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Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba Paperback – Sep 1 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; New edition edition (Sept. 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792264223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792264224
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 14.6 x 21.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 422 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #399,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Road King on Aug. 1 2006
Format: Hardcover
This remains a great book, even after re-reading it years later. It ought not to be dismissed as an account of the author's mid-life crisis, and it remains a truthful, perceptive account of real life in Fidel's Cuba, as well as the sheltered perspective of the tourist (usually Canadian or Euro-trash equivalent).It is also a poignant story of the loss of love and the loss of redemption, wrapped up in a travelogue of considerable insight. Added Bonus: it's about motorcycles, too.
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Format: Hardcover
Mi Moto Fidel is a good story of Cuba and it's people, and, of course, Fidel.
The author, Christopher Baker, is a good observer and accurately portrays a nation awash in poverty thanks to Marxism run wild.
In reading the book, one becomes impressed with the staggering physical beauty of the place, almost as a metaphor for the wonderful humanity of the people of this caribbean emerald of an island. The Cubans are as he describes them: resilient, positive, generous and heroic in their survival against enormous economic degradation.
The book, though is troubling, and these troubles don't arise from either the "Moto" or from Fidel.
Mr. Baker's pomposity makes him, as the narrator and main participant in the work, a most unlikable protagonist. To him all tourists are obese, ignorant, rude and unwelcome. Spaniards, English, Americans, Germans and Canadians are all disparaged.
It seems as if Mr. Baker believes that he is the only non-Cuban entitled to visit the place.
Perhaps worse is Mr. Baker's role as a profligate participant in sexual imperialism. The most ethically bankrupt possible thing that a beneficiary of the developed economies can do is travel to a poor country and take advantage of the country's poverty by having sex with as many women as possible. Especially the young attractive ones.
And Mr. Baker seemingly indulges in this as often as he rides his "moto". He boffs in doorways, in hotel rooms, and as a guest in homes.
From his actions, Mr. Baker proves that he is not rich, he certainly isn't generous and from his website, he doesn't have movie star looks. The only reason that these women canoodle with him is for the meagre dollars he tosses around like manhole covers.
I have to conclude that despite the value of the depictions of the country and its people, this should be a do not read.
(...)
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Format: Paperback
While no expert on Cuba I have traveled to Cuba three times. The first with a large mixed group of singles to a package holiday in Varadero, the second for a solo 3 week backpacking trip from Havana to Santiago de Cuba (and places between) and the final trip with a couple of friends for 2 weeks in Havana. These trips took place from 1998 and 1999. During all 3 trips I used Christopher Baker's travel guide on Cuba by Moon Travel. I found this guide extremely accurate and very helpful.
Having discovered "Mi Moto Fidel" I was able to relive all of my previous experiences while enjoying Mr. Bakers. I can say that like his Travel guide, "Mi Moto Fidel" is spot on and a true account of what you may and can find in Cuba. The only thing I would like to add is I was fortunate to encounter a number of foreign travelers (French, German and Italian) similar to myself and my situation (back-backing and off the beaten path) who greatly enhanced my Cuban experience through, help, advice, shared experience and occasionally company.
I would recommend not only 'Mi Moto Fidel, Mr. Baker's Cuban Travel guide and most importantly, to get out of Varadero and see and experience the "real Cuba".
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book after reading that it won both the Lowell Thomas Award "Travel Book of the Year" and the North American Travel Journalist Associations' Grand Prize for Excellence. Figured that must mean something!
I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I was so enthralled that I read it in one sitting, although I wish I'd bought the hardback copy, which has colour photographs.
Baker is a fascinating writer with a tremendous ability to make you feel as if you're actually there, on the back on his motorcycle. There are two main themes to the story of his three-month journey, the primary purpose of which is to research a travel guidebook. The first is his exploration of Cuba's sexuality (one senses that the island's sensual ease actually puts the author - who is English - at ease with his own sexuality). Most prominent and interesting is his metaphorical political journey, which begins with his arriving in Cuba as a believer in the Revolution. The deeper he gets into Cuba and the deeper he develops his understanding, his early naive perspectives dissolve, to be replaced by a realization that Castro's communist revolution has been a highly destructive process, although Baker acknowledges the revolution's achievements and is fair-minded and has no obvious axe to grind (some of the comments by other reviewers about the author being too left-wing etc. seem churlish). The more he changes, the more Cubans open up to him and express their anger toward Castro and his government. The book really gets interesting when Baker has what he calls his "epiphany," and the secret police first appear. I won't give the ending away, but the final scene with the arrival of the secret police is the stuff of great movies.
Politics. Sex.
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