Tag Archive for 'cancun'

Libre in Cuba: My arrival in Havana

The Color in Habana Vieja by Isaac Holeman.

As some of you may know, I now write from Havana, Cuba. Smiley face X !!! to the power of * is how much I like it here, so far. Yes, I know that’s an impressive number. I’m on the honeymoon with this country.

On the way from the US I stopped for one night in Cancun because standard airlines may not fly directly from the US to Cuba (don’t forget the economic/political blockade our tax dollars have built up around Cuba). I met the other twenty six students and my professor at the hotel and various airports along the way. This group of people is great and I am overjoyed to be here with them.

Cancun itself is horrid. It boasts a reeking blend of the frivolity of Vegas (in it’s reputation, I’ve never actually been to Vegas), the numbing commerciality of WallMart, and a truly impressive concentration of embarrassingly drunk and ostentatious tourists from the US. An advertisement for SeƱor Frogs, a popular club/disco, summed it up will with the slogan where nobody knows your name. Cuba is rather different.

To begin with, shops and restaurants put up signs, but there are no further advertisements (a particular shock after Cancun). Instead, the streets of this country are marked by mural sized quotations of famous activists, leaders, and poets.

The Old City, Habana Vieja, recalls a very humid, crumbly, grandiose city in Eastern Europe. I makes me wonder what parts of Budapest might look if it’s most noble neighborhoods were also its most decrepit. You might click on the picture to see the rest of an album from la Habana. Today I discovered that the Lonely Planet Guide to Cuba features the same bearded man wearing a starred hat that I photographed in the picture with a lady in a pink dress.

Havana already begins to feel like home. I just came back to its familiar places after a ten day tour of the southern and eastern parts of Cuba, but more on that later.

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