See black and white preview on bit.ly/MavCubanWay , color images on bit.ly/MavCubCol .A Maverick Cuban Way
is a historically-informed travel memoir, which describes Mary Jane Walker's three-week visit to Cuba at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.
Mary Jane spoke to many local people, staying in casas particulares (guest-houses) and travelling on local buses. The book begins with a particularly strong and well-informed historical chapter, which sets the scene for more contemporary descriptions that follow.
Containing some guidance for travellers, but not a guidebook, A Maverick Cuban Way describes Mary Jane's journey from Havana around the island, via the beach resort of Varadero; the French-founded city of Cienfuegos; Playa Girón, beside the historically notorious but ecologically significant Bay of Pigs; the old-fashioned town of Trinidad; the city of Bayamo, honoured in Cuba's national anthem La Bayamesa; Fidel's 1950s hideout in the Sierra Maestra; Pico Turquino, the highest peak in Cuba; Santiago de Cuba, the second city of the island; Guantánamo, the site of the American base, a Cuban town and the Guantánamera; Baracoa, a once-isolated coastal town with a strong Haitian influence; and Camagüey, an inland city of the plains.
About the Author
Mary Jane Walker is a writer of historically well-informed travel memoirs. She has been described as a younger, female Bill Bryson, though with her own unique voice. A Maverick Cuban Way is the third book in a series of eight. Mary Jane always wanted to visit Cuba, an island which conjures up images of revolution, romance and roaming back in time. Being a Maverick, it is just so fitting to go to Cuba, an island which rejected America's way of doing things. So too did the author's home country New Zealand, in a smaller way: it rejected visits from nuclear-powered submarines (Mary Jane at age 15 kicked one of these) and vessels carrying nuclear weapons, and declared itself nuclear free, and was excluded from a military alliance because of that. Mary Jane travelled the whole island in three weeks and loved it. She was in a beachside restaurant when Harry Belafonte turned up; went to the Sierra Maestro Mountains where Fidel hid as a guerrilla for 18 months; and climbed Pico Turquino, the highest peak in Cuba. She met and spoke with taxi drivers, academics and locals from all over Cuba. Though the country is poor many are happy, and do not want to see a society with a major income divide re-emerge.