Last sunday I left noisy and crowded Havana behind, and took a trip to the nearby playas del este, a string of very fine white beaches, that can be easily reached from downtown Havana. There are Maquinas leaving from a square next to the train station in Habana Vieja, those big oldtimers, that serve as collective taxis. We paid (after some haggling) 1 CUC for the half-hour ride to the beach Santa Maria del Mar. It was heavenly, and although a sunday, not very crowded. I guess it’s still winter for Cubans. Judge for yourself. When we drove back into the city in twilight, it seemed so much nicer and quieter to me.