Havana Through a U.S. Lens

Cuban dance
A visit to Cuba in words and images shows friendly people despite nation’s poor economy


Ellen and Paul Lewis of White Plains, N.Y., embarked on an Insight Cuba trip recently. What follows is a short Q and A with Paul Lewis about the experience.





Q: Why did you decide to travel to Cuba?
1. Curious about the culture, political situation
2. Love Caribbean
3. My wife wanted to use her Spanish (she is fluent and once taught Spanish to high schoolers)
4. Jazz sounded interesting, as I love music and she loves to dance; we went with a Havana Jazz– from Insight Cuba.

Q: What did you anticipate?
I didn’t have any particular expectations. We went with my 81-year-old father and his new lady friend whom we had never met – so there were a lot of “unknowns.”






Q: What surprised you?
1. How friendly and warm the Cuban people were toward Americans (and there were MANY Americans–far more than I expected).
2. How terrible the transportation system is in Havana–few buses, no subways, not too many cars.
3. How dilapidated Havana looked everywhere.
4. The fact that there were no newspapers at all that weren’t published by the government.
5. The fact that very few had Internet access and even that was government-controlled.

Q: Did you get free access to people and sites? (If not, what were the restrictions?)


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