Captain Hank Bracker Quotes

Quotes tagged as "captain-hank-bracker" (showing 1-30 of 131)
“History abounds in and around New York City, however much of it is buried in the concrete of newer construction. The downtown financial district from Battery Park to Wall Street is such a historical district. Trinity Church at Wall Street and Broadway and the Churchyard surrounding it is where Alexander Hamilton and his wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton along with other notables are buried. The story of Alexander Hamilton is an important part of New York City’s history and has become a Broadway musical.
At the top of the Palisades in Weehawken is a small park known as the Dueling Grounds. This Revolutionary War site, overlooking New York City to the east, and what had been Half Moon Bay to the north and directly beneath it, is where Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the United States, was mortally wounded by a single shot from Aaron Burr’s dueling pistol. He died the following day in Greenwich Village at the home of his friend William Bayard Jr.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Seawater One"

“During the mid-1930’s Jorge's father arrived in Camagüey, looking for work. Being single, he asked some of the locals where he could find a brothel with some “Fun Girls.” After getting explicit directions, he started walking along the winding streets of the city, but the maze proved more confusing than he had expected. So, instead of finding the brothel, he wound up staring at the gates of the cemetery. He was at the dead center of town!”
Captain Hank Bracker, "The Exciting Story of Cuba"

“The Castro rebellion had its start on July 26, 1953, with an attack on the Moncada Barracks, in Santiago de Cuba. The military success of this raid was limited, but other skirmishes followed, brought on primarily by young people and university students. A strategy of terror on the part of the Batista régime followed, but this brutal behavior backfired and led to the signing by forty-five organizations, in an open letter supporting the revolutionary July 26 Movement. From his encampment high in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, on the eastern end of the island, Fidel Castro and his rebel troops dug in and began a campaign that would eventually lead to Batista’s defeat.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“In 1898 the clouds of war between Spain and the United States accumulated over Cuba. President McKinley decided to deploy the battleship USS Maine to Havana, to insure the safety of Americans. As a backup, other ships were deployed to Key West and many other hot spots around the world involving Spain. Most Americans allied themselves with the Cuban people, and identified their movement with our American Revolutionary War. The arrival of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor with only 18 hours of advanced warning was contrary to diplomatic convention. At 9:40 p.m. on February 15, 1898, a massive explosion sank the ship while she was at anchor and took the lives of 268 sailors. Although the cause of the explosion was never proven to be sabotage, and was most likely caused by a smoldering fire in one of the ship’s coal bunkers, “Remember the Maine, To Hell with Spain!” became an American battle cry. What was termed “yellow journalism” had fired up the American public so much, that on April 11, 1898, President McKinley asked Congress for authority to send troops to Cuba to support the Cuban people in their revolt against Spain. The situation spun out of control when Spain declared war on the United States on April 23, 1898, and in turn, Washington declared war on Spain two days later.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“Investigations revealed that two Venezuelan nationals, Freddy Lugo and Hernán Ricardo Lozano, who had been employed by Luis Posada Carriles, planted the bombs that destroyed a Cuban airliner. The men admitted to the crime and confessed that they were acting under Luis Posada’s orders. During the ensuing investigation, explosives, weapons and a radio transmitter were discovered at Posada’s private detective agency, in Venezuela. Posada was arrested and jailed in Venezuela. Freddy Lugo and Hernán Ricardo Lozano were sentenced to 20-year prison terms.
It was later learned that Posada was overheard saying, “We are going to hit a Cuban airplane and Orlando has the details.” Posada was tried and while awaiting a verdict escaped from prison once again. Apparently a sizeable bribe was paid to his guards and other authorities making it possible to buy his way out dressed as a priest. Once out he fled from Venezuela to Panama and then to the United States. It was only after his return to the United States and he was assigned to Nicaragua, as a deputy to Félix Rodríguez that his CIA connection became apparent. Félix Rodríguez was the CIA Operative who helped capture “Che” Guevara in the Bolivian highlands.
After an investigation of Posada’s background by the press it became apparent that Posada was responsible for 41 bombings during the Contra conflict. By his own admission, he also planned numerous attacks against Cuba. In 1997, it was discovered that Posada was involved in a series of terrorist bombings in Cuba, with the intent of disrupting the country’s fledgling tourist industry.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "The Exciting Story of Cuba"

