The next day we were headed into the heart of Havana Vieja (Old Havana) and our route took us through the crowded semi-old neighborhoods, filled with the life of the city. Beautiful children, workers, public servants and elders living the lives of average Cubans. To our American eyes they may look poor, even impoverished, but our Cuban guide was quick to correct that notion. There is no unemployment, there are no homeless. Everyone eats. Everyone receives excellent free healthcare and all children attend good public schools. You may wish to debate the finer points and nuances of life in a Socialist society, and wonder how they live without the internet and free press and clean, drinkable water and so many of the things we find essential, but those first statements are basic truths about life in Cuba. We saw, of course, what they wanted us to see, but there was no denying a beautiful spirit in the people
The heart of Havana Vieja, in contrast to the neighborhoods, is dressed up for company! The buildings have been, and continue to be renovated and beautifully restored. The people dressed in their colorful colonial dress are hoping for a small tip for having their picture taken, or offering up some live music. The lady in red will tell your fortune and vendors will tempt you with local treats.
This lady advertised her paper cones of peanuts by singing out out "maniiiiiiiiiiiiii" in a rich operatic alto that could be heard from across the plaza. All requests come with a smile or a wink.
In Havana, all is beautiful...
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