Day 4 in Cuba
The first thing today was a full tour of the Museum of the Revolution. This is an impressive building with exterior displays of some of the equipment from the Revolution including the Granma, the boat Fidel, Raul, Che, etc used to cross over from Mexico to begin the fight. This was very near our hotel.
Arturo continued with a walking tour through the narrow streets and open parks of Old Habana. There was much to see from old European style churches to trained dogs dressed in costumes. Courtney was just handed a dog and had no choice but to hold the little one for the next 15 minutes or so until the street fellow retrieved it from her. Many pictures were taken!
Most structures in Habana are greatly deteriorated. There is an effort under way to rebuild and revitalize them. Some portion of money from Habana Vieja (Old Havana) businesses is given to this restoration project. There is a plan in place, but it will be an on-going effort for many years. There was noticeably more construction and renovation underway on this visit than there was 14 months ago.
We had a nice lunch at La Mina Restaurant (with music as usual) off the Plaza de las Armas, where there were many book, poster and postcard vendors and the usual array of street dogs in the middle of square.
We had the rest of the afternoon and evening to ourselves to explore more and/or pursue individual projects. One assignment for the class is for each student to investigate a subject of her/his own interest, culminating in a class presentation when we return to Colby. For example, some students met with representatives of the small Jewish community in Habana. Others have chosen the status of women, education, etc.
There is a long central walkway in Habana called the Prado that stretches from the ocean to the old Capitol building. It is a wide marble avenue with marble benches built into the sides and trees stretching above it shading the walkway. There is a busy street on each side of it with buildings along them.