- Series: Adventure Press
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: National Geographic; Reprint edition (September 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0792264223
- ISBN-13: 978-0792264224
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba (Adventure Press) Paperback – September 1, 2002
Mi Moto Fidel, Christopher Baker's intriguing account of his three-month romp through Cuba on a fire-engine red motorcycle is perhaps the most thorough portrait of this faded Communist country to date. Baker leaves no stone unturned as he revisits Ernest Hemingway's haunts in Havana, checks out a secret cave in the foothills of the sierras that once served as Che Guevara's command post during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and sips motojos at a thatched-roofed beach bar on Playa Los Pinos. On this exhaustive journey, our leather-clad "yanqui" interacts with a myriad of characters from artists to farmers to fisherman to prostitutes, and engages in lively discussions on everything from politics, sex, cigars, and, of course, on the aging revolutionary himself, Fidel Castro. Baker effectively captures the essence of the Cuban people--primarily their generosity and resilient spirit--and his various dalliances with beautiful habaneras (Daisy, Sonia, and Juanita, to name a few) will pique readers' interest (men's more than women's, understandably). By the time Baker winds up back in Havana he has covered some 7,000 miles on his cherished bike. After reading Mi Moto Fidel, you'll no doubt be inspired to hit the road. --Jill Fergus --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Often hilarious, sometimes hair-raising, this engaging travelogue documents Baker's journey across Cuba astride a gaudy BMW motorcycle. The thrust of the book is relatively simple: child of the New Left grows up, takes monstrous icon of capitalism to former ideological paradise, locals ooh and ah at the chrome behemoth and the freedom it supposedly represents, writer becomes disenchanted, denounces socialism. Throw in enough skirt chasing by the 41-year-old Baker (a travel and natural science writer) to elicit images of a Yorkshire Mickey Spillane, and you've got an entertaining and thought-provoking, if frequently meandering, tale. Baker encounters an extraordinary cross-section of Cubans, including Fidelistos loyal to el barbudo (a nickname for Castro) and dissenters who speak of betrayal and corruption. Baker's own somewhat "pro-triunfo" beliefs change as he slowly cracks el manto (literally, "the mantle" of ideology and government propaganda) and sees what many believe to be the true product of Castro's regime. Baker's ideological revelation is compromised by his basing his transformation almost entirely on one conversation with a formerly middle-class couple, and by his inability to convince the reader that Cuban corruption has been more devastating than the U.S. economic stranglehold. His dabbling in ideology mars the book slightly; still, if the reader accepts Baker's treatises as nothing more than amateur musings, this account of a marvelously eccentric trip remains a very engaging read. Eight pages of full-color photos. (Feb.) Forecast: The clever cover, in reds and golds, will have browsers lifting this off shelves to see what it's all about.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In the introduction Baker tells us he will detail his amorous conquests because "it illustrates the sensual nature of Cuba". Unfortunately he finds it necessary to include every sideways glance, every swished hip & every complementary female remark he intercepts. It gets a little tiresome for a reader to hear constant reiteration of how good a lover Baker is, what beautiful eyes he has, how every female bedded feels her life will be empty without him, etc. etc. ad nauseum. He must be the most gullible man around!
When he manages to get to the business at hand, ie writing of Cuba's scenery & people, things improve immensely. For most Norte Americanos, Cuba is Havana & maybe Trinidad. There is much more to this large island, & Baker rides thru most of it. The older people sound generous & dignified while the younger generation seems focused on extorting as many dollars as possible from every passing tourist. We are treated to excellent descriptions of beaches, mountains & agricultural areas. Baker also gives brief lessons in Castro & Cuba's history. Unfortunately, altho the author mentions almost every photo he stopped to take, none appear in the picture section. Those that do are so generic as to seem standard Cuba Board of Tourism releases. There's not even a good picture of the title motorcycle included!
Most men will enjoy this book unreservedly; my partner is ready to book a flight to Cuba this minute! Women will probably end with finding the author unsympathetic & vain. Take this book under advisement!
While all probably true, I quickly tired of Baker's self-centerness and whining writing style. Except for sex, Baker seems not to have all that much liking for the Cuban people, his claims throughout Mi Moto Fidel notwithstanding.
Mi Morto Fidel belongs to that strange genre of travel books where the writer, after finally achieving his/her life-long dream. discovers that it wasn't worthwhile pursuing. You may find Mi Moto Fidel interesting if you think one man's pursuit of one-night stands is worthwhile reading. If you buy Mi Moto Fidel, as I did, to learn more about Cuba prior to traveling there, I think you'll find the book disappointing and depressing.
He did pique my desires as a 32 year old single man and solo traveler, even though the stories seemed like the braggadocio of young men in his telling, missing crucial details. Him picking out the Tropicana girl at the tourist-only show and saying there was a connection on sight, and that is why she went with him is self-delusional, if not disingenuous. But for this reason, his book is no travel book. After one "date" with a woman my second night in Havana, and all female interactions that followed, if not through Cuban friends, I realized that Mr. Baker was omitting the main reason that he was so desireable; his wallet and that valuable dollar that is between 5-10% of a monthly income there.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Baker certainly took us on a complete geo tour. If would have been much better with maps and more pics.Published 16 months ago by Paul E. Nelson
i accidentally picked up this novel and read the first 20 or so pages. it was unbelievable and unreadable. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Paul
A must read if you have gone or are planning to visit Cuba. A good read for everyone else.Published 19 months ago by Elaine Purnell
Good book if now somewhat dated- it'll be interesting to see how things change with the changing status of US-Cuban relations.Published 22 months ago by Rob
Get to know the Cuba that it's citizens know. Beautifully written ttavelogue that seems to cover virtually every square mile of this tropical paradise.Published on April 14, 2014 by Dixie Girl
To be fair, I didn't read all of it - I basically agree with the other bad reviews. This book is going straight to charity, I just feel sorry for whoever picks it up next - good... Read morePublished on October 21, 2013 by Mirjana Skrba
Living in Florida Keys...very interested in what is going on in Cuba. This book is 10 years old but is very interesting to read how the real Cubans live under Castro..... Read morePublished on January 31, 2013 by Robin McNulty
Not your typical travel guide, Baker holds nothing back in this personal account, be they his sexcapades, mental health, or political viewpoints.Published on June 30, 2012 by César Chávez
It is sometimes difficult to discern the man behind the words, but Christopher Baker has done a much better-than-average job of removing the veil to reveal the personality of the... Read morePublished on March 19, 2012 by Cupples Peet