“My mother worked at the Five Corners Bakery, on the southwest corner of Journal Square. The Five Corners Bakery is now long gone. However, celebrities including Frank Sinatra sometimes came in to buy pastries for their cast and crew. At the end of the day, she sometimes brought home the leftover cakes or traded them for theater tickets, which made my brother and me happy. The original Five Corners Bakery at 591 Summit Avenue has changed hands a few times throughout the years, and has now been renamed the Red Ribbon Bakeshop. As such, I understand it enjoys the same excellent reputation the Five Corners Bakery did so many years ago.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Seawater One"

“It was hard for me to believe that I had graduated from High School the week before and was now a crewmember on a Dutch ship. This was my first job aboard ship and now I found myself heading down the Hudson River, past the Statue of Liberty. There wasn’t much time for sightseeing since the dinner chimes had been rung and the few passengers we had, were coming into the dining room. No one had explained my duties but I watched the other stewards and followed suit. I must have been a fast learner since amazingly enough all went well, and before I knew it the dining room was empty and it was cleanup time. I’m certain that having worked in my uncle’s restaurants helped but I’m glad I survived without any mishaps. I knew that tomorrow would go even smoother now that I understood the routine.
I really don’t know if getting a job aboard a foreign ship was easier in the “50’s” or was it that the ship needed another steward and I was willing to be a strike breaker? No one on the ship mentioned the strike and everyone treated me as just another member of the crew. Mostly everyone aboard spoke Dutch and amazingly enough I understood them. Dutch being a Germanic language was very similar to the German spoken in the lowlands, which included Hamburg. It didn’t take long before I was answering and then conversing with the crew…. Although I was on the bottom rung of the ladder I felt right at home. My bunk was at the top of a three bunk stack in the crew’s quarters, high up against the chain locker. The bathroom, called the “head” in English, didn’t have toilets or urinals. Instead I had to perfect my aim as I balanced myself over a hole in the deck. Fortunately there were places for my feet and handholds to help me stabilize myself in this balancing act. With no partitions for modesty I soon lost my inhibitions and became deft at this. At least they furnished the paper and considering it all, life was good!”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Seawater One"

“The Napoleon of Temperance” or “Father of Prohibition,” activist Neal S. Dow helped to construct the “Maine Law” of 1851, outlawing the use of alcohol for reasons other than mechanical or medicinal purposes. He was the mayor of the city when “The Portland Rum Riot” broke out, leading to the militia shooting into the crowds. One person was killed and seven wounded when the people demanded to know why there was rum stored in the City Hall. Early in the American Civil War, on November 23, 1861, former mayor Dow was commissioned as a Colonel in the 13th Maine Infantry. On April 28th of the following year, he received a commission as Brigadier General in the Union Army. His service included commanding two captured Confederate forts near New Orleans and fighting in the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana. During this skirmish he was wounded and later captured. General Dow was traded and gained his freedom 8 months later from General William H. F. Lee, the son of Robert E. Lee.

Neal S. Dow died on October 2, 1897, and was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Portland. His home, the Neal S. Dow house built in 1829, was used as a stop for slaves on the “Maine Underground Railway” and is located at 714 Congress Street in Portland. The historic building is now the home of the Maine Women's Christian Temperance Union.”
Captain Hank Bracker, Salty & Saucy Maine: Sea Stories from Castine

“On August 12, 1933, Machado fled Cuba with ABC terrorists shooting at his airplane as it prepared to take off from the runway, leaving Cuba without any continuity of leadership. A smooth transfer of authority to the next administration became impossible in Havana.
American envoy, Sumner Welles stepped into the vacuum and encouraged Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada to accept the office of Provisional President of Cuba. Céspedes was a Cuban writer and politician, born in New York City, son of Carlos Manual de Céspedes del Castillo who was a hero of the Cuban War of Independence. Wearing a spotlessly clean, crisp white suit, Céspedes was installed as the Provisional President of Cuba, on what was his 62nd birthday.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "The Exciting Story of Cuba"

