Synopses & Reviews
Lynette Chiang fled a decent job, three-bedroom house, fast car, and nice bloke in Sydney and, armed with a poor sense of direction, set off to see the world on a folding bicycle. The Handsomest Man in Cuba is the tale of her three-month romp pedaling through Cuba and dealing with whatever comes her way - and just about everything does.
Hop onto Ms. Chiangs handlebars and enjoy a magical adventure in Castros Cuba, a journey that can only take place on two wheels and with an open heart. With the warm tropical breeze to our backs, we pedal into the lives of a medley of fascinating, sometimes handsome, always amusing charactersand none more so than Lynette herself.”
Randy Komisar, author of The Monk and the Riddle The only time youll put it down is when you finish it.”
Peter Sutherland, Australian Cyclist magazine "Set in a post-utopian Cuba, Lynette Chiang's astute narrative highlights the Cuban people's capacity, despite untenable circumstances and daily hardships, to preserve their irrepressible sense of humor, joie de vivre, and immense generosity of spirit--quintessential aspects of the Cuban character that transcend time and space, politics and history."Andrea O'Reilly Herrera, author of Cuba: "Idea of a Nation" Displaced and The Pearl of the Antilles
"Australian vagabond Chiangs travel memoir on Cuba works on several levels. For American adventure travelers, there is the excitement of traveling to a place your country basically forbids you to go. For solo female travelers, there are the pleasures and horrors (beware of flashers in the city of Cienfuegos) of exploring a place on your own terms. For cyclists, there is perhaps the challenge of bicycling Cubas long and varied terrain. Although Chiang sees fantastic sites, it is really the people she meets who provide her with her fondest memories. Average Cubans share their daily rations with her, welcome her into their homes or yards (for camping) for days, and basically show her a good time. But it is not all idyllic. Besides being assaulted in Cienfuegos, Chiang falls victim to petty thefts, harassing touts, price gouging, and the general oddness of Cubas version of tourism separation. Through it all, she keeps her good sense of humor and a positive outlook. Wonderfully literate, entertaining, and insightful; recommended for public libraries." [Originally published in Australia.Ed.] Lee Arnold, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
This is a book not just for bikies, not just for tourists, and not just for those with one of the usual axes to grind about Cuban and its regime. This is travel literature at its best.”
Rob van der Plas, publisher of Cycling Publishing
A wonderful reflection on the joys of cycling and seeing the world on a bicycle.”
Mark Mobius, author of Passports to Profits
This is one of the best on the road travel books of this generation.”
Martin Stevenson, The Launceston Examiner, Australia
In the glut of Cuban travel books, this one really stands out.”
Caroline Baum, The Sun Herald, Australia
A song of praise for the humanity and simple decency of Cubans.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
An engaging, witty account of the people, customs, food, and culture of Cuba framed by a fascinating approach to travel. With only a folding bicycle and a towable suitcase, Australian Lynette Chiang spent three months touring Cuba, eshewing tourist hotels and typical iteneraries in favor of an unpredictable day-to-day existence among ordinary citizens. She discovered a people who, despite great privation, are warm, generousand generally happy. Her narrative covers equally well the challenges of travel on two wheels and the surprises of life in the land of Fidel.Read more about Lynette at http://www.galfromdownunder.com/cuba/
About the Author
fled a decent job, three-bedroom house, fastish car, and nice bloke in Sydney, Australia, and--armed with a congenitally poor sense of direction--set off to see the world on a folding bicycle. She has traveled solo ever since, living and working in Britain, Ireland, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. Forbes.com named Chiang one of its exclusive Rugged Individualists.” She currently works as a customer evangelist and roving online content writer for Bike Friday, and she often is interviewed by the business press for her work in relationship marketing. Her latest cycling movie, Route 66 by Bicycle: Pedaling the Mother Road,
was produced in conjunction with Race Across America legend Lon Haldeman. Read more of Chiangs bedtime stories at www.galfromdownunder.com.
Table of Contents
(1) Forward by Joe Kurmaskie, aka the Metal Cowboy (2) Cuban Christmas (3) Dry spin (4) Heading west (5) Millennium bugs (6) Land of the mogote (7) The world's worst sailor (8) Cuba for beginners (9) La casa de Lolita (10) The Santiago hustle (11) The Sierra Maestra coast (12) The handsomest man in Cuba (13) Caught (14) The 55-cent hotel (15) A seemingly sacred place (16) Guantanamera (17) The last resort (18) The richest house in Cuba (19) Long enough in Trinidad (20) A loiter too far (21) Return to Havana (22) One last scoop (23) Home?