A few weeks ago I had the privilege of returning to Cuba to celebrating my 10 year wedding anniversary with Scott. This trip was concentrated in Havana as we wanted to have a deeper understanding of this crazy city. Upon my return I wrote the following:
I didn’t know what to expect, returning to this island I fell in love with a year ago, but the second we got off the plane and were on our way into the city a weird comfort washed over me. A feeling of relief, a feeling of almost coming home. Pure joy. Even my travel hating husband felt it and beamed from the back of the car.
Neither of us can put our finger on what it is we love about Cuba. One ex-pat friend said that since she is a person who loves to complain – and Cuba gives you a lot to complain about – it’s the perfect home for her. Whilst I related, it still wasn’t it.
The noise, the smells, the constant challenges to just exist (particularly for the people who actually live there, not just us passing through) is all part of the experience. We met challenges with fondness, and took on some of the Cuban “resolver” spirit – and I think that’s what it is. It’s a country, that despite all the odds keeps on ticking, keeps on working things out. Keeps growing, keeps evolving.
Things have changed in the year since we were last there (despite the cries of instagrammers who want to go see Cuba for it’s patina, cars and charm – change is good!). There were a lot more Americans, and they’re loud, I didn’t realize how loud Americans are. Perhaps it’s just these ones – or this generation (one Cuban told us over lunch “Young Americans are just like young Cuban’s – but in English”). More services have emerged catering to not just Americans but the giant cruise ships that now park in the port. Obispo St is essentially Havana’s answer to Bourbon St now – complete with portable frozen drinks.
But beyond the tourist traps, Cuba, much like the cars, is still chugging along. And the “resolver” spirit is still there. And change is good. And I’m still deeply in love with this country.
Keep scrolling for some of my fave snaps from this trip.
This banner was potentially drawing attention to studio underneath, and the murals located on this street. Knowing the Cuban sense of humor it’s entirely possible it was making fun of the notion of their dilapidated buildings being considered art by the many tourists.
Progress always. Above; a building is restored. Above that; a street is dug up – for a long promised fiber optic cable the locals would joke. But who knows.
A kids playground in Habana Vieja.
A daiquiri at Cocinero
On the way to San Cristobel for dinner, we stopped by Casa de Tango to be serenaded in what seemed to be an open mic night for seniors. Magical.
More to come from the rest of the trip shortly.