“As my cab rolled up to the front of the magnificent white colonial building with black shutters, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful setting. The grass was perfectly cut, leaving perfectly aligned traces of the mower’s blades. The landscaping was immaculate, with freshly planted seasonal flowers artistically clustered about. It had tan and brown tiles on the walkway around the building and looked impressive, as a wide path led up to the front door. The large American flag flying from a tall flagpole, and the emblem identifying the building as a United States Consulate, left little doubt but that I had arrived at the right place.
There were no guards, and when I entered the building from the bright sunshine, my eyes had difficulty focusing. I could barely make out the reception desk on the other side of the lobby. Knowingly, a beautiful olive-skinned, dark-haired girl sat there laughing. Once my eyes adjusted, her laughter turned into a delightful, fetching smile. I didn’t know what to expect when she greeted me, but I noticed that she spoke English with a French accent. Wasn’t this a little piece of the United States? Her accent threw me, but I was cool about it and pretended not to notice. “Hi,” I said. “I’m here to get some...”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“In 1960, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked into an idealistically-driven Cold War, pitting the Capitalistic West against the Communistic East. Cuba, unable to be self-sufficient, had to pick a side. With the United States putting economic pressure onto the relatively small country, Castro did the only thing his pride would allow. Voicing disdain for his neighbor to the north, Castro proclaimed that his ideological views paralleled those of the USSR. Meeting with the Soviet Premier Anastas Mikoyan, Castro agreed to provide the USSR with food and sugar, in return for a monetary infusion amounting to a $100 million loan, as well as industrial goods, crude oil and fertilizers. Castro’s first public admission that his revolution was socialistic was during his speech honoring the people killed in the air strikes of April 15, 1961, during the Bay of Pigs operation. The Cuban government then took over all the banks, except two Canadian ones.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "The Exciting Story of Cuba"

“We both enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant and talked until after midnight, leaving only when the staff made it clear that they wanted to close.The next day after breakfast and a reluctant goodbye, I caught the morning train to Hamburg, Germany. Amsterdam had been bombed by the Nazis at the very beginning of the war, destroying about a square kilometer in the central section of the city. The surrounding infrastructure had also been bombed and getting from place to place was not easy. Many bridges had been destroyed, and getting around took much longer than it should have, but people took it in their stride and were patient. The train to Germany was pulled by an old steam locomotive, which chugged through the Dutch lowlands and typical picturesque communities. Looking around I saw little or no signs of war damage in these rural areas. It was not until the train reached the border, that the horrors of World War II became apparent.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Seawater One"

“There was no mistaking it, in the 1950’s Liberia proudly, reflected its American roots. Flaunting their power, the palatial homes near Monrovia, owned by the wealthy Americo-Liberians, stood out when compared to the hovels most Liberians had to live in. Although they showed their wear, they were direct copies of the many antebellum Southern Mansions of the Deep South in America. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, these somewhat rundown but grand buildings looked strangely out of place. The best visual description of Liberia would be a low-priced remake of the film Gone With The Wind, having the lead parts taken by Americo-Liberians and the rest played by the indigenous tribal natives. The upper-crust of Liberian society continued imitating the attire and gentile customs of the pre-Civil War era in the American South. In the mid 1950's, Liberia had all the trappings of an American colony stuck in the distant past.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“Being constantly active made time fly, and so it didn’t take long before the day of departure came. With the last of everything aboard, we set sail just as many did before us. We were among those that continued the tradition of... “they that go down to the sea in ships” and we were very aware that this tradition rested on our shoulders.
On January 4, 1953, with the sound of three short blasts on the ship’s whistle, we backed away from the pier. This ship was unlike most ships and we all noticed a definite difference in her sounds and vibrations. At that time, most American vessels were driven by steam propulsion that relied on superheating the water. The reciprocating steam engines, with their large pistons, were the loudest as they hissed and wheezed, turning a huge crankshaft. Steam turbines were relatively vibration free, but live steam was always visible as it powered the many pumps, winches, etc. Steam is powerful and efficient, but can be dangerous and even deadly. Diesel engines were seldom used on the larger American ships of that era, and were not considered cost or energy efficient.
The TS Empire State was a relatively quiet ship since she only used steam power to drive the turbines, which then spun the generators that made the electricity needed to energize the powerful electric motors, which were directly geared to turn the propeller shafts. All in all, the ship was nearly vibration free, making for a smooth ride.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“Although Castine had been overrun by many different nations at various times throughout the years, with frequently shifting boundaries, by the 1760’s Castine had become a permanent settlement. Within 16 years of British rule, the town grew to approximately twenty homes on the south side of the Bagaduce Peninsula.
In 1779, during the “American War of Independence,” the British Royal Navy sent a detachment of troops to Castine. British General Francis McLean entered Castine Harbor and landed troops, renaming the settlement New Ireland. These soldiers captured and held Castine by digging a canal, which cut the town off from the mainland, making it an island. They also built an earthen fortification on the heights of what was the Bagaduce Peninsula, which they named Fort George after the English King.
Since that time, unrest has continued, as the sons of Maine have fought valiantly in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Vietnamese War, and the Middle Eastern Wars.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“Little heard of, Dakar with a population of over a million people is the capital and largest city of Senegal. Counting the surrounding area, the population would go well over 2,000,000. This would be our last landing for fuel, before our arrival in Liberia. Our DC-6 took a long turn over the Atlantic and made a slow decent to the runway of the “Aéroport international de Dakar” just north of Dakar. The Portuguese founded Dakar in 1444, as a base for the export of slaves. Dakar came under French rule in 1872 and was the capital of the Mali Federation for a year after 1959. On August 20, 1960, it became the capital of Senegal. It is here that the sand dunes of the North African desert, gives way to the dense tropical rain forests of Equatorial Africa.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“I was never an Eagle Scout, but I did become a Cub Scout and learned how to salute by bringing my index and middle fingers together and touching my forehead just above my right eyebrow. With the other fingers curled around touching each other in the palm of my hand, I could snap a smart salute and did so whenever, or not, the occasion arose. Evening meetings were held in the parish hall of the Lutheran Church, within walking distance of home. My uniform was second hand and already had most of the required patches sewn onto it. It was quite worn and had a faded look, which suited me just fine. It gave the illusion that I had been around a while, and wasn’t just the tenderfoot that I really was.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Seawater One"

