Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 32
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Stuck in perpetual Meh
    Posts
    35,390

    "I need you to take this to Cuba" - a memory

    Hey guys, been a while but I need to vomit this out of my brain so thanks for indulging me.

    It's 2006. The world just found out that Fidel Castro is sick, possibly mortally so, and coincidentally the Non-Aligned Movement (basically the "3rd World") Summit will be in Havana Cuba in 4 weeks. I am the client services cameraman for Reuters and there is a huge interest to go down there to cover the summit to see if Fidel speaks, but getting a TV satellite signal out of Cuba is nearly impossible since the government controls the only (I kid you not) Communications array on the Island that is not on our base in Guantanamo. This satellite dish is on the roof of the Ministry of Information, which just happens to be only 1.5 blocks from the Reuters Cuba Bureau.

    The Reuters Washington Bureau was (is?) the center for their TV operations in N. America and the Caribbean. The TV Bureau Chief Victor Antonie decides to send me to Havana with a couple hundred pounds of video and audio cable to help wire our bureau to the state run satellite uplink. Turns out the minister of Information was a buddy of his from their days in Israel, Victor as Jerusalem Bureau Chief and the Minister (name escapes me) was the Cuban Ambassador.

    Name:  Victor.jpg
Views: 1383
Size:  10.6 KB

    Victor asked me to stop at a liquor store before leaving or Duty free along the way to pick the minister up a bottle of Bourbon as a thank you. I went to my local shop and got one of my personal favorites.

    Getting to Cuba before the Obama thaw was surprisingly easy. Direct flight to Cancun. Leave the airport getting an entry stamp, then turning around, walking back in and to the Cubana Airlines desk, and buying a R/T ticket to Havana. They gave you your visa (included) as an insert to your passport, not a stamp. Once in Havana (the flight alone is worth a whole nother post) I got pulled out of the customs line and escorted by some dudes to a separate area where my heavy reels were waiting for me, then they drove me to the Hotel Nacional where I was staying. Nice to have friends in high places in dictatorships, I guess. The Cuba Bureau Chief was there waiting for me, had a flunky take the gear, and smirked at me asking if I'd brought the whiskey. He then told me the Minister would meet me on the veranda in an hour.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	455490_ImageGalleryLightboxLarge.jpg 
Views:	119 
Size:	329.1 KB 
ID:	366078

    I got freshened up and changed into "not shorts and a Hawaiian shirt," then met the minister, nervous as hell (shit, I'm just a camera guy!) and presented him with a bottle of Woodford Reserve. The man, I forgot his name but he was the FUCKING MINISTER OF INFORMATION looked at me long and hard and said "Eso no es Jack Daniels" ... and I started sweating. Why had nobody told me? Did I just ruin everything? Am I gonna get hauled off and questioned? I stammered an apology and something along the lines of "I hope you'll like this as well."

    Long story short I ended up smoking cigars and getting hammered with the Cuban Minister and his hot ass translator thanks to Victor Antonie. When I told him the story when I got back to DC he almost fell down laughing.

    I found out today that Victor, 56 years old and my friend, died in his hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa from a heart attack.

    Coda: That minister gave me a bottle of Havana Club rum as a thank you. This very bottle.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Havana Club 15.jpg 
Views:	118 
Size:	103.0 KB 
ID:	366079

    I nursed it for 15 years. I finished it tonight. Rest in peace, you wonderful, quirky, exceptional man. I have and always will miss you. You were a Mensch.
    Last edited by Tippster; 03-06-2021 at 07:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    写道
    Posts
    12,648
    Is this the same trip in which the plane cabin filled with smoke? Good times, Bro!

    Friends come and go, and yet sometimes one meets them under the strangest of circumstances, eh?
    ˇÓrale, vato!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    5,618
    Amazing story. Perfect timing nursing that bottle so you could then raise a few final toasts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    in the trench
    Posts
    12,334
    Yes, great story! Sorry about your friend Tip. He sounded like a mix of equal parts Bond and Bourdain

    Sent from my SM-G950W using TGR Forums mobile app

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    General Sherman's Favorite City
    Posts
    23,981
    Great story. RIP to your friend.
    I still call it The Jake.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    16,060
    Thanks for a thread that belongs in the PR. Interesting life you lead.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Wasatch Back: 7000'
    Posts
    10,903
    Thanks for sharing. I would have liked to have seen naked pics of the hot Latina. I bet that Havana Club was an outstanding way to commiserate the loss of your friend.
    “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”
    ― Milton Friedman

