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Published: August 25th 2007
And it's like a movie!
The first things that struck me: green vegetation, music, the number of black vs lighter skinned Cubans and the heat (it's 30C and so humid that I had to shower once I checked in).
Flying in to Havana you can see nothing but lush green vegetation and then driving from the airport you see sign after sign of Fidel and/or Che. My hotel isn't what I thought it would be, it's like something out of a 1940s film. It's called the Hotel Sevilla. I took a walk down to the Malecon (boardwalk) and there were hundreds of kids swimming. A few of the olders ones asked me to join them, they're a friendly bunch. A little too friendly at times, one particular man followed me back to the hotel the whole way muttering stuff in Spanglish. Creepy. I think I stand out because I'm Casper the friendly ghost compared to even the lighter complexioned Cubans. I haven't heard silence since I checked in -- the hotel is opposite a park and there is live music playing. Buena Vista Social Club, eat your heart out.
It appears Internet is available in the larger hotels. And laptops and video cameras can get through customs without a problem. The main no-no is apparently DVD players.
I can't believe I'm actually here. I nearly cried walking through the airport. I'm living my dream!! And yes, I have had ONE cocktail and Jesus it was potent. And cheap, only CUC$3.50 (the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) is comparative to the US dollar now that US dollars are banned but are only useful in Cuba. But they take a 20% commission off the USD. I'm losing money no matter what I do!).
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