I've been wanting to go to Cuba for years. When President Obama announced the US will be repairing relations I, along with many others (Havana was packed!), thought the time was now. Before long Starbucks and Walmart will move in and take away all its charms.
As a US citizen you still have to travel with a sanctioned group for a people-to-people exchange. I traveled with Santa Fe Workshops since I wanted to do photography and my group was there to study the role of women in Cuba and all the workshop participants were women.
My favorite way to photograph Cuba was to get up at dawn, walk to the harbor, and walk back as the sun was coming up and everyone was starting their day.
The Cuban people are very welcoming and most of them don't mind you taking their picture but I always ask.
All the people I saw living well in Cuba have family that live in Miami that send them money and goods. They love people from the US (unlike many other parts of the world) and can separate a country's government from their people.
Most work at least two jobs, even doctors and teachers.
The amazing thing is the good nature and hope that exists.
In upcoming posts I'll talk about the creative community that is there, the prominence of women in government and business, and tips for anyone planning to travel there soon.
Cuba has a long way to go before it can handle a great influx of US tourists but they are well on their way.