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Stuck in perpetual Meh
    Posts
    35,390
    Quote Originally Posted by Viva View Post
    Is this the same trip in which the plane cabin filled with smoke? Good times, Bro!
    The very one. You have a good memory. Thankfully it wasn't smoke, just fog from a very rickety AC system in an old Antonov plane.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    I smell poutine!!!
    Posts
    13,723
    So I take it the Minister liked Woodford Reserve too?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    5,073
    I'm sorry for your loss and thanks for sharing the story. Any chance the Minister was this guy?

    https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rami..._Men%C3%A9ndez

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dystopia
    Posts
    12,899
    Quote Originally Posted by bennymac View Post
    Amazing story. Perfect timing nursing that bottle so you could then raise a few final toasts.
    This.

    15 years on a bottle. Well played Tipps!
    RIP to your compadre
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”
    Hunter S. Thompson

    “I got the degree of Stamp-licker from the Bezuzus Mail-order University”
    Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    At the beach
    Posts
    14,986
    That was a good story Tipp. Sorry about your friend. He passed way to early.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    It's Full of Stars....
    Posts
    3,570
    Tip this you????

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	CF6BB4B3-621A-464A-A6B7-CBB45C6989B9.jpg 
Views:	61 
Size:	541.1 KB 
ID:	366106

    Great story, RIP to your friend and vibes to you.
    What we have here is an intelligence failure. You may be familiar with staring directly at that when shaving. .
    -Ottime

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    I smell poutine!!!
    Posts
    13,723
    How does someone get to be bureau chief as young as he was 15 years ago and been one long enough in multiple places to be friends with the Minister???

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    32,884
    Sounds fun, Tipp. I take it you poured one out......into your mouth.
    Prolly won't get another bottle of that stuff soon.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Alta
    Posts
    1,358
    Excellent story. DEP Victor. Loved drinking Havana club when I lived in Spain. Hard to drink any other rum after being exposed to that food stuff.


    Sent from my iPad using TGR Forums

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    The Mayonnaisium
    Posts
    8,350
    Awesome. RIP.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    in a freezer in Italy
    Posts
    2,357
    RIP Victor. 56, shit. That sucks.

    Thanks for sharing Tipp

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    14,736
    Being a Bureau Chief sounds way more fun than cia. Really sorry to hear about your friend. Sometimes shit just hits for no reason. The memories we experience together though are what makes this life a true endeavor.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Down by the river, Terrace, BC
    Posts
    3,895
    Great story and what a fitting way to be able to honour your friend's memory. He sounds like one of the good ones man.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Behind the Zion Curtain
    Posts
    3,904
    I would agree with Gary, hope to see you sometime this season Tipp.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    PRB
    Posts
    25,513
    Great story, thanks for sharing. RIP to your friend.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Stuck in perpetual Meh
    Posts
    35,390
    Thanks guys. Over the years (decades) I have used this silly ski forum of ours to drive the bats out of the attic. You are an amazing sounding board and despite my being far less active these days I still treasure this place.
    Quote Originally Posted by jono View Post
    I'm sorry for your loss and thanks for sharing the story. Any chance the Minister was this guy?

    https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rami..._Men%C3%A9ndez
    Doesn't look like the guy I remember. I wasn't allowed to take pictures so ...

    Quote Originally Posted by riser3 View Post
    How does someone get to be bureau chief as young as he was 15 years ago and been one long enough in multiple places to be friends with the Minister???
    He was the Bureau chief for TV, not the whole Bureau, but Reuters has always had a nose for talent (or suckers.) The dude had donated his pound of flesh in Jerusalem and then Baghdad during the lead-up and Shock and Awe so the bosses recognized that.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobMc View Post
    I would agree with Gary, hope to see you sometime this season Tipp.
    I'll be there April 9th. This time I'm going to bring my camp chair for the parking spot.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    The Garden State
    Posts
    3,510
    Rip Victor. What an experience. Thanks for sharing mang.

    A few questions though. Can you expand on the translator? A camera guy with no pics of the smoke show??
    Do you even own a non Hawaiian shirt??

    Hope you’re well tipp, long time no speak!


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    1,601
    ^^ Ha on the Tip in non Hawaiian shirts. Probably 80% of the time we've hung out he's been wearing one, including as part of mid winter ski attire

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •