For Americans, the deshielo Cubano, or “Cuban thaw,” of December 2014 eased 50 years of tension between the United States and Cuba. Relations began to normalize, and within a few months, financial systems were opened, official embassies established, and long-standing travel restrictions between the two countries were lifted. For a brief period of time, the Cold War animosity between the United States and its neighbor 90 miles south of Key West lifted.
For Robert, an Australian citizen, visiting Cuba was easier than for Americans. “We traveled with friends to celebrate a birthday and stayed at the Saratoga Hotel in the middle of Old Havana. It was just after sunrise, and the taxi was sitting nearby waiting for passengers. I always try to get up early to capture the first light and mostly empty streets when I travel.
“I’ve been to Cuba twice—once right after the thaw and again more recently. It changed so much in between my first and second visit. People change and countries change. I really want to go back again and see how it’s changed further. Who knows what it will be like in two, five or 10 years?