We had left Havana nearly a month before and had friggin hated it. On our return we had decided to stay in a different part of town, Vedado, as we had heard it was a bit less feral than Barrio Chino (it would be very hard to be more feral). We got that right and were very happy when we arrived at our AirBnB in an apartment of what used to be a grand old house. The young couple who ran it were charming and the place so well provisioned (wifi, hot water, coca-cola etc) we were sure they must be related to the Castros.
This good start meant that Havana had every chance of winning us over on our second visit…….My jog around hen area and then back along the front to Barrio Chino to pick up some stuff we had stored there took me along some beautiful streets past incredible houses and filled me with hope. It failed to ride the wave though. Dinner on the first night was at an interesting Iranian place that reminded us it was Cuban when they decided they didn’t have what J ordered so gave her something completely different, got shirty when we complained, then brought out what’s she had ordered. We then dealt with every taxi driver trying to rip us off (I think there is a cartel in town that keeps the prices high), objectionable staff in restaurants and being treated to the worst haircut of the trip (it will take months to recover from it). It was still Cuba. It was a better experience than the first, but being in a prison cell without Mr Big is a better experience than being in a prison cell with Mr Big but neither are experiences one would rush to.
I won’t summarise the Cuba trip again as I did that at the start but I have to say that getting on our flight to Canada, despite our reluctance to go somewhere cold, was a real pleasure.
I wish Cuba the very best; all people deserve the best. Unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend helping the economy by spending your tourist money there unless you really have run out of other places to go.