“Prior to my first voyage at sea, my father advised me to always get to know the cooks. Sometimes I’d step in and wash pots and pans or help lift a heavy case of something. It worked on my first voyage and still did now. Many times I’d help carry boxes of food and store their contents in the pantry. So after dropping a few hints, the cooks did me a favor and put out a box containing milk, butter, cocoa, sugar and flour. This acquisition was for the rich chocolate brownies that Ann would make for me to bring back to the ship. They must have been the most delicious brownies since everyone, including the cooks, expected me to bring them some. When I got to the galley, I could see the box they had prepared for me sitting on a counter, but I was looking through a heavy wire mesh securing the area, and the only access door had one of the big brass government locks on it. For a fleeting moment, I thought that I would not be able to get the precious ingredients that were so near and yet inaccessible, but it didn’t take long for me to figure out that I could climb over the top where a section of the mesh was missing. It took some gymnastics, but I was young and agile enough to get in and out with the box, without leaving any evidence of the entry. When I think of some of the chances I took for the most ridiculous reasons, I’m surprised that I ever made it to graduation, but everyone counted on me to deliver the brownies and I wasn’t about to let them down. I later found out that the cooks purposely left the galley unlocked for me, but then someone on the security watch took it upon themselves to lock it. Who knows?”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“Marita Lorenz, born on August 18, 1939, in Bremen, Germany, was best known for her undercover work with the CIA. She was the daughter of Captain Heinrich Lorenz, master of the S/S Bremen IV, a German passenger ship, and her mother, an American actress, was related to Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Arriving in Havana on her father’s ship in 1959, she met Fidel who talked about improving the Cuban tourist business. It was obvious that he was taken by the beautiful 19-year-old brunette, and upon hearing that she was fluent in multiple languages, asked if she would translate some letters for him. She happily agreed and although continuing on to New York, she was persuaded to return to Havana to do the translations. When Castro arrived in her room, he revealed his true motives, which at the time repelled her. The next day when Castro reappeared things were vastly different.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "The Exciting Story of Cuba"

“Sometimes just to see what was happening, my father would drive to the airport. Newark Airport was the first major airport serving the greater New York area. It was opened for traffic on October 1, 1928, on 68 acres of reclaimed marshland next to the Passaic River. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey later took it over from the Army Air Corps in 1948 and started a major improvement program. Driving by and seeing activity from the road, we drove to where Eastern Airlines had a shiny new DC-3 on display, and as luck would have it, it was open to the public. It was an exciting moment when I boarded this aircraft and discovered that it was first constructed in 1934, the same year I was born. An example of modern technology, it was the first modern airliner and the forerunner of commercial aviation.
It would still be years before I would learn to fly an airplane, but for now, things could not get much better. On our way back to Jersey City, we drove over the Pulaski Skyway, one of the first elevated highways in the country. The United States was trying to crawl out of the worst depression ever and government projects, backed by stimulus money, were everywhere. The Tennessee Valley Authority was building dams to run hydroelectric generators in the South, and big projects like Boulder Dam were being built out West along the Colorado River. The nation’s electrical grid was expanding by leaps and bounds and highway construction projects with new bridges were being built. The United States was growing once again, and I was there to see it!”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Seawater One"

