After a week of relaxing on the beaches of Playa del Carmen and Cancun it was time to head to Cuba.
I was excited!
I had wanted to visit this country for such a long time, I wanted to see if all that I heard was true.
Cuba is amazing. It is like no other country I have visited. It really is like being transported back in time. And it is a series of contradictions. The people are economically poor but culturally so very rich. Many of the buildings are crumbling and decayed but the streets are full of music and laughter.
The waterfront is a popular meeting place for the locals, particularly at night. With not enough money to go out, this waterfront promenade becomes the local hangout with lots of music and of course rum.
The streets are full of cars from the 50s and 60s, some in immaculate condition but many blowing smoke and carrying loads of people.
Walking the streets of Havana you can't help but marvel at the spirit of the people. The government wage is $150 a month coupled with rations to pick up the basics from the ration stores. Housing, education and health care is provided by the government but it is tough existence. But the spirit of the people is so very strong.
Music, rum, cigars and salsa seem to be part of everyday life. Walking the streets of old Havana the buildings are restored and the people are out working the tourists. But you can't help but dance down the streets to the music while trying to dodge the ever present cigar smoke.
The people dress in modern clothes and always seem to be eating ice-cream. Well why not when it is government subsidized. I went to the famous ice-cream shop and was prepared to line up with the locals. But tourists were sent to a different ice-cream stand, no queues and a higher price .... but very good ice-cream.
Facilities in Cuba are very hit and miss. One day I had loads of water in my shower, the next day just a dribble. I wasn't there long enough to get the day with hot water. Wifi is non existent but some hotels have computers that can be used if you buy a log in card. Usually they have run out of log in cards.
But none of this mattered. It was easy to just make do.
It was magical.
All to soon I was leaving Havana to explore the western province of the country. But Havana sure gets under your skin.
My Havana photos
|Cuba - Havana|