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He was scheduled to arrive on Monday of our Spring Break, and then the Rolling Stones decided to have a free concert for the Cuban people on Friday of the same week.
The resulting flurry of activity meant we had to settle for one day and night in Havana, but what a day and night!
While modern cars have been imported from abroad since then, those that stand out are the impeccably refurbished classics from the U. A., like these convertibles gathered for an informal car show that delighted tourists and locals alike.
© Mike Giordano Our guide’s name was Ricardo, and he was fantastic—he was very flexible about making sure we could see whatever we wanted whenever we wanted.
You can take off from any airport to get to Cuba—it doesn’t have to be a POE (Point of Entry) airport.
You do have to return to a POE airport in America, and there are only four airports you can return to from Cuba.
All five of us packed in, and the driver started the seven-mile trip to Havana. Since 70% of the cars in Cuba are circa 1950 to 1960, be prepared.
We waited in the building for about an hour while the attendant continued to disappear and then reappear with our passports. When they were satisfied, we were walked over to the Cubana terminal, where Jim had arranged for the tour guide to meet us.
You’ll see cars from other countries that are more modern, but not nearly as cool. On the way out of the airport, I took note of two 15-foot walls with barbed wire on top that surround the airport.
And look for motorcycles with sidecars—we saw a lot of them! It wouldn’t be easy to get in and out of that airport illegally. I asked my son to translate one wall (he’s in his first year of middle-school Spanish), and he said it read, “Socialism or Death”.
All of them are made of stone, many with iron or concrete balconies, and they’re exceedingly beautiful.
They’re also extremely rundown, and the roads have potholes everywhere.