We visited Havana recently and the city wowed me. The dramatic history of the city thanks to Spanish and British of older time and American and Russian influence is very interesting. Old Havana looks like a Spanish city attracted many intellects to herself such as Ernest Hemingway. There is bar with his name that apparently he used to visit very often. Some of these charming building are falling apart but who can blame Cuban for not having renovation on top of their list.
Our tour guid was a middle age man, fair skin and deep green eyes who spoke fluent English. He talked about Cuba with a painful pride. He loved his country was tired of being trapped in time. He didn't want to see his country another province of USA but in his own way he admitted that comonism is not working. He said: "when humans are not motivated they won't work hard.You cannot pay the same money to the one who work hard and the one who stands and do nothing. But change is coming" he said with a hopefull tune. " when you come back again you will see how fast Cuba will change". He said with please-come-back-again-soon impression in his voice.
I felt like unfortunate situations trapped these people in time. After thirty something years still trying to show the revolution spirit is in the air is surreal. Every where there are photos of Che Guevara ; every where I mean; on the wall, postal cards, and even mugs. I really doubt that a man like him would ever imagined that one day he will be a major icon in Cuba to attract tourists who like to buy his imprinted mug, magnets, plates, ceramics, etc.
You will see different races of people white and colored in the city which to me is another interesting feature for Havana. Old American Cars, fresh Cohiba cigars, the exact Replica of the White House, the hotel that biggest Mafia meeting took place in, Bay of Pig, the square that young Castro had his longest speech of 9 hours... are all part of what form this city or country I should say.
So far I visited part of Mexico, Dominican Republic and now Havana. My first impression from people I encountered, including the hotel staff, stranger in street, the bus driver, tour guide , etc is that Cuban are more serious, mostly educated ( education is free in Cuba) and are into politics ( considering how much the government is involved in people everyday life I am not surprised).