There’s no easy way to sum up Havana. It’s at once Europe with its huge open plazas and gorgeous parks, beautiful houses with noticeably Spanish architecture, at the same time, 50’s America, with the classic cars, choking exhaust fumes due to the lack of modern catalytic converters, and a safe, community atmosphere, while simultaneously still wreaking of its communist history-limited stores, broken down equipment and hardware that is nigh irreplaceable, even in our spectacular guest house, and a general feeling that everything is limited.
But beyond that, the people we’ve met seem genuinely happy. Everyone from people at restaurants and bars, to the taxi drivers, to random people on the street greeting you with a smile, either unaware or uncaring of the modern world a few miles away in Miami and beyond.
Despite the lack of modern technology to most, Havana is comfortable. People get by with what’s available and use everyday items in unique ways. Want an aquarium? An old bathtub will do. If it’s broken, find a way to fix it. Don’t need that old bidet in the bathroom? Fill it with soil and upcycle it into a planter.
I’m sure I’ll find more examples of Cuban ingenuity as we explore, but day two starts in a few minutes with a tour of old Havana in classic cars. More pictures and stories when I’m back to fast data in Mexico!