November 15, 2017, 6:35 PM
Some Very Preliminary First Re-Impressions.
by Walter Lippmann
Though I really want to share with you some of my many first impressions on arriving back in Cuba after nearly a year away, this Internet office (Sala de Navegacion as they’re called), will close in a half hour, so a fuller report simply isn’t practical today. Hope to get something fuller out tomorrow. Still…
There were only 55 passengers on the 160 seat Alaska Airlines plan which flew direct from Los Angeles to Havana yesterday. The crew loved it. Probably the company isn’t thrilled because they must be losing money. On the other hand, they made a commitment to provide this service, and probably signed a contract, so I say, “good for them” for keeping up the service.
Today I’ve visited with several friends, begun to deliver medicines and various other things which I brought for them. There are a few more to be delivered, and that will get done.
Spent a lot of time today walking the streets, sucking up first impressions (mostly quite positive), which I’ll try to detail tomorrow.
Am working in a very nice new Internet office. TWENTY machines, flat-panel screens. Quiet place, good for work. No blackouts. Friendly staff. People coming in and out during gmy time here. I’ve been working for about 2.5 hours and will stay a bit longer.
The city is about as clean and as dirty as it always is. There are more new small restaurants. Some which were here last year have gone out of business already. Others (A wonderful restaurant called Doña Laura, on H between 23rd and 21st in Vedado) are expanding their services.
You can get a FULL MEAL at Doña Laura for 30-40 pesos (1.25-1.50 CUC!), served on porcelain plates with metal knives and forks, a wonderful bargain and good food (imagine, a glass of mango juice for 5 pesos, a glass of guava juice for 3 pesos (twelve US pennies!).
Now, if you want to feed a minimum of FIFTEEN people, they will deliver a complete meal to your home, including a pig leg, for $80.00 CUC. I’m not sure where I could host such a party, but you can see things are moving right along here. I’ll write a longer report, maybe post a picture at some point.
There’s so much to say, but rushed work is guaranteed to be sloppy, so that is all for today. Been delivering presents to friends and dealing with a few bureaucratic tasks. Hopefully, more will be possible tomorrow. There’s a LOT to report.