“During the early hours of April 12, 1980, which for all practical purposes looked no different than any other hot and humid morning in Monrovia. Select members of Liberia’s National Defense Force awoke early and quietly made their way to the small garden in the back of the Presidential Palace on Ashmond Street. Within minutes President Tolbert and twenty-six of his staff were murdered by the rebels called the “People's Redemption Council,”
There are differing stories as to the time and manner of the President’s death; however it is believed that he was disemboweled by Samuel Doe, a member of the Krahn tribe, while asleep in the Executive Mansion. Another report stated that Tolbert was shot and stabbed by an American CIA operative. The First Lady, Tolbert's wife Victoria, wrote in her autobiography that she saw a masked man with a white hand, stabbing her late husband. Because of this evidence it was speculated by many that “white" mercenaries working for the CIA had been behind Doe’s actions. However, Boima Fahnbulleh, a minisiter of Doe’s cabinet, later testified that “the Americans did not support the coup d'état led by Mr. Doe.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“Once, while at my uncle’s farm my father took me for a ride on my uncle’s buckboard. Not knowing any better, my father took the bridle off of the horse to give him a break. It seemed reasonable to me, but any farmer will tell you that’s not what he should have done. Thinking that he was free and then realizing that he wasn’t, the horse bolted, dragging the wagon down a path and then through a stone quarry where the buckboard was reduced to kindling wood. After my uncle found out what had happened, things were not quite the same for some time to come. Fortunately, the horse survived with only a few scratches but the buckboard was beyond repair and poor Pop never lived down this occurrence. I guess that he wasn’t much of an equestrian either.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Seawater One"

“On my walks to the village, I got to know some of the villagers a little better. It didn’t take very long before they became friendlier and so I took the opportunity to stop and chat with them. Since I had many of their children in school we had a mutual interest but I still couldn’t get used to their immodest bathroom practices. Once while talking to a young man and his new bride, he felt the sudden urge to relieve himself. Not wanting to interrupt the conversation he simply turned his back on us and urinated directly onto the pavement, never skipping a word! I soon discovered that it wasn’t just here, but without very many public restrooms available, it was customary for people to do so in many parts of Europe, during that time.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Suppresed I Rise"

“I considered myself a little too old to have a babysitter but the girl who looked after me was playful as well as beautiful! At what age does a boy start noticing the opposite sex? Well, I didn’t mind Tiffany’s attention and always enjoyed when she looked after me! In turn, I could not keep my eyes off of her. In 1949, she married Raymond, who had been a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy during the Second World War. In time, they had a son whom they named after his father. Young Raymond unfortunately was later killed in an auto accident. The lesson I learned from this was that we are all mortal and that terrible things can happen to good people, or more directly, “Shit happens!”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Seawater One"

“Captain Hank Bracker’s book, Salty and Saucy Maine, should have been titled Salty and Saucy Hank Bracker. Yup, Hank’s stories are definitely saucy and salty.

The book is full of stories about Hank’s time at Maine Maritime Academy. There are plenty of tales that will make you laugh, a lot of interesting history, and then there are those stories I’d label ribald.

Hank worked for many years, after graduating from Maine Maritime, in the maritime industry, including the navy. And he’s written four other books, with lots more stories.

“More than anything,” writes Hank, “it was my time at the Academy that built the foundation for what evolved into an adventurous, exciting career and life.”

He describes this book as “a young man’s coming-of-age book,” and it is surely that. “Not surprising, by nature I am a free spirit, who loves the company of most animals and some people. You might say that I love to laugh, hold center stage, and tell my yarns the way I remember them. For years, friends have encouraged me to write these tales as short stories. This is part of that effort!

