The Malecon is an 8 kilometer stretch along the sea and happens to be one of the hottest social scenes in Havana. Going out can be pricey, so many young people will meet at the Malecon to hang out. Day and night it’s filled with young lovers, friends, fishermen, and people just strolling along to breathe in the fresh air. It’s fun to sit back and watch the city come alive as beautiful vintage cars zip by.
The buildings along the Malecon have been somewhat vulnerable over the years. There was flood that ruined many of them and renovation can take a long time. While crumbling facades add to the mysterious beauty of the place, it’s hard not to imagine the changes that may eventually come. Many of us were preemptively worried about what this area can become once Starbucks arrives. It could completely change the ambiance. A difficult question to ponder when appreciating the beauty of the area while seeing displaced families because of collapsing buildings.
I had a goal to run the Malecon, but I realized quickly that not many people are seen running in Havana. I chose not to, which I’m fine with because while walking I was able to interact with some locals. I was sitting on the Malecon wall when a young girl sat close to me and asked if I wanted her to take my picture. Our conversation eventually turned into talking about Beyonce’s recent visit to Havana, of course. I happened to have a Beyonce music video saved on my phone and watched in awe as my new friend took in the magic coming from my phone screen. Of course young people in Cuba are able to access much more media than we realize, but I got the sense that being able to see something like this was not too readily available. It was pretty special to be able to share this moment with a local Cuban.