This is my second day in Havana and I´m still in the adjustment stage. I´ve had a lot of experience adjusting to very different cultures and a lot of them have been much more extreme than Cuba.
My plane was late arriving and by the time I got my luggage and arrived at the casa it was well after midnight, but everything went smoothly other than that.
My room is very clean and the bed comfortable but a bit soft. Water pressure is low but Brian, my host, is helpful and he brought me the nuvo water softener to have a bit more of pressure. Breakfast is plentiful – much more than I can eat – in a sunny dining room looking on to the street.
I´m in Hotel Parque Central at the moment using their computers and I only have 39 minutes of my hour left. There are no Internet facilities in private homes, only hotels. It takes a bit of adjustment since everything is in Spanish.
I spent yesterday wandering along the sea wall of the Malecon until a big wave washed over and nearly knocked me into traffic. It was unexpected because some stretches appear really calm. Fearing to ruin my new sandals, I crossed over the road and continued.
People are friendly and helpful for the most part, although you can get very conflicting information about where the bus stops and how much things cost. Everyone says ´take a taxi. Just $5´ but I wanted to take the hop’on hop’off bus. )Excuse the punctuation. It´s all different on Cuban keyboards.
The first day, after getting very conflicting information, I was walking across a plaza and fell flat. I wasn´t hurt and a couple of people came over to make sure I was ok, but at that point, I took a taxi.
I did get on the bus, however, and found that it will take you all over the city, but rarely stops unless you ask it to. A woman takes the tickets and gives Eng and Span on a very bad sound system so it all sounds like a Peanuts cartoon thus mwah mwah Avenida de las Presidentes mwah mwah a la izquierda mwah mway Plaza de la Revolucion.
When I went outside the first morning, this was the view as I started to walk. That’s the Malecon in the distance, basically where it ends. It starts 8 km further north in Habana Vieja.
Just outside my casa looking towards the Malecon. The days are lovely.
I walked for 20 minutes or so loving the sight until my encounter with the wave.
I intend to take a classic car ride today and see a cabaret tomorrow night at the Hotel Nacional, the one made famous by American mobsters (and I think, the Godfather.)
Here are some more pictures so far.
Plaza de la Revolucion with picture of Che. It´s touted as a major attraction but in reality it is a huge parking lot surrounded by buildings like this one. Another has a similar pic of Cienfuegos, a revolutionary leader, and a statue of Jose Marti, revolutionary leader.
Lots of taxis some of which are classic cars, some these mini cars which are double the rate, and bicycle taxis which are much cheaper and only really available in Old Havana.
Street performers on stilts in Old Havana. This little girl in the pic is giving them money.
The big pot under this lady´s hand in Old Havana is full of boiling corn. The cobs are all cored and the vendor is sticking a piece of wood in it as a handle. There´s also a big bowl of melting butter sitting in the top of the pot and a line up of people waiting to taste.
Typical classic car in Parque Central waiting for a customer. The city is half and half classic cars and newer vehicles, but most of the old cars look their age.
Car interior just in case anyone is interested. The well cared for ones are beautiful. This one has white leather interior completely encased in plastic.
Until next time…