Showing posts from July, 2015

Half Way to Havana - My Near Death Experience Part 3

Inside the Cuban Healthcare System Photo taken by Radio Ciudad del Mar
(See Part 1 and Part 2)
After surviving a heart attack and having a thrombolitic procedure I was relegated to the Intensive Care Room. The hospital where I was receiving care was called Hospital Universario Doctor Gustavo Aldereguia Lima. To be very honest, the doctors, nurses and technicians saved my life. I will forever be grateful. 
Believe it or not, I found this near death experience completely captivating. There was so much going on. I mean, there were things happening with my own body, there were wild thoughts occurring in my mind, and there was so much activity happening inside and outside of the hospital with other patients and staff. I tried to make sense of it all.
Once I was relocated to the Intensive Care Room I was connected via electrodes to a heart monitor, provided an intravenous therapy and was given supplemental oxygen. Every few hours one of the nurses would check my condition and provide me wi…

Half Way to Havana - My Near Death Experience Part 2

On the Emergency Room Operating Table Photo taken by Jorge
(See Part 1 - Half Way to Havana)
Blood was rushing to my head. I was feeling a little nauseous from the vibrations of the ambulance ride. I remember being wheeled into the hospital on a stretcher. 
There was a nurse walking beside the stretcher. She asked me what had happened. I turned to answer her… and immediately vomited. I don't really know if I vomited on the nurse or if I missed her. I apologized anyways. 
I wiped some vomit off of my cheek and then started to convey my story once again. While I was being wheeled through the hospital I realized that I was in a hallway or more specifically on a walkway outside of the actual building. To the right side of me I could see palm trees in the patio area. I was thinking, "oh, that's kind of nice." Then I was thinking… Hmmm, I wonder what kind of hospital this might be. 
I've been in a hospital in a developing country before. Once when I was motorcycling i…

Half Way to Havana - My Near Death Experience

One year ago on this date June 11, 2015, I almost died. How did a nice little bicycle ride across a tropical island turn into this? I spent 3 days in Trinidad and I was ready to move on. The next destination that I planned to visit was a city called Cienfuegos. No real reason other than the town was located along the coastal road to Havana. The route would be one of the longest rides of my journey. The locals were telling me that the distance between the two cities was about 90km (55miles) with no major towns, only small villages in between. For about a third of the route, the road would pass through a nature reserve park called Topes de Collantes. The park contained some of the tallest mountains on the island as well as caves, rivers, falls, grottos, canyons, natural pools and supposedly quite a few mariposas (butterflies).   Knowing that there would not be any towns in between the two cities I filled my 3 liter water container and picked up some bread and bananas. I ate some bread …

Trinidad, Cuba - UNESCO Treasure or Tourist Trap? Day 3

I felt like I had seen all the museums, parks, markets and tourist attractions that I wanted to see in Trinidad. 
Honestly, I was getting tired of being approached on the streets by Jineteros (hustlers) encouraging me to buy things, eat things or take a tour. The Jineteros can be helpful if you are looking for accommodation, a restaurant, a tour, a souvenir or just about anything really. However, they can be overbearing at times. Some are polite. Some are very persistent. Some are pushy. And if a Jinetero introduces you to anyone, anyplace or anything there is a built in commission that increases the price for the consumer - you. I was finding it disheartening to engage in normal conversations with the locals because at some point in the conversation a "pitch" would eventually be put forward. 
Jinetero, "Are you enjoying your time in Cuba?" Me, "Yes, so far I'm having a good time." Jinetero, "Where are you visiting next?" Me, "Honestly…