Weekend in Havana


The Final Evening

Geoffrey spends the final evening of his unforgettable trip at La Guarida Piano Bar, high atop a crumbling mansion in Central Havana, enjoying the music of Roberto Fonseca as he marvels at the panoramic view of the city. He reflects on what he has learned on his journey, the friends he has made, and the insights he has gained about Havana, Cuba, its people, and himself.

AIRED: July 18, 2017 | 0:02:20

(soft Cuban music)

- [Male] On my last evening in Havana,

I'm taking yet another form of Cuban public transportation

to La Guarida, one of the first

and most famous paladares in Havana.

It opened 20 years ago

in a crumbling mansion in Havana Central.

And it's owner is slowly renovating the entire building

to serve his new international clientele

and Cuba's burgeoning middle class.

Roberto has invited me to La Guarida's rooftop piano bar

where he often plays with his band when he's back in Cuba.

(lively Cuban music)

(audience applause)

Nothing like a rooftop to give you some perspective.

Looking out across Havana Central,

I'm struck by the paradox.

Up here, young Cubans with money in their pockets

sway to Roberto's music.

While, as if on cue, another cruise ship

carves a line across the horizon.

Yet, below me, is a city still crumbling and overcrowded.

Once called the Jewel of the Caribbean,

Havana is a faded jewel now.

But one thing never fades,

that's the spirit of the Cuban people.

My new friends have shown me the warmth and humor,

resourcefulness and resilience

that have gotten them and the city they love

through so many changes in the past.

No doubt, it will carry them through whatever lies ahead.

(lively Cuban music)