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Escrito por KR desde 184.108.40.206 (dsl-189-177-0-18-dyn.prod-infinitum.com.mx) el día viernes, 27 de marzo, 2009 a las 16:18:18 horas :
En respuesta a: Cuban Travel escrito por JB in CT desde 220.127.116.11 (ool-43567c19.dyn.optonline.net) el día viernes, 27 de marzo, 2009 a las 07:41:17 horas :
Interesting article, JB.... and La Guarida (per Rob's initial recco) was a really interesting 'historical' stop.... for sure! Havana's "La Casa de Música" (a few blocks off Parque Central in the heart of the barrios) was also a fine evening (s), but surely 'another side' of intrinsic Cuban Life surprisingly untouched by the WSJ piece.
BUT….. while Havana does indeed have its 'high end', renovated dining/accommodation options (we parked ourselves at the lovely Hotel Seville with equally 'viewed' terrace dining), I was rather surprised that the writer failed to note what we saw as a deeply troubling, failed 'post revolutionary economy' resulting in now 50 years of near-zero structural maintenance capability....! A vast MAJORITY of city buildings where boarded-up at street level (rather crudely in fact) due to lack of business enterprise, while the upper floors were overflowing with dense apartment occupants and meager possessions/laundry (et al) hanging precariously from dangerously crumbling balconies. I'd even guestimate that a good 15% PLUS of ALL of Havana's mid-rise buildings were completely abandoned (if not DULY condemned!).
PAINT too seemed to have ‘disappeared’ along with personal liberties, as 80%+ of the city was in long-awaited DIRE need of a “refresher” coat. In fact, most all non-commercial (ie: non TOURIST cash-flow related!!) buildings were sadly ‘darkened’ to near BLACK by the rampant auto air pollution choaking The City (and actually nationwide).
Yeah, troubling.... As what was once arguably The Diamond in The Crown Jewel of the Caribbean, was in truth now little more these days than a LESS-kept, decaying replica of some forgotten Harlem neighborhood..... Albeit, it certainly did INDEED “shine at night”!!!!
For us, while three days/nights of Havana exploration was welcome, it was actually a Godsend to exit Havana for the natural splendors of western Viñales, Pinar del Rio, and Maria La Gorda, then off to the less inhabited (though equally decaying) towns and villages of eastern Cuba.
All said and done, we certainly DID have a blast, mate! And Cuba is definitely a “Must Experience” recommendation for ALL insistent travelers!! But, it admittedly is NOT on our “Must Return Soon” list.... Although the inescapable graciousness and sincerely radiant nature of the Cuban People, deeply rooted in vibrant musical tradition, is something that will remain in our hearts for time infinitum......