I took a trip to Cuba in December and have been so busy since I got back that I haven't been able to catch up and make posts on my travel blog. I had no internet access during the trip. When I came back, it was time to get ready for Christmas, then New Year's, and then the Rose Ball...all keeping me busy and in touch with people I love. There will be more than one travel post about Cuba, because we did and saw a lot.
Now's a good time to reflect on what I saw. I cannot forget Havana. It was once a beautiful city, and parts of it, such as Old Havana, still are. It has a Spanish colonial style. Very classic. This is the Capitol:
But we also saw a lot of crumbling buildings. It was surprising to realize people were living in buildings that had already started to come down.
We visited David's friend Richard. This was David's fifth trip to Cuba and he had met Richard on a previous trip. To get to Richard's apartment, we had to walk up a spiral staircase without a hand rail. The first time we did it was in the dark, so I didn't even know what it was really like. I didn't realize that it was propped up with a two by four until we came back on another day when there was more light. I took some pictures:
When we did get in the apartment, it was very small--I think less than 200 square feet--and very sparse. Four people live there--Richard, his wife and two children. I got the impression that they are a fairly typical family. Despite their challenging living conditions, they were very happy and welcoming people....as were all the Cubans we met.
I learned that the Cubans have a great love of children and family, and they really don't seem to be concerned about material things. I noticed that there is virtually no advertising. There are billboards, but they have mottos encouraging people to support others in their community or to value education. Some had pictures of Fidel and quotes from him. I got the message that humanistic concepts are valued more than things. More later.