Travel to Cuba
An American Woman's Photos & Impressions of Havana
of the most interesting places I've visited: Cuba. I spent a weekend in
Havana in March (2001) with four friends. One of them is a Cuban American,
so we had the good fortune to spend time with his family and friends in
their home and get at least a little sense of what it's like to live in
however, are mine alone, and not those of the lovely people I met. Nor
can I be absolutely certain that some of what I have stated as facts
are accurate; I might have misunderstood what I was told.
I was surprised
to be told, for example, that medical doctors earn the equivalent of $25
a month. The good news is there are many physicians -- about 1 for every
75 citizens. If you want to make a decent salary in Cuba, you are better
off joining the police or security forces … or, better yet, get on the
staff of a tourist hotel where you will receive U$ dollars -- apparently
the true currency of Cuba. Dollars make all the difference. For example,
on a typical Sunday afternoon a family might visit Copelli Park. It is
an all day outing to get an ice cream. With dollars in your pocket, you
can get an ice cream right away … a couple of scoops for $3-4 … however,
if you are paying in pesos, you will wait an hour or two in a long line.
most of the buildings
outside Old Havana are in various
stages of disrepair, but much of
their grandeur remains.
Click on images
for larger view.
I liked the
juxtapositon of this old American car with an elegant, if somewhat dilapidated,
edifice. This was right next to our hotel. There are, as you may know,
lots of old American cars on the streets of Havana. One taxi driver claimed
it's evidence the best mechanics in the world are in Cuba. I was more interested
to hear that there are fewer cars on Havana streets today than there were
in 1959. No more than 15% of Cubans (if that) own cars, I was told
… the rest wait (and wait) for unreliable public transport.
Can you believe
it: there are fewer cars
on Havana streets today than in 1959!
At least, that's what they tell me!
cars tend to be Russian-made, such as Gonzalo's 1974 Lada ... we drove
out to Parque Lenin for lunch on Sunday.
View of the Malecon
from the Hotel Nacionale
The Nacional Hotel
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