"A New Look at Cuba" by Rachel Lee Harris You ve booked a flight from Miami and have your approved travel visa in hand.
You re ready to see Cuba. Now what? Cue Stephan VanDam, a cartographer, graphic designer and president of the map company that bears his name.
Though practical, his witty, origami-like physical maps and sleek 4-D interactive digital maps can also carve a historic or cultural path through a city (like his History Mapped presidential series). The company has now turned its attention to Cuba. Using his signature StreetSmart series design for printed maps (Internet connections are still scant in Cuba), Mr. VanDam points out Havana s restaurants, hotels, resorts and the home-based restaurants known as paladares and offers five self-guided tours that wind through the city s many plazas to contemporary galleries, music venues and gardens, along the Malecón coastal road and as far as the beaches of Playas de Este. As an amateur mambo dancer and Latin Jazz aficionado, Mr. VanDam has always had a fascination with Cuba and its connection to the Latin jazz scene in New York, he said on the phone from his office there. Musically, it's a world power. I remember my parents doing the mambo in the 1950s and their parents in the 30s. So the maps focus a lot on those aspects of Cuba s culture. It s also a treasure trove of architecture, he said. Cuba is totally cohesive in its urban fabric since there was no money after the revolution to replace buildings with modern structures. The company also has produced StreetSmart Cuba, which maps out the network of Spanish Colonial towns and Unesco World Heritage sites on country roads from west to east, and guides travelers through beach towns along the shores both north and south.
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