Our plane was perhaps 1/3 full, and our group of 7 were the only gringos onboard. When we landed after the short flight, the plane erupted in cheers and applause. Everyone was glad to be home.
Jose Marti Airport is as rundown as any airport I have ever seen. The entry process is slow and bureaucratic, not that we were surprised. We got shown into the VIP waiting room while they corralled our luggage for us, and then we went out and met our guide.
Piling into a Chinese made bus, we made our way through Havana to the Hotel Melia Cohiba. Melia is a Spanish hotel chain, and this place is up to good European standards. The city, though, is rundown and non-maintained. There are many billboards, which advertise nothing but instead repeat slogans of the revolution and imprecations against the embargo. Traffic is light, with both the famouse 1950’s era cars still kept running, late model Japanese and Chinese cars, and many Russian made Ladas from the 1970’s and 80’s.
Tonight, we are off to dinner in a private home, a paladar. I’ll let you know how it goes.