Traveling to Cuba…
Cuba was a place that stretched my emotions.
I felt excitement, fear, love, compassion, awe, sadness, wonder, amazement, and gratitude.
The environment of Cuba, was very different than other places I had been, due to the fact that you could feel the tension between my home and theirs, and the desire of all of us to make it better.
As I immersed myself in conversations with the locals, I could feel the HOPE they had, believing the USA would improve their quality of life.
Cuba wants us to be there. They want to show us their culture, the beauty of the country they love and honestly, they would like us to bring our money with us.
Just a Few Facts, I learned from a Local…
Cubans salaries are government regulated. They can earn a max of $60.00 CUC per month. (equals $60.00 US Dollars) They depend on tourism opportunities to make money on top of that. Doctors drive taxis… it makes more money! Radiation Tech… dives for Octopus to sell to the restaurants, and can make his whole salary double for the months diving is good.
The food for them is scarce due to the USA blockade still in place. They need the relations with our country to be better, so they can have better availability to goods.
As I chatted with a local on my last day, he had tears in his eyes as he expressed his desire to be free like me. Most Cubans cannot legally travel to the US, so he had me tell him of New York City, a place he dreams of. I showed him apps on my phone, and how the internet would work if I had wifi. It was the first time he had seen an App. The English he spoke was Excellent, and self taught by using a book.
I loved this man, I pray for this man, his family, and his country. I hope that we can see the beauty in the stories of others, and get past our fears and reservations, and visit. They need us.
When you go do this:
Visit Old Havana (better yet, stay there)
Take a Tour in a Historic Car with an English Speaking Guide (Ours was: firstname.lastname@example.org, Elvis +5352812372, Excellent English, very knowledgeable, and amazing cars, @$30.00 an hour plus tip)
Go to Cabaret Tropicana (Entertaining since 1939. Eat dinner beforehand, the food in not that good)
Buena Vista Social Club (My favorite night, for great seats, eat dinner here, but eat before hand too, the food is just ok)
Visit El Malecon (Boardwalk with Vendors and Music, Better to visit at night)
Fusterlandia (Neighborhood of Mosaics)
Fabrica de Arte Cubano (Art Museum)
Gran Teatro de La Habana (Famous Ballet)
San Francisco de Asis Square (in Old Havana)
El Marro (Military Fortress)
Finca Vigia (Hemingways Home)
Callejon de Hamel (Artist Neighborhood, all funds spent here go to the Childrens Programs, or so the Artist said:)
Get Reservations Here:
La Fontana (Jared’s Favorite Meal)
Places we didn’t make it but had planned to:
Suggestions from our friend @thewanderess._
La Guarida (Great Lounge and Terrace)
O’Reilly 304 & El del Frente (Best Cocktails)
Casa Miglis (Swedish)
Chanchullero (Nice Terrace)
Paladar Dona Eutemia (Excellent Food)
Cafe Bohemia (Great Lunch)
The Santy Pescador (Fresh Fish)
San Cristobal Paladar (Obama visited)
Dandy Cafe and Restaurant (Hipster Vibe)
Cafe Arcangel (Best Breakfast)
Hotel Ambos (Excellent Views)
La Flauta Magica (Perfect Sunsets)
Cervecería Antiguo Almacén de la Medera y El tabaco (great Chill spot)
Barbeparque (Great Park)
Agromercado (Great Performances)
Veradero (Great Beach outside of Town)