If you want to step back into the automobile past, you need to go to Cuba. Havana is literally a rolling car museum with Oldsmobiles, Chevys, Fords, and Buicks that most car buffs in the US would pay tens of thousands of dollars to own, and they are used by Cubans as every day vehicles. It’s amazing to see a lineup of the vintage cars, waiting at an interection for the light to change, like it’s no big deal.
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Ernest Hemingway certainly has a huge fan base in Cuba, having lived there for much of his life. After he was a war correspondent for the Spanish civil war, he crossed his fishing boat , the Pilar, into Cuban waters and made his home for the next seven years in Havana at the Hotel Ambos Mundas.
In 1940, with his new wife Martha, Hemingway bought an estate, about fifteen miles outside of Havana, which they named “Finca Vigia” (Lookout Farm). He would live here for the next twenty years. It was during this time that he wrote one of his most famous books, For Whom the Bell Tolls, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Five years later, he would divorce and marry his fourth wife Mary, who lived with him here until 1960.
By 1962, then President John F. Kennedy had implemented a full embargo against Cuba including all exports, food, medicine, and prohibiting any US company from doing business or trading with the US. After almost sixty years, I imagined that Cuba would be a bit frozen in time, like America was thirty years ago. Much to my surprise, Cuba has moved forward, still trading with the rest of the world. They have Hundais and Kias from trade with Korea, washing machines and refrigerators from Germany, food from Mexico and South America, and televisions from China. Even though they only have five television stations, over 80 percent of the people buy a tv disc package for $2 which allows them to download hundreds of American tv sitcoms and news shows, so amazingly, many Cubans are quite up to date with news from America. There are 2.1 million people living in Havana today.