Sailing and travel tales

Cuba – Havana, a grand city crumbling

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We went to Havanna on the second day. Again shocking decay. No maintenance
undertaken for years and years and years. Probably not since 1959 and before. There
are many narrow streets in the old part that the Cubans walk down the centre of
to avoid falling masonry – we did too !
The size of Havanna is astounding.
It has a population similar to Auckland but the old part is huge, not only the
buildings are huge but the area the old part spreads over is huge. The old part
has many beautiful old buildings and some wide wide streets running inland from
the sea side with wide tiled pedestrians avenues between the two traffic ways.
UNESCO is assisting in the restoration of some of the monumental buildings near
the sea because of their attraction to tourists.The tourist area is a warren of
small shops  tucked inside dilapidated doorways with crumbling overhanging
balconies and ledges. Often doubling up as accommodation somewhere in the dark
crumbling interior behind.An artists and craftsman quarter. A cigar shop, very
few clothes and shoe shops all intended for the tourists not the locals; but the
streets team with idle Cubans of all shapes colours and sizes who can barely
afford food let alone anything else.They are not an unhappy lot but I cannot
relate the need for work all around them and so many people on the streets with
clearly “nothing to do.”
Dogs of all shapes and sizes happily – tails always up –  and freely roam
the streets of central Havanna,belonging to no one but everyone. I questioned a
waitress in a restaurant about the dogs. It seems they are independently working
rat catchers ! I guess that is a change from the pampered ship dogs of Marathon
who would not know what to do with a rat and would not be allowed to move if he
did know what to do !

Written by teoranga

October 4, 2011 at 7:28 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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