Whom Do You Know That Might Benefit From Our Tailored Mortgage Solutions?
At the beginning of the 20th Century, Havana, Cuba was a place where Americans would go to have a good time. The last time a US President visited Cuba, prior to President Obama and his family’s trip there last Sunday, was in January 1928, when Calvin Coolidge attended the Pan American Conference. The good times ended with the Cuban Revolution, which lasted from 1953 till 1959, and the establishment of a socialist state and Communist Government led by Fidel Castro, began. As a response, on October 19, 1960, the Eisenhower administration imposed a trade embargo on Cuba. This in turn led to many Cubans to cross 90 miles distance and move to the United States. By 2008, more than 1.24 million Cuban Americans were living mostly in South Florida. I visited Cuba twice in 2013, and loved the people I met there. As a result I produced my first photography book, “Soy Cubano”.
I was happy to find out about our President’s decision to renew the relationship with Cuba and to take a trip there, 88 years after the last presidential visit. But why not lift the embargo? After all, the Ayatollah in Iran and Communists in China persecute those who oppose them, and there are no embargoes. Why punish good, hard-working people in Cuba? It is about time to figure out that almost 56 years of the embargo did not change the Communist Government. But not everyone agrees with this idea; especially those who left Cuba, and disagree with Mr. Castro and his government. And then there is the U.S. military prison, located in Guantanamo Bay, which Mr. Obama promised to close. Apparently, the United States has been leasing the area from Cuba for $4,085 per year (the lease started in 1903). It is also not clear what the new president will do. After all, President Obama used the Executive Order to renew the U.S.’s relationship with Cuba, which can be repealed by the new President of the United States. As they say in Cuba, it is complicated.
I decided to write about the trip after reading an article in “The New York Times “ on Sunday, March 20, 2016 “Cuba Is Set to Embrace Obama, but U.S. Goals May Get Colder Greeting”. In the same paper, in the Travel Section I found an article “How to Sample Americana in Havana”. And I’ve seen many other articles about the trip, since.
There are number of ways to travel to Havana, and I am sure more ways will open up. The Canadian company “Club Cubano” might be a good choice for package deals. You can reach them at 1-855-687-2822. I used their services on our last trip. If you mention my name, I might get a discount on my next trip.
P.S. I am planning to publish another photography book, “42 Encounters in Cuba With Couples”, in the future. Meanwhile, my first book in the series “42 Encounters in San Francisco” is being printed. Will keep you posted. In the meantime, enjoy some of these images that I captured in Cuba.
Enjoy and Share
Do Not Keep Me As A Secret!
Smile And Please SHARE It With A Friend!
On March 22, 2016, the world is going to celebrate “World Water Day”. It was first observed in 1993, after the United Nations General Assembly Declaration. After a prolonged draught, California finally got its share of rain. But even this might not be enough. On January 13th, the San Francisco Chronicle reported: “How much El Nino rain needed to end drought?” While California has had a drought, some other parts of the United States and other parts of the world have had flooding issues. It seems that in spite of all the progress humans accomplished, we cannot control how much water will fall on us from above. Water is one of the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water, which is mentioned in the Torah at the beginning of the creation of our world “and the Divine Presence hovered upon the surface of the water” (Genesis 1:2).
On December 14, 2015, water.usgs.gov reported, “About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water. Water also exists in the air as water vapor, in rivers and lakes, in icecaps and glaciers, in the ground as soil moisture, and aquifers and even in you and your dog.” The amount of water on Earth did not change from the day of creation. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry, #158, the human brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even bones are watery 31%.”
The Torah shows how nature and man are interconnected: “Now all the trees of the field were not yet on the earth and the herb of the field had not yet sprouted, for Hashem God had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to work the soil” (Genesis 2:5). After man was created, ”Hashem God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, to work it and to guard it” (Genesis 2:15). And since some of us are complacent, only when we lack something are we are reminded that our task is to keep the garden (ourselves, family, city, state, country, world) blooming and giving fruits, and we need to work it and to guard it. And yes, we need water. You can learn how to save water in the book “Beat the Drought: Water Savings Tips and Techniques” by Kyle Tsukamoto. You can get it for free on Kindle. Enjoy and Share.
Most of us (at least those who read my “Encounters”) live comfortable lives. We have a roof above our heads, cable television, and transportation to get us around. We easily travel from one place to another, often without thinking that life can be different. For those who came to San Francisco after discovery of gold in 1848 it was. Since the city is surrounded by water, the way to get from here to there, regardless of the destination, was by boat. As the population grew, some settled across the Bay in Marin and others on the Oakland side of the Bay. Ferry service actually started much earlier, in 1826, to get to the other side of the Bay. But the first recorded system on the Bay was established in 1850. By the end of the 1800s, twenty-two passenger cross-bay ferry companies were in operation, and another five companies carried only automobiles (You can read more in, “A Brief History of Ferries on the Bay”. Among many personalities who lived in San Francisco in the early days, was Emperor Norton, who was considered to be eccentric, visionary or simply crazy. On the 6th of January, he proclaimed the need to “bridge the Bay”. Two months later, on March 23rd 1878, the Emperor made a second proclamation, “That a suspension bridge be built from Oakland Point to Goat Island (Yerba Buena Island), and thence to Telegraph Hill, provided such bridge can be built without injury to the navigable waters of the Bay of San Francisco.” He suggested that the Central Pacific Railroad Company be granted the right to lay down trucks to connect two destinations.
Then on the 15th of June, 1878, Emperor Norton envisioned the possibility of an underwater rail tunnel to connect both coasts. It took some time for his visions to come to life. The construction of the Bay Bridge started on July 8th, 1933 and opened on November 12th, 1936. About 240,000 cars cross the bridge. daily. In 2002, construction began to replace the East Span. It was completed on September 2nd, 2013 with the estimated cost of 6.3 billion dollars.
Driving on the new bridge and seeing the old one in the middle of the bay, I wondered how it is going to be dismantled. The answer came in the San Francisco Chronicle on February 6th in the article, “Millions of Memories – and Pounds of Steel”. The image shows the process. You can see remarkable photographs of the Bay Bridge construction progress in the Bay Bridge History.
The Golden Gate Bridge, which is a famous symbol of San Francisco around the world, was opened on May 27, 1937. I found many incredible photos online, but if you want to see remarkable photos, buy or rent “Mystical San Francisco” by Frederic Larson in the San Francisco Public Library.