On this past February’s visit we noticed a number of changes from other years. First is that there are newer, modern buses replacing the old smoke spewing dinosaurs! Many balconies on apartment buildings are being closed in with glass framed by white vinyl or metal. In some places land beside homes is tilled perhaps for crops for Market gardening ? Renewing and painting of buildings seems to be more so than past years not only in Havana but other places as well. The highways do not seem to be as crowded with “all modes of travel” i.e. bicycles, carts, old motorcycles, etc. And, yes, Paladars are popping up all over the place ! What else have you noticed ?
Cell phones are well on their way to becoming ubiquitous, at least in tourist areas. Many, many resort staff and others working with tourists have them, and lots of them are new smart phones, more expensive than my old flip phone. I was told by a Cuban friend that it was cheaper for him to get a cell phone then to have a land line hooked up.
I’ve noticed over the last year that there are no more vendors stationed on the beaches but rather individual vendors (with permits) now allowed to walk up and down certain beaches (Varadero) with wares. They are not allowed to circulate around the guests, but will approach if you hail them.