Serious sightseeing, sampling shopping.
Havana Travel Blog› entry 3 of 11 › view all entries
We moved to Candida's as arranged. It's fine and friendly. Fresh fruit breakfast with strong coffee, plenty of hot water, (the electric switch is in the shower area), comfortable bed. She does the washing too. She has "friends" in Cienfuegos and Trinidad and can fix up rooms for us there. We've done some serious sightseeing. The seafront - the Malecon - is spectacular. The Museum of the Revolution took us 3 hours. Fidel's boat, Granma, that brought him from Mexico to start his campaign is beautifully preserved next to the eternal flame dedicated to the martyrs of the Revoluution. Che and Camillo Cienfuegos waxworks emerge from an artificial jungle. Two teaspoons used by the insurgents are among the more traditional displays of photos, cuttings, and blood stained clothing.
On the Malecon a young man engaged us in conversation, complaining how difficult life was for ordinary Cubans, especially blacks. Jobs and money are short, the police harrass blacks, the ration book guarantees only limited supplies, tourists do not see the real Cuba. He persuaded us to give him a couple of convertibles.
Our casa is in calle San Rafael. Further along it are shops. Most seem to have little or no stock, yet even so queues develop outside and people only go in when others come out.
Yet in late afternoon the streets throng, people queue for ice cream and snacks, music blares from cafes and bars, and the sun shines. Real Cuba ??
Thursday. This morning Candida talked about the rising prices and shortages caused by the summer hurricanes.
We then walked along the Malecon to the more upmarket Vedado area, and as typical tourists went into the very grand Hotel Nacional. Shades of Sinatra and the Mafia, and of Winston Churchill - a bar named after him! Actually the cocktails and sandwiches were hardly more expensive than in an ordinary hard currency bar in Centro. Another example of the topsy turvy economy.
Back to the casa. Change of plan - tropical storms in the south. We'll stay in Havana a few more days.