The drive in from the airport into a new country’s major city is always revealing and with increasing countries under your belt certain patterns become obvious. Regardless of how tired I am after a flight, all of my senses are heightened on the drive (usually taxi) in and my antennae rarely get it wrong! Cuba has been high on my list of must sees for a long time. When Obama relaxed the restrictions I thought that I had “missed the boat” but Trump’s reimposition of sanctions means that nothing has changed here. The drive in was a major surprise for me. All around is decay and decrepitude, not the worst I have seen but very comparable to some of the middling African nations I have been to. It gets me thinking.
We are in the heart of the hotel in an Airbnb. As our taxi pulls up alongside a row of run down facades I lower my expectations accordingly and am presently surprised when the interior reveals a modern classy apartment, thanks Anthony for finding this place. Go figure!
We hit the streets and all around the beauty that I expected is everywhere with grand albeit slightly crumbly buildings. Spanish era cathedrals and palaces crop up between narrow atmospheric alleyways and treed squares. Ancient 1950s Chevrolets and other American gas guzzlers cruise the streets as well as rickshaws and horses and carriages.
This is an absolute gem for tourists which is already showing signs of evolution into the 20th century but still retains its 1960s charm.
Anthony’s fluency in Spanish comes into its own here. We find a restaurant around the corner, one of many serving magnificently cooked lobster tail for the princely sum of $16 US! The waters around Cuba will be significantly depleted of lobster after we have spent a few days here. Bring it on!