In order to see and feel the rhythm of the City of Havana you don’t need money. It’s enough to sit on the steps of the National Capitol building. From there, peacefully, you can observe the comings and goings of thousands of people every day, passing through the central Paseo del Prado.
If it’s very hot and you have a few “chavitos”–the convertible pesos named after Hugo Chavez–you can refresh yourself with an ice cream of a brand synonymous with quality. In other countries, because those made in Cuba are watery. Probably because they didn’t throw in the amount of milk required.
And while you finish tasting the bland ice cream, a bus comes along. One of the routes where buses have replaced the “camellos”, the old camel-shaped tractor-pulled buses; their excessive weight was the cause of a good part of the deterioration of the principle arteries of the city. For those who can afford it, there is always a Cubataxi ready to take you where you want to go. For convertible pesos of course.
If you have children and enough convertible pesos, you can enjoy a “luxury”: riding in a horse-drawn carriage around the Capitol. Like those in Bayamo, Cárdenas, Ciego de Ávila and Sancti Spiritus, among other Cuban cities.
Text: Laritza Diversent
Photos: Diego Ramos