Posted on

Cuban entrepreneurs take a bigger slice of profits thanks to reforms

Small enterprises, such as pizzerias in Havana, are springing up all over Cuba after 2011 licensing changes and relaxed US restrictions on tourism

Pizza is falling from the sky in Havana … Actually, it’s being lowered in a basket from a third-floor balcony belonging to a small pizzeria called A Mi Manera, run by two Cuban cuentapropistas, or entrepreneurs, Marta María del Barrio and Marta Juana Castañeda in densely populated Centro Habana. Business is booming and they open from 9am until midnight every day – Castañeda is adamant they take no holidays.

Cubans call this street food pizza de cinco pesos because five pesos (15p today) used to be the standard price in a country where the average monthly wage was about £15. But things are changing. In 2011, Raúl Castro’s economic reforms permitted individuals to take out private business licences. A decade ago, pizzerias were few and far between; now, they are all over the city.

Continue reading…

Posted on

Dover soul: a new walking trail on the Kent coast

There’s more to the world’s busiest passenger port than ferries and military history – it is looking forward with a new architectural walking trail along the Kent coast. We get a preview

On a hazy summer morning, Dover harbour appears to be in a state of perpetual motion. Beneath the white cliffs, cross-Channel ferries glide in and out while, closer to shore, a fleet of dinghies skims across the water. A group of swimmers make their way along the shingle beach, watched over by a sculpture of two bathers ploughing through the waves – a reminder that this has been the starting point for countless attempts to swim the Channel. Beneath my feet, inlaid into the paving stones of the esplanade, a granite strip marks the start/finish line for the North Downs Way long-distance walking trail.

Continue reading…