This beautiful ribbon of seaside esplanade stretches some four-plus miles through the capital along the Atlantic coast, from its eastern beginning in downtown Centro Habana to its western end when it ducks beneath the Almendares River and delivers you into the more genteel Miramar. Begun in 1901 during a period of US military rule of Cuba (following its winning independence from Spain), the Malecón is the favorite hangout for residents and tourists alike, filled with strollers, musicians and artists both day and night...except sometimes like this when the strong winds come in from El Norte and cause the waves to crash over the sea wall, dousing pedestrians, cars, sidewalks and streets with impunity. This wonderful day, el M was unpredictably moody, tempting fishermen to approach, then tricking them with a sudden drenching or two. Surprise! But whether walking its afternoon length, driving along in a nighttime taxi, even just catching a glimpse of it at the end of a busy city street, it's hard not to succumb to its pulse, its welcome.