Sunny side of the street

Gavin McCowan

Cuba has the coolest, most easily identifiable images of any travel destination: the shiny 1950s Cadillacs, the salsa-ing mulattas, the Buena Vista Social Club and what the travel writer Pico Iyer described as "the ramshackle glamour of an abandoned stage set'' are instantly recognisable, even to those who have never been.

Cuba libre

Simon Mills

"At last, we are now on the freeway!" said my driver, exhaling proudly, adjusting his sunglasses and revving our white Hyundai hatchback to a recklessly exhilarating 80kph. I allowed myself a little smirk at the liberal use of the term "freeway" -- a bold Americanism that appeared to be over-selling the rather rudimentary stretch of road ahead of us.