Havana's Malecon boulevard along the seafront is a place to escape the city streets and enjoy fresh air.
The national pastime of Cuba must be hanging around. Everybody, from the hustlers and the jineteros (hookers) to the children and the ordinary folks, can be found outside doing very little or nothing at all. Talking, laughing, sitting, watching, sleeping, reading, listening to music, smoking or playing dominoes or chess, that kind of sums it up. Transport is expensive and slow, so in effect most people are limited to their own neighborhoods.
The seaside Malecon boulevard is the city’s outdoor sitting room, and also a great place to see some of the estimated 60,000 pre-1960 American cars still roaming Cuba. Known locally as cacharros, about 150,000 existed at the time of the 1959 revolution, shortly after which the U.S. trade embargo took effect.
Although we might become nostalgic about these vintage American cars, and the Russian side-car motorbikes, Cubans don’t get misty-eyed about them. They would rather have the latest models.
Take me to Malecon!