the fishing hadn't been good because of the unsettled weather. Wind and turbulent seas make it more difficult to catch fish! And, as with everything else, the price of fish has gone up, making a balanced diet on a tight budget a very big challenge. I took some cans of tuna with me, for the family I stayed with, but the weight of canned goods adds up quickly.
|Mota Playa (above) and the road near Marea.|
The day I visited the Marea del Portillo resort and village, my taxi rides cost 600 pesos each way. My trip to Mota, on a different day, cost 1600 round trip; on that occasion, I had the same driver for both directions. You can sometimes find a driver willing to do it for less but it's difficult. Most taxi drivers simple don't want to deal with that nasty stretch of road and, after seeing it, I understand. Some government officials recently visited the region and promised to repair the road from Mota to Pilón this year. People are skeptical, since they've heard this song before. But, a long section of the same road has already been repaired, beginning in Santiago and heading west toward Granma. So, the roadwork machines are moving in the right direction!
Now we're in the home stretch of this lengthy report! In conclusion, I want to tell you about the humanitarian aspects of my trip. Thanks to the support of many wonderfully generous friends, I was able to purchase a LOT of medical/health supplies to take with me to Cuba. MUCHAS, MUCHAS GRACIAS! I want to give a special shout out to Denise, who was my personal shopper at Costco. She was able to get large bottles of ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, children's Tylenol, etc., etc.
I also took several packs of masks and an assortment of vitamins and pain meds. for arthritis and muscle strains. I distributed everything as equitably as possible, giving extra supplies to nurses and large families, who will share with each other (I took small zip-bags, so they could divvy up the large bottles as needed). All of these gifts were very much appreciated. I wished I could have taken more!
Since the Cuban gov't is currently offering an exemption on a suitcase filled with medical/health supplies and food, I took a 23 kg/50 lb. packed-to-the-gills duffel bag (topped up with rolls of toilet paper, when the weight limit was almost reached). As well, my other large suitcase and my carry-ons were stuffed with more medicine-cabinet items and other gifts – some of the things I'd been waiting to take for over two years. I felt like a Sherpa but, thankfully, I wasn't headed for a mountain of snow!
15 Feb 2022
Welcome to Jenny Cressman's "JennicaCuba.com" website! This is primarily intended as a travel-related site but, since Jenny's travel business has been disrupted by COVID, there are not currently any group trips planned. Hopefully, that type of customized travel to Cuba (or elsewhere) will be viable again soon.In the meantime, you may want to read about travel to Cuba! Jenny Cressman has written a series of novels that are mainly set in a small, out-of-the-way resort in rural Cuba – a fictionalized version of the resort she has been taking groups to for the past decade. The first two books in the trilogy are Cuban Kisses and Cuban Wishes.
The author's writing-related website, "JennyLovesWords.com," is having some technical difficulties, so it's not possible to order books through that site at this time. However, you can purchase both novels from the following outlets:
• Muskoka Unlimited – order one or both books online and have them shipped directly to you or arrange to pick them up within Muskoka (Ontario); shipping costs will vary, depending on your location.
• A Different Booklist – 779 Bathurst St., Toronto, ON
• Algonquin Outfitters (3 stores carry Cuban Kisses and Cuban Wishes) – Oxtongue Lake, 1035 Algonquin Outfitters Rd., Dwight, ON; Huntsville, 86 Main St. East, Huntsville, ON; Bracebridge, 60 Manitoba St., Bracebridge, ON
• Georgian Bay Books – 247 King St., Midland, ON
• The Great Vine – 36 Main St. East, Huntsville, ON
• Worth Repeating – 31 Manitoba St., Bracebridge, ON
You can also contact Jenny's agent, Brenda Paterson, regarding the purchase of both books or about publishing the third book. A new publisher is currently being sought, since the original publishing company has closed. Brenda can be reached by phone, 705-640-1054, or email: email@example.com.