Havana, Cuba. A place so different from any where else I have been. Cuba is not just stepping into another country, it's like a step back in time. Some buildings have been perfectly restored to their colonial glory, others look like they are in ruins. There is colour everywhere: in the buildings, in the clothes and in the lovingly restored 1950s American cars. Music emanates from each corner - with Afro-Cuban drum beats, son bands playing in restaurants, and even neighbours singing in hallways. We stayed in casas, homes of friendly locals who made us breakfast and brewed some fresh Cuban coffee (I drank more coffee in 8 days than I have in the rest of my life!). There is a huge sense of community, people live life out on the street, chatting to friends and walking everywhere. But life is hard, with little access to imported goods, few belongings, a mostly state run economy, no free press and very limited internet access. Despite this, Socialism seems to be starting to fade. With the US embargo lifted and the recent passing of Fidel Castro, who knows how quickly life will change on this Caribbean island. I'm glad we got to visit when we did, and would love to see the difference in 10 years. Hopefully the charm and the charisma is still there, and life is a little easier for the average Cuban.
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