My spring break before heading out on my teaching job, I enjoyed the mysterious country of Cuba. Yes it was the Caribbean but the history of the country and how off limits it has been to we as Americans has been one of much turmoil. As such, it was time to see for myself and therefore with the help of my muse I went on to see a country rich in its conflict and its comfort.
Havana was a highlight in how the old cars flowed through it, its university, and its sea wall Malecon. Old Havana had Hemingway’s stomping grounds, cars and tons of alleys to get lost in. Interacting with the people was always fun from the occasionally slanged Spanish, the multicultural backgrounds, the constant hustle for what tourists are taking, and the myriad of old American cars.
We would also partake in a trip to Vinales valley with its mural, hand rolled cigars – brought back a few - and tobacco farms, over the top Pina Coladas and a bizarre tourist trap Indian Cave. Later in the week, we would also enjoy a general bus tour of La Habana (Havana) and a trip to a nice quiet beach that hadn’t been torn up by tourism yet, and La Plaza de Revolucion. Thus, Cuba was different because without wifi or tons of information it was hard to figure out exactly; however, I found the history and the almost untouched by American influence culture to be wonderful.
The issues with America are not as rampant as you might see as people get excited when Americans visit, especially Black people. American business has also not ignored the country as Coca-Cola, Nike and a few other products exist on the island. Furthermore, the well known FAC (Fabrica de Artsde Cuba) is a myriad of art galleries, meets bar, meets food, meets performance hall that is a hipsters dream surely to be brought back to the US.
Product scarcity is fascinating to see as Communism’s influence with rations and a lack of products makes it difficult for even restaurants to have everything. However, the food was not as bad as people think as the Pork cuts, huge chicken and lobster, and the Ropa Vieja was wonderful. Still, it won’t trump any other cuisine around the world.
A note about the multiculturalism in the country: It was wonderful to see a myriad of Cubans in all shades of melanin and even white bond together. Yes, Cubans of varying skin tones were together because they enjoyed each other and their heritage so many people would likely fit into Cuban culture.
Lastly, the alcohol in this control will mess you up for cheap. The drinks are often cheaper than the food, but those drinks are strong and often had people feeling good after one. It seems to be a large export with Cuban rum being the front runner. Thus, they have some of the best Pina Coladas I have ever had. The other large export and there are many places you can indulge in Cuban cigars, but only a few farms you can buy cigars directly as most big brands you can buy overseas.
I know this write up doesn’t have a ton of recommendations and doesn’t have too much partying, but Cuba has a different journey for everyone; history, culture, dancing, music, beaches, clubs, it all depends on what you want to discover. Enjoy it for your own self and if you want to see if your relationship can last.