Arrived Thurs Sept 21. The flight there was half empty. Alaska Air was charging $307 direct flight to Havana. Power is 99% back in the city. Could see visible damage with lots of trees blown down. They had already been cut up and placed in piles to be picked up by trucks. The roads had drained and were usable except for the Malecon. The malecon was closed down and no one allowed in the area, especially no picture taking. Guide said about 3-4 weeks to repair most of its damage so that it is again passable.
El laguito was closed due to a lack of binder. That's bad news when the factory that should get the best of the best of all raw materials is shut down. We did a tour of La Corona, they were not using binder. I asked, how can you possibly roll cigars without binder??? It's gonna be crap. I guess they use leafs in between seco and volado to try and approximate something that might be close. Heard the standard line from habanos "best crop in 8 years!" News from the factory directors with the truth, its crap. Not enough wrapper. and evidently not enough binder??! Not many tourists, it was almost desperate for the tourist industry for dollars at this time. This was the first time I wasn't overcharged by a taxi from airport to downtown la Habana. They finally posted the government rates of $24 for the cab ride in the airport. My cuban friends always tell me that price, but I have always been charged $35 by the taxi stand. With so few tourists, the taxi line extended to the road outside the airport. Literally 50 cabs desperate for work. The good news about so few tourists, more cigars for me. I'll post some picture in abit.