As to explain, the above title does not refer to that of what happened to us, but what is currently happening in Cuba. In my end summary I will clarify this further but definitely upon first arriving in the capital, you see the typical Cuba and what you expect to see from the google photo library. However, there’s another side of Cuba, a hidden side that is in swing with a breaking point that is going to push it into a great economic environment or disappointedly towards a Cambodian style money grabbing mess. So, we arrived safely in 1950, strangely about 30 minutes before a thunderstorm hit the airport region, which after we found out was the only region which suffered from this. It does make you think what the bloody hell they were thinking when building an international airport in the only area that is capable of striking down an inbound flight. I’m not sure whether this was done on purpose to keep people out of their beloved country. We had also left behind the Costa Rican efficiency so we wasn’t surprised to learn our prearranged taxi hadn’t bothered to turn up – luckily we were still in spanish speaking territory and managed to negotiated another without too much hassle. Upon realising that the bus station, which we had to go to in order to catch one to Valadero a few days later, was situated outside the centre, we asked our taxi driver to stop. What then happened was a bizarre 45 minutes of uncertainly, confusion and corruption (which by the way we supported). At first we were refused by one of Austin Powers super afro girlfriends to buy a ticket as we were ‘a little late’ at around 4pm in the afternoon. If alone, and if you don’t speak spanish you are nothing, not even a suspected ghost. Luckily my partner’s spanish led the way to first convince the woman to get us a ticket and save another journey back – for this we were led through various areas o the building whilst she proceeded to multitask with the strongest of latin american personalities, which was a little scary. Eventually after the taxi driver had showed his concern of waiting for so long, we received our tickets. For her efforts of course she demanded in the most ‘come on sister, you for real?’ kind of manner, a corrupted $5 bonus. Havana is quite an eye opener in terms of it’s status but doesn’t seem to scream the same desperation as India. Education is very low and people’s love to do ‘not a lot’ is quite apparent; not so much in the city tourist areas, but there’s controlled poverty. For a tourist everything is still very cheap, although the country lacks a variety, especially with one manufacturer for every alcoholic drink made. Society is very much a split of unaware children who’s innocence still allow them to play on the streets and avoid computer games and online social networking. On a sour note, little do they know about the world and the opportunities with their minds convinced that they can live for free and do very little because that is their right. Most tourists who visit the area seem to bypass what Cuba is all about. For them it’s about the history, which don’t get me wrong, it’s important. However, Cuba is very much about the now and what happens next – I think the smartest among Cubans understand that the country is in a critical stage of decisions and making the wrong ones or not standing their ground could cause a very negative shift. You can’t help thinking when exploring, which buildings will be taken over and turned into hotels, which people will relish the opportunities and those who will resort to begging for the tourists hard earned cash. It’s as sad to see a country so stuck in time as it is to see the beauty of the buildings and passion of the people. Things are changing though, now 50% of cars are modern, and bars and restaurant with heavily commercialised styles are popping up with their western influence. In fact, our Casa Particular was being expanded all ready for the imminent landing of US influences which seem to grow stronger every day. Politics and future doubt aside, riding the streets of Habana Vieja in the back of a cycle style tuk tuk is quite entertaining when every time the rider sees a woman he approves of, he makes a kind of ‘grunting whistle’. They also know what tourists like when giving you a tour as he continued to talk about bin collections around the city. Going back to politics, it became noticeable one evening of the breaking point Cuba is in and brings the reality of now. After sitting down beside the cathedral for a bite to eat, further down the street a citizen’s arrest took place after a Cuban man caused a little trouble by trying to express his desire for the current regime to continue strong. Without knowing exactly what happened, all we had to go by was the neighbours and restaurant owners who explained to concerned tourists that it was these people who don’t want any change and are causing the bad reputation that the country has. Cuban people want freedom, they demand change and although they can’t officially speak out, its clear to see their needs and the way in which some go about their life to work towards a better future. After a couple of days of overwhelming city life, it was to the beach of Varadero where we expected a more chilled out relaxed vibe.