The is­land was al­ready chang­ing be­fore rap­proche­ment with the United States.

The Washington Post Sunday - - OUTLOOK - Photo es­say by Sarah L. Voisin In­sta­gram: wash­post­photo

In Ha­vana, the U.S. flag is fly­ing for the first time in 54 years. Be­fore this past week’s his­toric re­sump­tion of diplo­matic re­la­tions with Cuba, Washington Post pho­to­jour­nal­ist Sarah L. Voisin vis­ited the na­tion to cap­ture a lifestyle that will in­evitably change as busi­nesses emerge among a pop­u­la­tion hope­ful for new goods. She sat among the fam­i­lies who gath­ered on street corners at night to play domi­noes or talk in the salty air. She at­tended art open­ings at the uber-cool Fábrica de Arte Cubano and fol­lowed peo­ple who danced un­til 3 a.m. at La Ce­cilia, a gov­ern­men­towned club. She felt “un­plugged” be­cause the In­ter­net was slow and cel­lu­lar calls to the United States were ex­pen­sive. She shared taxi rides with Cubans; ev­ery­one shares taxis be­cause of high prices for gas and cars. “I love be­ing a wit­ness in Cuba at this his­toric mo­ment,” Voisin says. “I just hope it re­tains some of its ro­man­ti­cism from decades past.”

Right: A young girl walks down San Ig­na­cio Street in Old Ha­vana as the sun sets. A real es­tate mar­ket is emerg­ing in Cuba for the first time since the 1960s, and prop­er­ties in this neigh­bor­hood, with its prox­im­ity to the ocean and his­toric plazas, are de­sir­able. Cubans are ren­o­vat­ing and selling, but so far, Amer­i­cans are pro­hib­ited from buy­ing.

A warm April evening in the sea­side town of Gua­n­abo, about 20 miles east of Ha­vana. Cuba is pre­par­ing for a wave of Amer­i­cans that will one day hit its beaches and tourist spots.

Drink­ing and danc­ing at La Ce­cilia, a gov­ern­ment-owned mu­sic venue in Ha­vana. On this night in April, pop­u­lar reg­gae­ton mu­si­cian Ja­cob For­ever is per­form­ing.

Din­ers gather out­side O’Reilly 304 in Old Ha­vana in­March. Pri­vate restau­rants are a rel­a­tively new con­cept in Cuba, and this one, known for its cock­tails, is among the most pop­u­lar spots.

A mu­ral ofMarx­ist rev­o­lu­tion­ary Che Gue­vara in Old Ha­vana. Three years ago, Pres­i­dent Raúl Cas­tro cast aside decades of com­mu­nist dogma and al­lowed home­own­ers to buy and sell prop­er­ties.

Fábrica de Arte Cubano, a thriv­ing arts space housed in an old fac­tory in Ha­vana, is one of the hip new des­ti­na­tions in Cuba, of­fer­ing ex­hibits, movies, mu­sic and cock­tails.

Above: TahimyMon­toya Sarmiento, 22, in the Por­tuando neigh­bor­hood of San­ti­ago. Af­ter dusk, res­i­dents of Cuba’s sec­ond-largest city take to the streets to so­cial­ize.

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