I haven’t found a job I want yet, so I am taking the opportunity (and using some miles I have) to slide down to Cuba for three weeks.
Strangely, I know little about the country.
President Obama’s Cuba policy opened up greater opportunities to interact with the Cuban people and not rely on the constant propaganda we have been fed about the horrific “communist regime”.
The hypocrisy comes in where we rail against Fidel and his brother Raul, maintain economic embargoes and chastise them for Human Rights abuses.
Wow. Those bad Cuban communists jail people and stamp out political dissent.
But hey! Look over here at that wonderful Chinese government! They have systematically exterminated over 2 million Tibetans, are a communist government, and stamp out dissent. But they allow foreign investment and we can buy their cheap, poorly made shit at Walmart. Hmmm.
I understand the difference?
Exactly. Our Cuban policy is the most ridiculous in our modern history.
Now I am traveling on a visa and my main purpose is “Support of the Cuban people”. Señor Trump made a mild modification to Obama’s policy because…well because EVERYTHING Barack did was wrong. Including being born black. So let’s just change it a little.
The good news is that the rules under which I am traveling is right in my wheelhouse. An itinerary that has me focus fully on cultural activities and exchange. Requires me ( by OUR government) to not stay in government or military owned hotels or resorts. Umm. Okay. And not eat or patronize government or military owned stores or restaurants. Check.
Focus on locally owned Air BNB (Casa Particulares), local restaurants, and spread the money around. Hmmm. How simply…. um. What’s that word? Socialist? Wow. I agree with Donald Trump on something. Okay. I’ll follow the rules.
The US may ask upon my return. The Cubans don’t care.
I’ve spoken to a few friends that have been there and my new housemate’s mom is Cuban. Most of my friends have been to Havana and Trinidad. In the West.
I am flying into Havana mañana and have three nights there. I have a full itinerary (or maybe not).
What I do have is the desire to slide into the cracks of Cuban culture, use my Spanish, play my guitar a bit and sweat my ass off (the rains and heat are coming. I’ve packed my Gold Bond).
Flying to the Far East of the country and hitchhiking back to Havana is my desire. As long as it doesn’t screw up my required 6 hours a day of “cultural activity” which I have every intention of fulfilling.
I will say if anyone has a hidden place down there where I can disappear for a few days, pass it on.
It’s my first “new” country in 6 years. The first time I will be traveling and not trekking in some way. The first time I am not bringing a sleeping bag (a sleep sheet!) and the first time my backpack is not full. Chacos, t shirts, water purifier a few collared shirts, hat acquired in Nepal for sun guard, guitar.
What? No boots? I feel naked.
I am open to any ideas, have no preconceived notions except I hear the Cubans are wonderful, and am stoked to be taking my shortest trip in 25 years!!!
Cuba! Voy a visitarlo pronto!