All I can add is that Hank’s wife of almost 60 years, Ursula, must be a saint!”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“I knew Hoboken well during the 40’s & 50’s, and still remember the gray, steel-hulled Liberty and Victory Ships with their gun encasements on their bows, looming above the sheds on the waterfront along River Street. Much of this area has been reclaimed with fill and is very different looking now, with brownstones, parks and Sinatra Drive along the waterfront. Where I once walked is now gone! Where I rode the ferry to New York City and marveled at the ships in the Hudson River and the tall buildings in Manhattan has all changed. At that time I took grainy photos of my world with a Baby Brownie Camera, and still have some of them in an old album.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Seawater One"

“In 1553, Santiago de Cuba was invaded and plundered by the French. They were followed by the British, led by Sir Christopher Myngs in 1662-1663. The British considered him an Admiral, but to the Spanish he was a pirate, when he broke through the strong Spanish defenses to plunder and sack the city. Santiago lost its status as the capitol of Cuba, when the seat of power was moved to Havana in 1589, but many people to this day, feel that it is still the capitol city when it comes to culture. Of course, anyone from La Habana would vehemently disagree with this!”
Captain Hank Bracker, "The Exciting Story of Cuba"

“Most of the cadets accepted an invitation to attend a reception at the Venezuelan Naval Academy in La Guaira. Don Silke and I had other ideas and figured on getting a cab to the capital city of Caracas. The ride would take about a half hour, if the car did not overheat going over the mountain pass on the newly constructed highway. The capital city had an elevation of 7,083 feet and we were at sea level. As we stepped off the gangway, I noticed two stunningly beautiful girls standing on the concrete dock looking at the ship. Neither of us could figure out why the girls were there. Perhaps they were tourists, but I would find out. Approaching them, I asked if we could help, but soon discovered that they didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak what seemed to be French. It could have led to an impasse but my knowledge of German saved the day. It turned out that both girls were from France and one of them came from the Alsace Province and spoke German. They were both quite bubbly and we soon found out that they were dancers with the Folies Bergère, on tour to South America. From what I understood, they would be performing in Caracas that night and could get us free tickets. It all sounded great except that we had to be back aboard by 10:00 p.m., since the ship would be leaving first thing in the morning. Rats! You win some and you lose some, but at least we were with them for now. Don and I offered to take them aboard for lunch. It all seemed exciting for them to board a ship with so many single men. Ooh là là. The girls attracted a lot of attention and the ship’s photographer couldn’t stop taking pictures. The rest of our classmates couldn’t believe what they saw and of course thought that we were luckier than we really were. For us, the illusion had to be enough and fortunately the lunch served that day was reasonably good.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“Mardi Gras in Cuba was one of the most uninhibited festivals I have ever witnessed. Although I do not condone the criminal elements that existed behind the festive atmosphere, I dove into the sweeping pleasures without guilt. At my age, life was to be lived, and live it I did! Most of the people surrounding me, on the packed streets of Havana, came from the United States. It also seemed that half of the Miami Police Force was there for these unrestrained festivities.
Perhaps the excesses I witnessed are to be criticized, but it was all fun and well beyond my imagination. Everything was new and extremely exciting at the time. The many beautiful girls, who were said to have been exploited, certainly were as caught up in the euphoria as we were and enjoyed the moment every bit as much as we did. The decorated cars and beautiful floats with girls and guys waving, were followed by people dancing to the loud Latin beat. The jubilant parade wound its way along the coastal route to the Avenida Maceo, having started from the wide boulevard Calle G or Avenida de los Presidentes. Crowds of tourists and other revelers laughed and cheered. Smaller, but every bit as intense, were celebrations on other main streets such as Calle Neptuno. Everyone had a great time, and thanks to our officers, even our available time ashore was extended by an hour. I don’t think that it was abused by anyone, but the next day we were all tired and nursing hangovers.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Salty & Saucy Maine"

“Arguably, the Malecón is the most photographed street in Havana. It lies as a bulwark just across the horizon from the United States, which is only 90 treacherous miles away. It is approximately 5 miles long, following the northern coast of the city from east to west. This broad boulevard is ideal for the revelers partaking in parades and is the street used for Fiesta Mardi Gras, known in Cuba as Los Carnavales. It has also been used for “spontaneous demonstrations” against the United States. It runs from the entrance to Havana harbor at the Morro Castle, Castillo del Morro, alongside the Centro Habana neighborhood to the Vedado neighborhood, past the United States Embassy on the Calle Calzada. Since 1977, the renovated Embassy building has housed the United States Interests Section in Havana. The Malecón is also known as a street where both male and female prostitutes ply their trade. At the present time, most of the buildings that line this once magnificent coastal boulevard are in ruins, which doesn’t stop it from being a spectacular and popular esplanade for an evening walk by residents and tourists alike.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "The Exciting Story of Cuba"

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