Havana: the crown jewel of the island nation of Cuba, caught in a time warp of it’s own making. The depredations of the last six decades are writ large across the city, countryside, and the faces of the people who lived through the “difficult times” (as they are colloquially known). However, optimism can be found in the faces of the younger generation. With the easing of economic sanctions and travel restrictions, life is beginning to re-emerge along the Malacon (the seawall), on the sidewalks, and in the streets.
Small entrepreneurial restaurants are being licensed by the government and a new Cuban-fusion cuisine is beginning to make it’s presence felt, despite the continuing shortages of spices and various ingredients. Cubans have learned the hard way how to be resourceful, industrious and quite inventive. The warmth and spirit of Cubans is indomitable. Families remain central to life in and around Havana. Music is every where, salsa infuses the hip-swinging of the sandal-wearing young women, laughter infuses most every conversation, Wi-Fi hot spots are beginning to appear and Cubans’ passion for all things Cubano is wonderfully palpable.