Hasta la vista, Habana
And we’re outta here.
It’s been quite a trip. Cuba is an amazing place, sadly stuck in 1958, impoverished by both their own leaders and an insane, vengeful and unending embargo by the US.
We stayed in a luxury hotel with water that is hot on a random basis. Elevators that go up or down as they please, without regard to what buttons you push. Wonderful service on one floor, hideous service on another.
I’ve seen many, many cars built before I was born, lovingly maintained but sporting Russian diesel engines because American parts are not available. Odd Russian Ladas, Polski Fiats and Czech Skodas. It was an event when we saw a Chrysler swoop past.
Cigars are made by hand, which is good. Crops are brought in by hand, which is bad. A country whose power usage would make the greenest Berkeley tree-hugger salivate, but the cause is necessity not altruism. There just isn’t enough power for this country.
I haven’t had much good to say about the cuisine, but we continue to wonder how much of that is the fault of the tour company taking us to sub-par places and ordering cheaply for us. There are 7 of us, and only 3 survived the week unscathed.
If I never have another mojito, that’s just fine with me.
The propaganda machine works full time here. Our guide pretends that “nobody knows” things that take me 7 seconds to Google–but, of course, he isn’t allowed to use Google. The continued embargo gives the national rulers a perfect foil to blame for all the problems in the country, cementing them in power.
Would I come back? Yes. Would it be my first choice? No. I’d rather go see Australia or New Zealand or anywhere in Africa, right now. In 10 years, when Fidel is gone and the embargo gone with him, this place will either turn into a hell-hole or a western Hong Kong. I’m betting on the latter, and when it happens I want to be here to see it.