Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling through Castro's Cuba

Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling through Castro's Cuba

by Christopher P. Baker
     
 

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Equally at Home on the Elegant Avenidas of Havana and the washboard trails of the Cuban countryside, Christopher Baker's gaudy red motorcycle proved to be the perfect vehicle for touring our nearby unknown neighbor. The bike drew stares, broke the ice, and made friends for Baker throughout his three-month, 7,000-mile Cuban ramble. As "a single male on a motorcycle,…  See more details below

Overview

Equally at Home on the Elegant Avenidas of Havana and the washboard trails of the Cuban countryside, Christopher Baker's gaudy red motorcycle proved to be the perfect vehicle for touring our nearby unknown neighbor. The bike drew stares, broke the ice, and made friends for Baker throughout his three-month, 7,000-mile Cuban ramble. As "a single male on a motorcycle, loose on a libertine isle," Baker felt free to pursue -- and chronicle -- a wide range of adventures. His faithful moto exposed him to a revealing cross section of society: From farmers and fishermen to habaneros chafing under Castro's faltering rule, Baker explores the tensions simmering below the surface of a beautiful island gripped by poverty and poised for political transition. Mi Moto Fidel is an exotic escapade that fires on all cylinders.

Editorial Reviews

Lowell Thomas
This is a wonderful adventure book...a meditation on philosophy, politics, and possibilites of physical love. It has the depth of a novel and the feeling of a great love story.
Society of American Travel Writers Foundation
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Often hilarious, sometimes hair-raising, this engaging travelogue documents Baker's journey across Cuba astride a gaudy BMW motorcycle. The thrust of the book is relatively simple: child of the New Left grows up, takes monstrous icon of capitalism to former ideological paradise, locals ooh and ah at the chrome behemoth and the freedom it supposedly represents, writer becomes disenchanted, denounces socialism. Throw in enough skirt chasing by the 41-year-old Baker (a travel and natural science writer) to elicit images of a Yorkshire Mickey Spillane, and you've got an entertaining and thought-provoking, if frequently meandering, tale. Baker encounters an extraordinary cross-section of Cubans, including Fidelistos loyal to el barbudo (a nickname for Castro) and dissenters who speak of betrayal and corruption. Baker's own somewhat "pro-triunfo" beliefs change as he slowly cracks el manto (literally, "the mantle" of ideology and government propaganda) and sees what many believe to be the true product of Castro's regime. Baker's ideological revelation is compromised by his basing his transformation almost entirely on one conversation with a formerly middle-class couple, and by his inability to convince the reader that Cuban corruption has been more devastating than the U.S. economic stranglehold. His dabbling in ideology mars the book slightly; still, if the reader accepts Baker's treatises as nothing more than amateur musings, this account of a marvelously eccentric trip remains a very engaging read. Eight pages of full-color photos. (Feb.) Forecast: The clever cover, in reds and golds, will have browsers lifting this off shelves to see what it's all about. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
Political and governmental conflicts between the United States and Cuba have long limited Americans' exposure to life in Cuba, but recent adjustments in relations have resulted in more contact and increased awareness of this enigmatic Caribbean country. Veteran travel writer Baker had completed two travel guides on Cuba (Cuba Handbook and Havana Handbook) but wanted to write a more personal narrative on his experiences researching Cuba. Following the example of Cuban revolutionary leader Che Guevara, who in 1952 traveled through northern Argentina on a motorcycle, Baker chose the same mode of transportation. Three months of exploring via moto led to this delightful account of the people, life, and politics of Cuba, providing the reader with a good feel for the diverse character of Cuban society. This book will be of interest to travel collections. Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
San Francisco Chronicle
Baker presents a layered, lively look at a complex society....(He) is a vivid writer who turns in sharply observed portraits of...people he meets along the road...engaged and engaging....deeper and richer than the standard travelogue....

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780792264224
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
Publication date:
09/28/2002
Series:
Adventure Press Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.80(d)

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