Where do I begin? Every year my friend Donna and I take a trip for her birthday in May. This year it was her desire to go to Cuba. Since former President Obama did the thug dizzel and lifted the ban, she wanted to be the first of many to experience the rich culture of of this country frozen in time. I will have to say it exceeded any expectations I may have had! So much that I have tagged it as one of the best trips taken yet! I am still high on the awesome memories we created there.
I spoke to a few people who visited before we did and received a variety of opinions on what and where to go and stay. Donna decided to take matters into her own hands and planned the most awesome trip ever.
The trip totaled about $500.00 which included air, lodging, food & fun! We flew into Fort Lauderdale from Atlanta, then right into Cuba. From the time we landed and got off the plane, I could feel the authenticity in the air. To start, there was no Wi-Fi, so bye bye Social Media, Emails, Text Messages, phone calls, etc. It was a total unplug for me. I don’t do that often, but I would have to say it was quite refreshing and much needed.
The airport employees, specifically the females were dressed in the cutest uniforms with fishnet fancy stockings and the Cuban men welcomed us with a smile. We decided to stay in an Airbnb as opposed to a hotel to have the full Cuban experience.The family we stayed with were so accommodating and made us feel at home. The owner of the Airbnb, who we called “Mama” prepared a traditional Cuban dinner for us upon our arrival and also prepared breakfast every morning. Waking up to the smell of Cuban coffee was divine!
“Mama” gave us all the hotspots for nightlife and suggested places we should go to see more touristy sites. Even more of a blessing was our house mates, Sara & Omar, who were visiting from California and spoke the language. Now it was on and poppin! I swear we knew them in another life. LOL
From the Vintage Cars to the Havana Rum, Cuba swept me off my feet. The food was fresh, the land was in its authentic state, and the sun & ocean were perfect. Most of all, the people were super genuine. Every venue we attended had live music and dancing! You know I love dancing!! The Art & Architecture were rich in history. I was even kissed by an AfroCuban, the descendants of enslaved Africans where most of the Cuban influences originated.
The only time we really felt like Americans was when we visited Coppelia’s, a state run ice cream parlor in downtown Havana. We were met at the door, and escorted to a room with no windows. Whoa.. This place took up an entire two blocks and it was full of Cuban people enjoying their afternoon, but we were not allowed to engage with them at all. I later found out that it is against the law for Cubans to talk and share history with tourist unless they are employed as such.
What I did find very interesting was the lack of available toilet tissue. Yes, I said toilet tissue! Ha! Not so much where we were lodging but while out and about in the city. Most of the restaurants and clubs we visited had an attendant so to speak at the entrance of the restroom with a small basket for change. The attendant would make eye contact and look down at the basket as if to say “If you want to wipe, you must pay” LOL We quickly got wind of this and packed our own bathroom necessities before leaving the room. I never got a full understanding of why there was a shortage or lack there of, but I would highly suggest you pack a roll or two for the road.
In the end, I would have to say that my Cuban experience was top notch and one for the books. I would definitely go back in a heartbeat and planning to in the near future. I would recommend traveling there from Wednesday to Sunday, only because we did see a difference in how we were treated as tourist. It appears that Americans visit the country mostly on the weekend, so the locals were more inclined to ask us “Are you American?” and tried to finesse us on souvenirs, cigars & t-shirts. This became a little overwhelming especially because we experienced none of that during the week.
I want to thank Donna for planning this trip (she gets on me all the time for my lack of planning lol) and thank Mr. Obama for allowing us the opportunity.
Until next time Boo’skis…Smooches.
Have you been to Havana,Cuba? What was your trip like? Comment below and tell me about it!