Last week we wrote about the continual loosening of Cuba-U.S. travel restrictions and what that means for those hoping to travel to Cuba in the near future. The TL;DR version is: it’s easier than ever to go legally, and has become shockingly simple to take an under-the-radar trip (if you want an un-guided experience).
First, this clip from Watt’s World in which Nick visits a Sunday afternoon party filled with spinning cars and swaying hips.
I arrived in Cuba for the first time in January 2015, the same week that Obama made his first announcement easing travel restrictions. Jose Marti International Airport was packed with families waiting to see relatives whom they likely hadn’t seen in decades. Emotional reunions were erupting everywhere. The next thing I noticed were the cars. The parking lots were filled with vintage Chevys and Fords, with a few horses and buggies mixed in. Most of the classic cars are “share taxis” that operate like shuttles with different routes throughout the city. The majority of Cubans rely on various inventive forms of public transportation — like the American-made trucks with open-air backs that are used to carry the overflow of people who can’t fit in traditional buses. If you happen to be driving a car and it’s not full, you are obligated to pick up the hitchhikers lined up at nearly every mile-marker along the road.
Resourcefulness seems to course through Cuban veins. They are the MacGyvers of the Caribbean. Nothing is wasted. Ever. At a paper factory in Holguin, we met a man named Boris who used a Russian washing machine rigged with a motor to churn up his paper pulp. On a street in Santiago, a man’s motor bike was outfitted with a water bottle for a gas tank and CD reflectors. Kids on the island of Cayo Granma, which was decimated by Hurricane Sandy, were using trash that had washed up on the beach to create art for their local community center. You have to stand in awe of the inventiveness.