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Cuba…First Impressions

Cuba, First Impressions: Old & New– Part I

When I first got to Cuba I must admit I was a little apprehensive.  It was the fear of the unknown.  Being in my first Communist country; never being in a 2nd World country; being in a country on shaky terms with the US.  I was wondering if there was going to be a “Boogie Man” around the corner.  I quickly got over that!  There was nothing to be scared of other than the unknown and that was why I came.  I wanted to see for myself.  Hell that is the reason I travel.  I do not want to take anyone’s word for something, or have just seen it on TV, or read about it online.  I prefer to examine for myself and then base my feelings on my findings.

Havana Cuba Airport. Southwest Airlines flight arriving at night.

Arriving in Havana Cuba at night!

After clearing customs and immigration it was a 30 minute ride from the airport to the Airbnb we stayed in.  The Airbnb we rented was centrally located near restaurants, hotels, shopping, tours, the Malecon, the Cuban Capitol and more.  I rented an entire apartment.  The apartment was a one bedroom with a full kitchen, a separate living room and dining room.  Our apartment had a balcony overlooking a major street.  The balcony receives 2 different views of the Atlantic Ocean all while also giving a wonderful view of both the sunrise and sunset.  The sunset was made even better by a glass of wine!

Cuban Cars:

Old Car in Havana Cuba

Car in Havana Cuba

The other noticeable thing was smog.  Smog there was worse than any major city in the US.  It was like the bad air quality days in Los Angeles, Detroit or Pittsburgh.  One of the chief contributors of the reasons for that was the Classic Old American Cars.  Old cars with no or low carbon standards plus leaded gasoline and fumes is certainly a recipe for poor air quality.  Technology has definitely advanced, however that does not mean it has reached Cuba. Emissions standards have changed throughout the world, but either is not in Cuba or not enforced.  This is probably not the best place for asthmatics.  However, I am not a doctor so please make that decision on your own or with the help of your physician.

The Cuban People:

Cuban People

Cuban Family

My final impression was of the Cuban people.  Everyone we met was definitely friendly.  They smiled, seemed to be in a good mood and greeted you in one way or another.  Few spoke English, but that did not stop them from talking to you.  When they realized you did not speak Spanish they would smile at you with a bit of pity, but were still kind and tried to be helpful.  The people were well dressed with many of the latest styles.  Many had different hairstyles just like in the US.  The Cuban people are a collection of colors with many dark brown like me.  The men had very modern cuts and I even saw the two toned Odell Beckham Jr.

Don’t miss Cuba, First Impressions: Old & New– Part II already posted on the website!

I am looking forward to exploring Cuba and experiencing the Cuban nightlife.  Tuesday, I am planning on going to a Boxing match.  How many people have experienced a sporting event in a foreign country?   I am here in support of the Cuban People.  It is time to find out for myself what Cuba is all about.  You should go to Cuba and see for yourselves.  Then you can “base your feelings on your findings!”

Don’t forget to watch our videos on Cuba on our YouTube Channel “Blacks Who Travel”.  There you will find additional information via Video Blog on Cuba.

YouTube Channel for Blacks Who Travel

Blacks Who Travel’s YouTube Channel

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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 28 different Countries mainly concentrated in the Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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