I just wanted to press pause for a second while I am still here in Havana on my last day, and attempt to give my honest impression about the condition of this wonderful city. I am sure I will have lots to write about, memories to share, and photos that will illustrate. But I am afraid that I might get home and romanticize my experiences. It really HAS been a trip of a lifetime and it has been amazing, but it has also been heartbreaking and an awakening of sorts. Havana is a full force assault to the senses, and may or may not be for everyone.
There were moments near Parque Central in the center of the city, and in the 5-star hotels that you can get a sense of “Old” Havana and imagine what it was like in the good old days. I still believe it’s possible that it’s best days can actually be in the future, and that all of it’s hardships will add another layer to the rich culture here. I can only hope and pray that sometime in the future a traveler just like me will be here in this exact spot and say “how is it possible there was ever any suffering in this immaculate city”. But, unfortunately, it won’t come fast and it certainly will not be easy.
It’s not my intention to talk only about sadness or suffering, but because the city’s decay is on such a large scale, it’s a fact that you can’t be denied. Yes, all the wonderful things about Cuba are here too, and those are the things I want to remember, along with my positive wishes for this beautiful country.
I plan to get back and study up on Cuba’s history, from all points of view, and to try to gain an educated opinion about what the hell happened here; and that’s the one bit of advice I can give to anyone who is reading this and planning to come. Not since I was in Sarajevo in 1996 do I feel like it’s my duty to try and understand some of the different levels of a country. It’s truly unbelievable that I am so close to home but literally a world away.