The Sanborns' Trip, Final Look At Havana
Founded in 1514 and fortified by the Spanish in 1610, Havana was an ideal trading center and port for centuries. The old town, Habana Vieja, was designated a "Heritage of Mankind Site" in 1982 by UNESCO and is simply beautiful.

With UNESCO help, the city undergoes restoration of these incredible old colonial buildings and sites. In its day, a thriving city full of shopkeepers, slave owners, and merchants. It was a city the world forgot and fortunately, restoration goes on.

Several views of the center of Havana from the Jose Marti tower.
The outdoor markets are one of the most fun places for shopping and browsing. Beware the fake Cohiba cigars though.
Part of the old city.
In Cuba, education is free and available to anyone through college. We saw school kids everywhere.
The Music Museum was a treasure trove of all sorts of antique instruments and players.
Museums were everywhere in the old city.
Out door cafes were a much needed break in touring the city.
The Harbor was bustling with activity though you won't find any US ships or any calling in on a US port soon. As part of the embargo, any ship calling in Cuba must wait six months before it can call into a port in the USA.
Cuba is unfortunately still mired as a third world country. While the government has provided free education and medical care to all of its citizens, there are many other trappings of the modern world missing but these people are making do. Probably what made this trip much more difficult for us was the high temperatures in the 90s daily and high humidity. Makes for tough sleeping. Religion in Cuba is expanding and with it comes some of the social services that we see provided here in the US like garbage collection, alcohol abuse counseling, drug treatment, clean water, and shelters for people that need them.

I was surprised by the influences of Africa on the culture and music, also by how much our group loved the coffee. How everyone has equal access to the highways including horses, bicycles, pedestrians, and trucks. They don't pull over, you do and because traffic is scarce, people will try to flag down anything to get a lift to wherever they are going. We got to see the Red Sox on television one night as Pedro beat the Yankees. Cuba now is on a US dollar basis for foreign currency. It is accepted nearly everywhere and required in some places. Was it a fluke, coincidence, or by chance that on America's Memorial Day holiday, we visit the grave of Che Guevara. While Cuba is "off limits" to Americans, we did bump into several other delegations visiting the island.

Thank you so much for making it this far in our tour of Cuba. There were many other things I really wanted to include but ran out of both time and space. We both enjoyed the trip enormously and I for one would go back in a minute.

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