So…here I am, abandoned by the Silver Fox.
This time on a month-long adventure to Spain with Sallory.
Me, with no one to drink wine with but Mistress Myrtle the Mean. All that’s left for me in life is sharing my gift of Oregon-bred passive-aggressiveness.
Er…I mean, write. Nothing to do but write.
I figure there’s no better time to flesh out this placeholder draft that is earmarked as a guest post for him to share their Cuba adventure from last January. Yeah, the one he went on instead of sitting around with me, doing nothing on my birthday.
Who’d want to miss that opportunity?
Anyway, as it turns out, not only is Cuba a cool place to visit, but in the near-year that The Fox has been procrastinating (just kidding, he’s not doing it…I just never deleted the post) this, our be-loathed President has undone the work Obama did to open Cuba up to American tourism after a half century of it being a big no-fly zone for vacationing Americans. So once again, only Americans traveling under certain strict guidelines – like as part of a cultural tour – can travel to this lost in time country.
It’s amazing what changes a year can bring.
Anyway, I can tell you, from the stories I heard, this little island nation could turn American sensibilities – ie: capitalism – on its ear.
Sure, the beaches are amazing in a non-resort-y type way.
Yeah, the cultural arts are untapped treasures.
The architecture is beautiful, albeit in an increasingly decrepit way.
And the people!
The Fox couldn’t talk enough about them.
There’s the hybrid of tourists from every other nation in the world – well, Canada and Europe, anyway – since we are the only holdout with a travel embargo.
All the way to the juxtaposed relative poverty of doctors and lawyers by comparison to the prestige and wealth those vocations have in our culture. Many of the cab and bus drivers they he and Sallory encountered were actually moonlighting doctors, which came in particularly handy in the case of the tour bus driver/doctor who was able to render some first aid on a tour he was driving for…wait, now I’m confused about whether that happened on their tour or one of my other friends’ trips.
Nobody ever takes me anywhere nice. Hehe.
I am sure, though, that it was The Fox that told me about the lawyer moonlighting as an ambulance driver.
Lawyers…in Cuba, they drive ambulances; in America, they chase them.
Then there’s the residents. In every story I heard, I was impressed with how unaffected they were by the tourist trade aspect of their economy. Well, mostly unaffected. I heard countless stories of restaurants where travelers were treated like family, with an unfakeably sincere hospitality. Or how knowledgeable the tour guides were on history and how easily they shared the culture of the people. You can’t put a price on that passion.
But for each of those stories, there was a less subtle eschewing of the tourist trade. Like the men who “entertained” – without judgment – travelers for cash. Again, though, being a genuine population, they were known to share their life stories with their guests…telling their male and female clients equally about their families – including their children. Can you imagine the sensibility and life circumstance that affords you the opportunity to turn tricks to provide for your kids and family without simultaneously being anything other than genuinely grateful for the financial resource?
I don’t even know how I feel about that, and I’m from liberal Oregon!
A little less conflicting is the story of the 90 year old woman, sitting in her doorway and smoking a Cuban cigar like she had no fucks to give…and charging tourists for the privilege of a photo op with her.
That’s a slightly less dire example of how this somewhat upside down culture was embracing capitalism.
And then there’s the cars.
We all know the island is basically a classic car museum…but why not take it one step further and let Disney turn it into an amusement park?
I mean, seriously, by all accounts, the infrastructure there is severely lacking. From buildings on the verge of collapse to an airport that can barely handle three planes at a time.
Think about it.
A Haunted Soviet Mansion tour.
The Bay Of Pigs Mystery Dinner Theater.
Tobacco Picking and Craft Cigar Workshop.
The people are definitely accustomed to the hospitality trade, all we gotta do is teach them to run rides and we’re set.
I’m sure we could ruin that island in no time…maybe our Bigot-in-Chief did them an inadvertent favor by shutting the island off to us again.
Oh well, I can always use a good excuse for a quick trip to Vancouver, BC…gotta get done of them Cuban cigars!
2 thoughts on “Cuba”
I went in April. I picked up a deal on American Airlines – $500 rt in first class Seattle to Havana. I’m glad I went but won’t be going back. The architecture was incredibly cool and I loved seeing all of the cars. A classic car blog ended up publishing close to one hundred of my photos. The cost of travel to Cuba was comparable to what I was paying in Portugal last year. Portugal is way more cool – much better food and alcohol, less hassle as a traveler, no 10% surcharge when exchanging U.S. dollars.
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Oddly, The Silver Fox is heading from Spain to Portugal tomorrow!
Sounds like Spain and Portugal give you a lot more bang for the travel buck…I’ll remember that!