A local guide in Havana summed up Cuba perfectly, “Enjoy my country,” he said, “but don’t try to understand it.” The socialism. The poverty. The feeling that time has stood still on this large island in the Caribbean for the better part of the last century.
Although only 90 miles off the coast of Florida, Cuba could not feel further away from Western civilization. Internet and cell signals are scarce, stores are few and far between, and the infrastructure seems in a placid state of disrepair. Bundle this with the upbeat tone of the Cuban people (there are over 11 million of them) and the bright, colorful backdrop created by the country’s neoclassical and Spanish colonial architecture, and you’ve got quite the dichotomy.
One second you’re taking pictures of a beautifully ornate and freshly painted facade, and the next instant you’re tripping over rubble from a decrepit building that looks condemned, yet has laundry hanging out on the third floor balcony. There are pristine, vintage automobiles everywhere (everywhere!) adding to the air of surrealism. And while we were visiting the last week in June, it also happened to be “flame tree” season, where those vibrant, orange blossomed trees you see in the photos below were in bloom and littering the landscape. It felt like I was walking thru a Travel and Leisure spread or maybe vacationing on an MGM movie set — picture perfect.
I recommend you check out this wonderful city for yourself, but until then, here are some photos from our recent visit to wet your appetite …