A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness


"Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; but today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope."

John Kerestes


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Thursday, March 5, 2015

February, 2015: CUBA - GARDENS OF THE QUEEN



Gardens of the Queen, Cuba from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.

This trip was scheduled prior to Obama's overtures to open up our relations with Cuba. We had a special educational visa through Ocean Doctor to dive at the Gardens of the Queen. This is an underwater reserve which was established decades ago, and as a result has some of the biggest groupers and most sharks a diver is likely to see in the Caribbean.


Judy did four dives, and then had an ear blocked with water that she could no longer clear. I did ten dives, reaching a lifetime total of 200. On eight of those dives we were escorted by sharks: silkies, and Caribbean Reef Sharks. In my dive career I have now been diving with seven different kinds of sharks - and never felt threatened.

We were moved to go on this trip by a 60 Minutes episode where Anderson Cooper featured the Gardens of the Queen (and our dive master, Andreas was one of the people he interviewed). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhC1U8hj4Yk

We also saw the Goliath Grouper that Anderson filmed. They can reach 5-600 pounds. You can see the relative size of this one using Christine Gordon who is in the right of the frame for scale. This group would imitate Andreas shaking his head. These fish are endangered, close to extinction, and cannot be found many other places as they are easy to catch, curious, and prized as a fish people like to eat.

 
HAVANA:

We also spent a day in Havana, which I found less adamant about "the triumph of the Revolution" which I heard often as a cliché when I first visited Cuba in 2001. I, for one, would like to see the embargo lifted. I can't see how it has made a dent in the Castro regime, and the people need the economic shot we could provide.





We stayed at the Hotel National, which before Castro was owned by the Mob (Meyer Lansky), and visited by many famous people: Frank Sinatra, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, & FDR just to name a few.
 
 Cubans are limping along with cars acquired in the United States before the revolution. They have found they can keep them running by making their own parts, or using parts from the Russian cars they were able to obtain. But most people don't have cars, and transportation for the average Cuban is a big problem - as is basics like food and housing.


3 MINUTE CUBA from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.