(DISCLAIMER: To all my Cuban-Americans friends, this is not a political post and has nothing to do with my personal opinion regarding the revolution and its history. This post just narrates what I saw, did and listened from locals during my short-visit to Cuba)
Over the past six years, I’ve heard multiple stories of Cuba from my Cuban-Americans friends living in Miami. Each story, whether positive or negative, is what triggered my curiosity.
I always wanted to see with my own eyes how locals live in the present. I once heard: “Cuba was the Paris of the Caribbean”, and from my experience I 100% agree with this statement. Havana is as beautiful as any major city in Europe!
The revolution indeed changed a lot and it's sad to see how locals live with some sort of “limitation” in life. In Cuba, you can dream big but your dreams will most likely be shattered. To make a difference in this world, you must find a way to get yourself out the island. If not, you will live with what the government gives you and tells you to do.
From what I heard from various locals, the revolution worked positively for some people but the vast majority disagrees with the Cuban government and how it works. At the end, it’s all about perspective…
Here’s what I saw and learned during my short visit to La Havana, Cuba:
My friend, Susy, is getting married next year and wanted to celebrate her bachelorette party in Cuba. We were a big group of ten girls ready to explore and experience everything Cuba had to offer! This weekend getaway was special because we got to throw my friend Susy the party she wanted and visit a country for the first time.
Since we were a big group, we decided to rent a house located in Syboney via Airbnb.com. Syboney was (and still is) La Havana’s most exclusive area where the rich lived before the revolution. The vast majority of the house owners in this area flea the country leaving all their possessions behind. Now, the government owns these properties for accommodation purposes for international government officials and ambassadors.
As soon as I opened the door, I could tell this was the property of a rich upper class cuban family. An eight-room home with pool, luxury pottery, large art pieces, high-end cutlery and a white Yamaha grand-piano helped me support my speculation.
On our first day, we plan to tour the city of Havana. Three vehicles from 1940’s were right outside our front floor ready for our adventure! In Cuba, most people still ride these vintage cars and is now one of the main tourist attractions in the island.
Most people assume that these cars are 1940’s original. Truth is, all the vintage cars have had a motor update and interior renovation. There are some original cars still, but it’s very expensive to acquire the original pieces for maintenance. For this reason, the car you see in this picture is “just the outside”. (No wonder they still turn on! haha)