"Come on, this is bullshit, this is for show, it can't actually be real."
When travel journalist Nick Watt was told that travelers to Havana's Paseo del Prado could find not just snack vendors and tourists on the famous promenade, but a thriving, open-air real estate market where Cubans buy and sell homes, he was a bit incredulous. But as he discovered during filming of his Travel Channel show Watt's World, the promenade plays host to a key part of Cuba's nascent real estate market, a recently unleashed aspect of capitalism in the socialist country that, as relations with the United States normalize, opens up a host of questions and possibilities.
"Consider real estate in the same way people look at classic cars on the street here," he says. "People like me love Cuba, we think the cars held together with Band-Aids and the old colonial buildings are amazing. But once the money comes in, will Cubans want up-to-date buildings? In 20 years, will there be old, dilapidated buildings here?"