A Note from SF in Havana, Cuba
Heard a very good seven piece band, Tradicion Habanera, in a cafe yesterday and bought a CD of theirs for ten cucs.
Yes, there is Cuban money---actually there are two, cucs for the middle and upper class (and tourists), and pesos for the rest of the population.
Each cuc is worth about $1.20. The bills never leave the island.
The old Havana part of town is fantastic, amazing--- better than New Orleans.
There are several big plazas enclosed by beautiful colors on tall Spanish buildings.
The fabulous streets around Plaza Vieja are often crowded.
I'm glad I got myself here before all hell breaks loose when American travelers become welcome.
That was my intention.
I'm taking pictures (of course) and have quite a photo journal going.
About one of every 15 cars on the street is a vintage American automobile. It's crazy.
Many are models I've never seen before. Some are even from the forties.
Their colors are incredible --starting with cherry red, then bright sky blue, then purple, then going to a glossy apple green.
They cough out exhaust and rattle around town---each one is available for a taxi ride.
Some of the other taxis are basically three passenger, Easter egg-looking, gas engine golf carts ---no windows, of course---not that it matters...very few vehicles here have air conditioning.
Winston Churchill and Buster Keaton once stayed in the mega-cool Nacionale Hotel.
It has survived many a hurricane.
My old "CBS-days" buddy, Alec, and I walked through it the other day and looked at the ocean from the patio behind it.
Alec told me an (ironically) hilarious story of being here with his brother and his nearly blind father when Sandy blew through on its way to Staten Island.