While most Canadians appear to have been to Cuba at least once in their life, my wife and I had never been. Somehow, the whole all you can eat all inclusive vacation among poor people didn’t really appeal to us. We both can’t sit on a beach for more than two hours anyway so we never gave Cuba much attention. But one gets older, one can handle only so much snow in one’s life and we too reached a point that we had enough of slipping and sliding and bundling up.
So we read up on Cuba (hours on Tripadvisor, Wikipedia and the library’s Lonely Planet), talked to colleagues and friends and we got more and more convinced that for a first time visit we should spend most of our time in Havana. We don’t have a desire to see everything in seven days either. It was the right choice.
Foreign Business in Cuba
In short, we had a terrific time, enjoyed Havana more than we ever expected, took a lot of pictures and managed to talk a bit with the locals (who were more open about the situation than we had expected). We even saw the Canadian flag at an oil field along the coast between Havana and Matanzas, perhaps planted by Sherritt International, a multi-billion-dollar commodities conglomerate based in Toronto (source: Walrus Magazine) that has been doing business with Cuba for a long time.
We also saw Dutch regional buses (the yellow ones), with the Dutch destinations still on the front. Dutch company Womy supplies Cuba with those Rotterdam buses at 20,000 euros a pop, after 14 years of service in the Netherlands and 1 million kilometres on the odometer. (source: Vroom.be: in Dutch).
Who cannot stop taking pictures of the American cars, some of them with the holes filled with plaster, hand painted and going on one of the eight cylinders left? But alas, this is a bike blog, and I will stick to the pictures of bicycles: cargo bikes, taxis and regular bikes.