POSTCARDS FROM CUBA: a boat is not a boat

For Peter. Do you still remember that ferry ride from hell? I do…


That’s Ender on the Havana ferry dock, looking in awe at the cruise ship that dwarfs the city and the harbour… and asking… “Is that our boat?”

No, son, no it isn’t.

Flora: “The Havana ferry was basically a board with an engine.”

It wasn’t quite that bad. There was a roof.

Also… it was $0.20 centavos (moneda nacional) a person.

Non-sequiteur: The sight of that cruise ship in the Havana harbour was obscene. I have no other word for it–its size, compared to the size of the dock, the harbour, the city… obscene. Wrong. If you ever have a chance to take a cruise ship to Havana–don’t. OK? Please?

Coming next: the boat theme continues with listening postcard from  Marina Hemingway.


LANDED here for the first time? Let me catch you up:

Series 1 of Postcards from Cuba is now fully live. Check out the annotated table of contents for a tour, or, if you prefer, hop over to the chronological table of contents.

And if you like what you read/hear/see, please consider expressing your delight by becoming a patron of this project via PayPal:

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You: Why?

Jane: Because you’ve always wanted to be a patron of the arts, and you know that artists can’t pay for groceries with exposure.

You: How much?

Jane: Buy me a cup of coffee, a Cuba Libre, or a Cuban cigar.

You: That’s all?

Jane: My avarice is happy to match your affluence. But I get $1 in royalties for each copy my other self sells of a traditionally published book. It is impossible to disappoint me.

If you would like to make a contribution, but have PayPal issues (I get it), please email me at nothingbythebook at, and we’ll work something out.

Thank you!

“Jane” / Tweet tweet @NothingBTBook / Instagram NothingByTheBook


POSTCARDS FROM CUBA: castillo means castle

For Valentino, who said, “It is forbidden, but…”

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Or, this way:

27-Castle All

short guide to Havana’s castles

In Old Havana:

La Punta, or Castillo San Salvador de la Punta: boooring. You’ll probably walk past it as you meander the Malecon, but don’t make a special trip. What? Fine. Go. Then tell me I’m right.

El Castillo de la Real Fuerza: in the heart of Havana Vieja, next to all sorts of other touristy things, this is the one you will probably visit. It’s old. It’s ok. It’s not as good as what’s across the bay.

On the other side of the Harbour:

Castillo de los Tres Reyes Del Morro: Everyone just calls it Morro. Amazing views! Usually hosts a featured artist & art exhibit in one of its chambers–don’t miss that! You’re not supposed to climb into the lighthouse but it can probably be arranged, wink, wink. Nobody cares if you climb on the roof and cannons or into the moat.

Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña: Fucking huge. I mean–ENORMOUS. It just doesn’t end. Much less exciting than the smaller Morro… unless you accidentally climb onto the roof. Which might happen, because there are no signs. And no one will stop you. Also, make sure you find your way underground–highlight of the adventure for the kids. Biggest mystery: why and from where did they get the giant pink tongue slide AND WHAT WHERE THEY THINKING?

How to get there: $5-6CUC taxi ride from Old Havana OR catch a bus going across the Harbour from Parque Fraternidad–ask which bus will take you to El Morro, a kind stranger will show you–OR (best choice) take the little so-cheap-it’s-free ferry from Old Havana to Casablanca, climb up the stairs from Casablanca into the park that abuts that giant Casablanca Christ statue (Christo de la Habana), peek into (or not) Che Guavarra’s house, and then follow the road first to  Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña and then Castillo de los Tres Reyes Del Morro. It is walkable–even with three children–if you run out of steam, a taxi, a horse-drawn buggy, or a local with a car will inevitably offer you a ride. My recommended way of doing the circuit: take a taxi to El Morro, and then walk your way towards the ferry, and take the ferry home. It’s nice to end the day with a boat ride.


Trio on benches at laundry park3

The best things in life and on the Internet are free, but content creators need to pay for groceries with money. If you enjoy the Postcards project, please express your delight and support by making a donation via PayPal:

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You: “But how much should I give?”

Jane: “I get $1 each time a sell a traditionally published book, so my bar’s set really low, love. Want to buy me a cup of coffee? That’s $4.75 if you’ll spring for a mocha or latte. Bottle of wine? My palate’s unsophisticated: $19.95 will more than cover it.”

If you’d like to make a contribution but have PayPal issues, email me at nothingbythebook@ and we’ll work something out.

Or, ya know. Just hang out with us and enjoy. That be cool too.


“Jane” / Tweet tweet @NothingBTBook / Instagram NothingByTheBook


LANDED here for the first time? Let me catch you up:

Series 1 of Postcards from Cuba is now fully live. Check out the annotated table of contents for a tour, or, if you prefer, hop over to the chronological table of contents.