Step into Havana, Cuba with the draft excerpt below taken from the Modern Metropolises chapter in my upcoming book, Searching for Unique:
They bid adieu with a plume of carbon puffing from their exhaust pipes, either from burnt oil or just cranky age. Somehow both varieties remained operational, made necessary because few new models are able to pass through Cuba’s strangling trade embargoes, bureaucracy or a combination of both.
Mechanics prevailed in this country. Every family knew someone who could jury-rig an engine or wring another week of life out of a car that might otherwise be sent to an automobile morgue elsewhere in the world. Drivers passed bronze statues of warriors proudly facing battle and ornate buildings either freshly painted in pastels or peeling under the salted air. On occasion, a vehicle less than half a century old rolled by, usually of Korean or Chinese origin. I felt we had stepped inside a bubble from some alternative world, locked inside a lost timepiece fallen from an old man’s tweed coat. Cuba’s urban Havana felt like a peculiar tug-of-war world caught between a mid-twentieth-century socialist era and a gradual privatization movement. Amid all this clutter, she emerged as a beautiful diva full of bold corners and evocative idiosyncrasies.
On this particular morning, we were on a mission to secure Wi-Fi access cards. Beyond an occasional high-end hotel, internet access was available only in designated public parks across Cuba. In the city of Havana, with over two million people, there were only six hotspots in 2016—including hotels...
...In our case, we first needed to acquire an access card and wanted to see how the locals did it. We could have walked into a big hotel and paid triple the price for a card, but that foreigner’s tack would have evaded the challenge of the quintessential Cuban puzzle. And we were stubborn...
For the rest of the story, see my newest book - Searching for Unique.
For more undiscovered destinations, see my first book - Dust in My Pack - available at most online bookstores.
Nancy O'Hare has lived and worked across five continents and travelled to over eighty countries. Her writing shares insights from her travels and musings about the world around us.