Arriving Havana in Cuba

Arriving Havana in Cuba

[March 2010] We visited Cuba for this year’s Easter holiday.

After 9 pm, we settled down in room 24 of the old and quite luxurious hotel Florida in Havana, the capital.

quite spacious room in Hotel Florida in Havana, Cuba
our room in the Hotel Florida

The ceiling was high enough to look up.

Downstairs you can hear many people dancing salsa with the live music.

Tourists who have practiced in their home country teamed up with women who are clearly prostitutes.

Full of colonial colours.

The restaurant in the neighborhood called “Europe” where we ate chicken for dinner also had a high ceiling, and although it was for tourists, there was live music and the atmosphere was lively.

A few hours before that, we came here by taxi from the airport.

The road was dark, empty and hot, reminiscent of Southeast Asia and the Middle East, such as the countryside of Thailand and Turkey, but when we entered the city of Havana, the buildings were European-style and between decaying buildings, there were various people, black, white and somewhere between were hanging out in tank tops and shorts.

the street scene at night in Havana in Cuba
the place with the flag was our restaurant

I was thrilled that I have entered a cultural area that I had never experienced before.

By the way, the taxi was a French car, but in Havana there were quite a few old American cars that you can see in pictures, and they were running mixed with the Soviet car Lada.

There was also scenes where they were being repaired on the roadside.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing everything in the sunlight.

Perhaps because of this anachronistic atmosphere of the destination, the aeroplane of Air France from Paris to Havana was like a jumbo jet 30 years ago, with only an overhead screen with poor sound.

So I felt that the flight of about 10 hours was very long.

After landing, the in-flight broadcast said, “No one is available for us,” and we had to wait another 30 minutes.

We could afford to think that this was also a side of the exoticism, but when we thought about it later, it could happen in Europe, too.

At the immigration, they thought I was Chinese at first.

the chicken dish at the restaurant Europe in Havana in Cuba
our chicken dinner

When they found out that I was Japanese, I was forced to line up behind a long line because I needed to fill in a landing card that people from the European Union (EU) didn’t need, which made me feel a little annoyed.

However, it was interesting and exotic to see that people working in such a red tape place had large artificial flowers on their heads.

By the way, the exchange rate at this time was € 1 = 1 peso (for foreigners), and the impression was that prices are not so cheap.

Our chicken and beer dinner was 15.75 pesos.