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The Independent Culture
Reach Cuba? As the 30th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara draws nearer, interest in the Communist island in the sun is rising. Plenty of cheap package holidays are available, such as a week at the (relatively) luxurious Hotel Plaza in old Havana for pounds 429 including flights from Gatwick, through Hayes & Jarvis (0181-222 7833). Flights from Britain to Cuba began seven years ago, with an elderly Ilyushin jet once a fortnight from Stansted to Havana; now there are three DC-10s each week from Gatwick to the Cuban capital, supported by various charters. In addition, the Cuban national airline, Cubana (0171-734 1165), begins services from Manchester in December.

Lose your life on New Year's Eve? According to the Time Out Guide to Miami, published by Penguin this week for pounds 9.99, just turn up in the suburb of Hialeah: "For some celebrants it has become a tradition to step outside, shoot guns in the air and ring in the New Year with a hail of bullets. Unfortunately, people sometimes get hurt ... a grandmother standing outside her house was killed by random gunfire."

The new book also lists more appealing celebrations, such as the annual Female Impersonators' Pageant each April, and the Art Deco weekend every January.

Fly around the world? Probably using a combination of first class and Concorde. But if you prefer the cheapest circumnavigation, then the fare from Austravel (0171-734 7755) is the lowest the travel desk here has ever seen: pounds 549, plus taxes of about pounds 50. You fly outbound to Sydney via Los Angeles, and return on a Britannia charter. The fare is available only on selected dates.

Sail to Norway and back this winter? Cruise aboard Color Line's Color Viking from Newcastle to Bergen, for pounds 54 return. This is a four-day break, and includes breakfast on each morning. Call 0191-296 1313.

Get from M90 1QX to E16 2PX, or from MAN to LCY? Fly on the new Air UK service linking the two airports - Manchester and London City respectively.The service begins on 27 October, and features four flights each way on weekdays. The planned service between London City and Glasgow has been scrapped. Information and bookings: 0345 666777.

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