CUBA IMPRESSIONS: HAVANA, COUNTRYSIDE, SCUBA DIVING, AUGUST 17-26, 2017, by John Anthes
“Two weeks before the arrival of hurricane Irma, John Anthes experienced the trip-of-a-lifetime when he joined a “People-to-People Exchange” program in a scuba diving vacation to Cuba. This included a two day stay in downtown Havana, a bus ride across Cuba to the Aggressor I dive Boat, followed by a 6 day live-aboard scuba vacation to the Gardens of the Queen Marine Preserve.
The bus ride left wide-eyed-impressions of a country, in some ways, much like a transportation time warp to the 1950’s. Some residents, without access to classic cars, locally use horse-drawn carriages, farmers rely upon horse-drawn wagons, and travelers hold CUC’s overhead hoping for a ride to Havana on our bus. John noted one sad looking 1953 Chevrolet with a 1954(?) Dodge driver’s door somehow held in place.
If it works … then it’s good enough to get the job done…a testament to creative ingenuity.
The Aggressor I boat hosted our 8 member diving group to the scuba diving site in grand and modern style. We received several informative lectures on Cuba’s environmental efforts to preserve the pristine natural setting of the preserve. And we enjoyed access to 3 daytime dives each day and optional nighttime dives. The marine life was amazing and John achieved 100 lifetime dives during this vacation.
Oh, and the meals were incredible too.”
Old Town Havana – mp4
El Morro, Havana Harbor – mp4
Ellen Marks, journalist for the Albuquerque Journal, gave a presentation on Identity Theft.
The Dick Chavez Group (El Trio Alegre) performed Northern New Mexico music. And, we had a few couple who got out on the dance floor!
Our program was a presentation on the Bataan experience. It is being presented by Mr. Thomas Shumaker, PhD, of the New Mexico State Record Center and Archives.
The Glitz Quartet
These ladies love the sparkle of singing a cappella, and are members of Enchanted Mesa Show Chorus. They found the opportunity to sing together in a quartet in 2010. Bev Berardinelli sings baritone and likes tags which are the last few measures of a song. Singing bass is Denise King, who grew up hearing her mom Fran sing barbershop, and has competed as a baritone in many quartets. After many years of living overseas and performing with international choirs, lead singer Kathy Parnall continues to vacation in her favorite countries. Pat Devejian sings tenor, and has harmonized and danced her way into the hearts of everyone in our audiences. Glitz enjoys spreading the joy of harmonizing throughout Albuquerque for social or business occasions and celebrations!
Technology Retirees Economic Catalysts – TREC, an overview (.pdf)
Guardianships – Ms. Lorraine Mendiola from AAAPG (Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianships) provided an overview of the State’s current Guardianship System (new state legislation enacted this year).
Ms. Loretta Hall spoke to us about “New Mexico’s Contributions to Space Travel.” Her works include: “Space Pioneers: In Their Own Words,” “Out of this World: New Mexico’s Contributions to Space Travel,” “The Complete Space Buff’s Bucket List,” and “Miguel and Michelle Visit Spaceport America.” She had books available for sale at the meeting.
Annual Picnic (Indoors) – we had a lot of members attend our popular picnic. El Trio Alegre provided the music.
The following 2019 Slate of Officers was voted in:
President — Paul Hlava
Vice President/Programs — George Oltman
Secretary — Guylaine Pollock
Treasurer — Lionel Holguin
Membership — Pete Havey
Entertainment — Ellen Biernacki
Publicity/Newsletter — Connie DeFoe
Awards — Ken Deller
Calling — Barbara Desilets
Past President — John P. Anthes
Our speaker was be Eunice Salazar of the US Department of Labor, Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation. Ms. Salazar informed us about benefits provided under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA), which is available to DOE employees, its contractors and subcontractors.
The Sandia Singers entertained us with patriotic songs.