Before we left Cuba, J had one last thing he had to do: Visit a local fire station. 

As a firefighter, he has a thing about seeing other stations, comparing their engines, etc. So there was no way we could leave Havana without making that happen. We passed by one really quickly during the classic car tour, and he only got a little glance, so I knew I'd never hear the end of it if I didn't agree to take a taxi specifically to the local station and back... just so he could take pictures, especially since he's always readily compliant with my photo-op requests.

And so, we hopped in a pedi cab and asked to go to la estación de bomberos.

Our "driver" was so amazingly helpful after I explained why we wanted to go there and that we weren't just weirdo tourists or working undercover for the government or something. He even acted as a middle-man between J and the firefighters on duty so he could get a closer look at their trucks, turnout gear, and other equipment, just in case they weren't accepting of tourists taking pictures.

Afterwards, we grabbed some Cuban coffee and left to go home. I immediately started looking through all the pictures we'd taken and reflecting on how different some things are in comparison to other countries I've visited:

Traffic moves so quickly and easily, even without traffic lights in some areas, despite the fact that some cars literally stop in the middle of the street for various reasons. 

Stray cats and dogs, of all sizes, are everywhere, and they don't bother anyone. They just lay around along the sidewalks, presumably waiting for someone to feed them.

Gratuity is expected for every little service imaginable, but the people are some of the most genuinely warm-hearted I've ever encountered - even when they're asking for a bigger tip, and even when you say "no thank you" whatever they're offering.

If anyone's interested in a more definitive guide on things to do, places to eat, how to get around, etc. in Cuba, I recommend looking at Carla's Viva La Cuba travel guide. She gave such good info that really helped me feel more prepared for the trip. If anything, the advice I'd give here would just be paraphrased chunks of her post, and I'm not even sure I could explain things as well as she did, tbh. *shrugs*

There are, however, a few restaurants I'd recommend visiting (in no particular order):
  • La Vitrola
  • Mojito Mojito
  • La Taverna
  • Hotel Ambos Rooftop Bar

I will definitely be back, God willing.