It has been nearly two months since getting home from Havana and I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. Everything you see and read about Havana is true. The classic cars, a city paused in time, the music, the rum… It is a magical place. Hot and steamy, beautiful, loud, political, and open. There was music everywhere. Bands playing night and day at every restaurant, I’m sure for the tourists. The places with more local clientele had music blaring at all hours. Whether you were walking down the street at 8:00am or 8:00pm the city was going at full speed.
What I didn’t expect was the openness of the people. We were so lucky to have a great Airbnb host who would visit every few days and even gave us gifts as we left. He was very open in talking about the revolución and his quality of life. We found the taxi drivers to be our biggest source of information and you can hire people for hours at a time to do driving tours of the city and surrounding areas. Cruising Havana in a giant American convertible from 1954 is worth every penny. Overwhelmingly people would talk about how much better things are in Cuba, the pace of renovation and the increase in tourism. They were also really open about frustration with the Miami Cubans and would tell us that what most of the world thinks of Cuba is from people who haven’t lived there in over 50 years.
At the end of the week, I didn’t want to leave but couldn’t wait to come home to the kids. Havana is a city that is lived boldly; the colours, the food, the noise, the crowds, the heat, and the poverty. It is as if everything is turned up just a notch. I am so thankful we had the chance to go before the travel restrictions change again.