Cuba A Cultural Mix

***This is post was contributed by Holiday Hypermarket.


Christopher Columbus pronounced that Cuba was the “most beautiful land that human eyes had ever seen” when discovering the island in 1492. Some 500 years later and the sun-drenched Caribbean island with sparkling waters attracts almost three million visitors per year. The largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba offers a unique vacation experience in what has been described as a cultural paradise with a diverse population mix. This diverse mix of island inhabitants, including Chinese and Japanese, gives the island a unique cultural heritage and those from Far East countries will find some particular points of interest for their Cuba holidays:



China’s influence on Cuba


The Chinese have a long history with Cuba and migrants arrived to work on the island as far back as 1847 before settling permanently. Chinese-Cubans are part of the culture of the island and visitors will find many businesses, restaurants and shops. The city of Havana has its own ‘Barrio Chino’ or Chinese neighbourhood where the Chinese influence can be seen in the architecture, restaurants and beauty parlours. In this area of Havana there are also museums where you can learn some of the history of the importance the Chinese had on creating the Cuba we know today.


Diverse island cuisine


Cuba offers a wealth of cuisine options thanks to the diverse population mix. You can easily find a restaurant to suit your taste whether you’re looking for Chinese, Japanese or Korean food. Of course you may wish to try some traditional Cuban dishes although the ‘traditional’ dishes are actually influenced by many nationalities including Spanish, Portuguese, African, French and the Chinese. Classic Cuban dishes rely heavily on spices and a sofrito sauce that gives the chicken and meat dishes their unique flavour; try the Carne de Cerdo, a slow roasted pork or the beef hash for a taste explosion.



The world’s most beautiful beaches


One Cuban attraction that will appeal no matter which country you hail from is the fantastic beaches. The island beaches are regarded as some of the best in the world and include the idyllic 2.5 mile long Playa Paraiso at Caya Largo. This uninhabited island lies just southwest off the coast of Cuba and with a single bar serving rum and cigars, what more do you need?  If you don’t fancy the boat trip to Caya Largo then check out other slices of paradise such as Playa Ancon near Trinidad or Caya Jutias, which is about as serene a beach as it gets.


From the vibrant city atmosphere of Havana to the year round high temperatures to the beautiful beaches, it’s not hard to see why Cuba is a top holiday location. An 11 hour flight is all that stands between the Far East and experience this incredible island.



Images by Neiljs and Artur Staszewski used under the Creative Commons licence.


My Amazing Life-Chapter 12, Thalang Road Phuket Old Town

As I sit here this morning writing this post, I feel pensive and have a deep concern for my friends in Thailand. It appears that the Thai Army, unknown to the Thai Government, has declared Martial Law and is imposing curfews and roadblocks around the perimeter of Bangkok. I love Thailand, its culture, its fabulous food and most of all its gentle people, who appear to smile 100% of the time.


I am worried this will escalate into a coup. Hopefully the assorted media campaigns are just being sensational as usual and have blown this completely out of proportion. The civil protests were just beginning when I was there in November and I can’t help but be apprehensive for my friends that reside in Thailand.


We flew from Bangkok to Phuket, a short flight and as we were approaching, I could see islands faintly out the plane’s window from Phang Nga Bay and made plans of a Snorkeling tour of Phuket. I had no idea how wonderful our stay in Phuket would be.  We left the airport on a bus operated by the Sweetland Travel & Tours Company in Phuket Thailand and Old Town. At one  time Old Town Phuket was the center of gambling, prostitution and opium trades. This was centered around the flourishing tin-mining industry, maintained by labor from the Siamese, Chinese, Malays, Indians, Eurasians and various sea gypsies.



The tsunami of 2004 stopped the aggressive upgrade to this gorgeous city on the Andaman Sea,started in the eighties. There remain, many wonderful beaches and the shops are in varying stages of refurbishing. This video is all about the historical Thalang Road with it’s century old “Shophouse” architecture. We parked the bus a street away and had “10 minutes” to shop and see the area. Of course that was impossible and we wound up staying there for 30 minutes.


Side Street off Thalang Road

Side Street off Thalang Road


As we sauntered down the side street we came upon this barber plying his trade and giving a local his haircut. Notice the sparse accommodations in this shop and the fact that only a fan spins above the client’s head.


A Local Barber Cuts Haif

A Local Barber Cuts Hair


Another shop we walked by, had this chart in four languages; Thai, English, French and German. It illustrates the various pressure points of Reflexology on the foot,  an alternative medicine or pseudoscience involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet.


Pressure Points on a Reflexology Sign for the Foot

Pressure Points on a Reflexology Sign for the Foot


We found this refurbished wonderful house on the side street, the balcony  loaded with plants. Notice the TV satellite dish matches the base color pink.


Old Architecture

Old Architecture on a Side Street


As we turned onto Thalang Road, we found the architecture outstanding and a majority of the antique homes had been remodeled. This was along with the shops which sold a plethora of goods.


Bolts of Silk Material in a Shop on Thalang Road

Bolts of Silk Material in a Shop on Thalang Road


Shop after shop offered their silk wares and although we had mostly secured our silk needs in Bangkok, we did stop, chat and discuss things with the shopkeepers. They were all friendly and were all asking if we needed anything. Thankfully it wasn’t a heavy sell approach.


Old Architecture on Thalang Road

Old Architecture on Thalang Road


We continued along Thalang Road, the main thoroughfare and home of all the historic buildings and original center of commerce. I must have taken 50 to 75 photos of the houses and balcony areas



Old Architecture on Thalang Road with Character

Old Architecture on Thalang Road with Character


The “Shophouses”, named this a result of the fact that the front portion is an actual retail establishment of one kind or another and the remainder is their home. Some have intricate gardens and patios that are not visible from the main street. An interesting detail, is that all the “Shophouses” have a “five-footway” front, that provides shade and protection from the in-climate weather.


Colorful Old Architecture on Thalang Road

Colorful Old Architecture on Thalang Road


This shop was an illustration of the various clothing and Burkas worn by Muslim women. A  Niqaab or face cover, is not required of most in Thailand and this portion of Asia. Additionally you can see rugs, packaged scarves and other clothing.


Clothing Shop on Thalang Road

Clothing Shop on Thalang Road


Before we knew it they were calling us back to the bus, to continue on to our resort and get checked in. As stated in the video, the shops were closed on the following day and I felt lucky to have this experience even though it was brief in nature.


I highly recommend you stay at the Keemala resort, located in the rainforest of Kamala Phuket and close to Patong Beach for those seeking a fun time. It is a great resort for a romantic get away and has a spectacular spa. The resort has numerous holistic activities and one can feast on an assortment of foods that will satisfy your wholesome needs. Whether you desire a villa, pool cottage, or pool house Keemala will placate your thirst for personal treatment.



*** My trip to Thailand and Malaysia was sponsored by Thai Airways, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Tourism Malaysia USA. All opinions are solely mine and as always, generated without any influence.






















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