CLASS OF 1960 TRIP TO CUBA
by Philip Detjens
The Class of 1960 made history by being the first Princeton Class to hold a mini-reunion in Cuba (Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad) from October 20-27, 2012.
Many Class members remembered seeing Fidel Castro, after his forces overthrew then President Batista on December 31, 1958, when he came to Princeton to give a speech at the Woodrow Wilson School in April, 1959, in our Junior year. Others were involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion while serving in the Navy.
A list of Members of the Group of Thirty and the trip's itinerary follows:
Mr. James Beardsley
Mrs. Ellen Gibson
Buffalo, NY, US
Mr. James Bromley
Ms. Joan Bromley
Bryn Mawr, PA, US
Ms. Mary Ellen Daly
Shelter Island, NY
Mr. Philip Detjens
Sheffield, MA, US
Mr. Lee Fuller
New York, NY, US
Mr. Frederick Hilles
Ms. Jane Osgood
West Windsor, VT, US
Mr. Ronald Katsky
Los Angeles, CA, US
Mr. Peter Larr
Ms. Rosamond Larr
Rye, NY, US
Mr. Garland Lasater
Mrs. Mollie Lasater
Ft. Worth, TX, US
Mr. Paul Mecray
Mrs. Ella Mecray
Bryn Mawr, PA, US
Mr. Harold Medina
Mrs. Pamel Medina
Rose Valley, PA, US
Mr. Frank Montgomery
Mrs. Mary Montgomery
Edmonds, WA, US
Mr. Theodore Peyton
Mrs. Elizabeth Peyton
Princeton, NJ, US
Mrs. Georgeanne Rousseau
Mr. Jean Rousseau
Stockbridge, MA, US
Ms. Victoria Sorrell
New York, NY
The Hon. Paul Taylor
Mrs. Dorcas Taylor
Newport, RI, US
Mr. Peter Williamson
Bronxville, NY, US
Mrs. Linda Winn
Hollywood, FL, US
October 20, 2012
7AM -Meet in the Lobby of the Miami International Airport Hotel to receive travel documents. Rumors are that Fidel Castro has died. ( Later proved unfounded).
11 AM- Arrive at Jose Marti airport in Havana and check into Saratoga Hotel.
4 PM- Lecture by Princeton Professor Jorge de los Santos followed by rooftop reception and dinner at local restaurant, El Aljibe .Celebration of Princeton's football victory over previously undefeated Harvard, 29-24.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
AM- Lecture and walking tour of Old Havana- focusing on its four main squares-Plaza deArmas, Plaza de San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja, and Plaza de la Catedral.
Lunch at a paladar, La Monda Cubana.
PM- Private concert in the hall of a 17th century chapel with four singers accompanied by five musicians performing music from the middle ages to 19 century.
Dinner at a paladar, La Maraleja.
Monday, October 22, 2012
AM- View rehearsal of the Contemporary Dance Company of Cuba at Teatro National.
Tour the Musea de la Revolution which documents the founding of the current government.
Lunch at Dona Carmella.
PM- Trip to "The Alley", a two block area decorated by grafitti paintings.
Visit to the School of the Arts to see the unique architecture of its buildings and the art work of its students.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Morning lecture by a local professor on U.S. - Cuba relations.
Drive to the outskirts of Havana to tour Ernest Hemingway's house and see his fishing boat, Pilar.
Lunch followed by a tour of the University of Havana.
Evening- Reception and dinner at the Ludwig Foundation, an organization which assists young artists.
Performance at the Buena Vista Club.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Depart for Playa Giron, the landing site for the Bay of Pigs. Tour museum dedicated to the Cuban victory.
Lunch in Cienfuegos at La Union Restaurant.
Tour of the town square and then view the art works of students at the Graphic Society of Cienfuegos.
Check into the Jagua Hotel.
PM- Concert of Cantores de Cienfuegos Singers, a choir of twenty singers performing in a Museum Hall.
Dinner at a paladar, Villa Lagarto. Hurricane Sandy crossed Cuba just west of Guantanamo Bay during the night.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
AM- Drive to Trinidad. Hurricane Sandy is evident. Heavy showers.
Tour city square and visit Museo Romantico, a former residence.
Lunch at a paladar, Restaurant Sol.
PM- Drive to Havana. (four hours)
Friday, October 26, 2012
AM- Lecture by former Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister on "Current Cuba Reality".
Tour of the National Museum of Fine Arts given by the current Director.
Lunch at Hotel National.
PM- Tours of two artists studios.
Visit to Ceramics Museum followed by a reception and performance by a classical guitarist.
Farewell dinner at a paladar, San Christobal. Sang Old Nassau, gave the Tiger Cheer.
Saturday, October 27
Depart for the Airport at 8am. Fly back to Miami.
Jim Beardsley writes:
We all had a great time during our brief visit and learned a lot about the country which you could only understand by being there. It is indeed a third world country in many ways, but there seems to be a lot of pride among the inhabitants. Raul Castro is currently introducing bits and pieces of free enterprise and private ownership, but Cuba is still very much a socialist country.
I was a little skeptical about the food we would encounter, but found it to be one of the best parts of the trip. One reason is the fact that the government realizes that tourism is perhaps their most important product, so they treat the visitors very well while the typical Cuban gets along on pennies for food. One example of the emerging private enterprise is private restaurants which are usually located in former mansions and compare favorably with some of the best eating establishments in the US. We had several of our meals in those locations.
Pictures from the trip
The first two pictures are from the party on the last night in the bar of the Hotel Saratoga. Note the various enthusiastic embraces of large bottles.
Click on any image to see a larger one.
Marguerite Vera of the University’s Class Affairs Committee was also on the trip, and has a large collection of pictures here .