First things first, Havana‘s absolutely beautiful. Probably one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever seen and like nowhere else I’ve ever been to before. The architecture and colors are mind-boggling, yet it is contrasted with sadness and economic downfall. It is very apparent that the years after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the city, and Cuba in general, have suffered decades of economic deterioration. Havana is real and authentic. Pre-Cold War military squares, 16th-century colonial palaces, 1950’s American cars, and ration shops paint Havana a beautiful city frozen in time.
On the flight leaving Cuba and since I’ve gotten back to Mexico City, all I can feel is gratitude. Gratitude for being born into my middle-class family; gratitude for all the opportunities I’ve had; gratitude for free speech and open markets; gratitude for my health and well-being; and gratitude for my new Meraki family and the positivity they bring to my life. I came to the realization after this trip that my life could have been so much different and I will be forever grateful for all my struggles because they will never compare to those that are less fortunate.
The city of Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and was once one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America. Today, foreigners and locals alike roam the streets of Havana. It is a Communist country in an economic transition with most of the prices regulated by the government. With that being said, the national government assumes all responsibility for education and all Cuban residents have free access to health care in hospitals… which is much more than the US provides.
The colorful vintage cars were definitely one of the things that attracted me to Cuba the most. When you get there, it’s hard not believe your eyes, because every second car is like one from a 1950’s Hollywood movie set.
I am not going to go into too much detail of all the places I saw and what I ate, but I will leave you with the highlights. The beaches are pristine and the water is refreshing. Sunsets are magical on the Malecon. Salsa dancing and mojitos transform the night. The people are so friendly and wonderful. The country overall is safe, lovely, and full of hope.