VOL. 3: Havana great time in Cuba
Visiting Havana, Cuba was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve had in a while. It was the first time I had visited Havana and I was eager to see what Cuba had to offer me. As it turns out, there is a lot more to Cuba than just resorts to relax at! Although our crew stayed at a five-star resort, it wasn’t the five-star luxury experience I was interested in – it was the local culture and city life.
A coworker and I took the shuttle into Old Havana to take a look around the city. A note to travellers – don’t expect clean, or even nice smelling streets. You’re not going to find it there. What you will find is culture. Cubans know how to live. They are genuinely happy for what little they have. It’s a different way of life than I’m used to seeing back home and it definitely made me think a little harder about how North Americans live as a whole.
If you’ve ever been to Havana, you know that all over the city you’ll see these vintage cars cruising around. Many have been restored and are now used as a tourist gimmick, but hey, if you’re anything like me and you’re attracted to shiny things, it works. So we hired a teal blue and white 1950s Bel Air to tour us around the city. Our hired guide, Rogelio, took us around the city to see the sites and tell us a bit about what we were looking at. And from what broken English I understood, the city’s history was pretty interesting! Who wouldn’t want to do that in a vintage car!?
DID YOU KNOW: Havana was a popular destination for wealthy American tourists in the 50s. They brought their fancy cars and Cuba imported even more! However, when Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959, he banned the import and sale of North American cars. So, car owners were forced to keep and maintain their classic beauties!
OBLIGATORY FOOD REVIEW FROM AN AMATEUR FOODIE
The one thing about Cuba I had a hard time dealing with was the food and water. Everyone always says not to drink the water. Having to think about if the lettuce from a salad was washed with their water before you take a bite, or making sure there are no ice cubes in your cup before taking a sip was challenging for me. That being said, I mainly stuck to foods that I didn’t have to worry about. I had a seafood paella for lunch and a parmigiana swordfish for dinner – both lacked contaminants that would make me sick… and tasted delicious! I would highly recommend Vistamar restaurant for a sunset dinner. The patio overlooks the ocean and if you time it right, you’ll get a brilliant sunset in the background as you enjoy your meal.
Havana was incredibly beautiful and humbling. The locals were happy, friendly, and always smiling. The energy and vibrancy were exciting, but I thought a lot about humility and the North American lifestyle. I realized it’s not always about what you have, it’s about your outlook and positivity!
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