Why Cuba? I ask this for many reasons. Since the travel ban has been lifted, Americans have been to Cuba in flocks. I myself wanted to go just to say I went. Then everyone and their mother was going , and it didn’t seem special to me anymore. But I decided to go this year for my birthday.
Why Cuba? Well I only had a weekend free. Cuba is a two hour flight away. The tickets to Cuba are very affordable, and I have never been. So Cuba it was. I had friends tell me that is was bad for Americans to go there right now. The Embassy was closed because diplomats were becoming sick. I myself was not worried about that. One the Black Caucus has been going to Cuba for years and nothing has happen to them. Two I have traveled to many countries by myself and never had a problem. Three I was wearing the right skin color and features.
Lucky for me I had friends that had already been to Cuba and gave me the heads up on somethings.
- Our money is no good there ( USD). Take Euro for exchange. Take enough money to last you on the trip. American banking systems do not work there. So debit/credit cards can’t be used on the island.
While on my adventure there in Havana, I also learned that you can’t Western Union Americans there. The money has to be sent to a Cuban Citizen with an ID.
2. Don’t have your expectations really high on the food.
A friend of mine told me that the food in Miami was better than what he ate while on the island. His thoughts were the island doesn’t have accesses to a lot of the ingredients as we do in the states. I hate to say he was right ( don’t take my word for it, experience it for yourself).
The travel Visa to Cuba is $100 . You purchase it at the airport before you get on the plane. Don’t worry the booth is right by where you board the plane. No need to get to the airport earlier than normal.
During the coarse of my stay in Cuba, I learned a lot about our government and the Cuban people. On my second day in Cuba I lost my passport. How did I do that? I left it in a Taxi. The taxi was a black 1950’s Chevy. I took a taxi from Vedado to Havana and left my passport, debit card, and my money in the taxi. So imagine being in another country, far from your hotel, with now only $20 Cuc’s (Cuc’s are Cuban Convertible Pesos).
I’m running around trying to see if I can find the taxi. But I can’t seem to find it. Then this guy asked me was I ok. I told him no I lost my passport. He told me I needed to go to the police station and he would take me. But there was a catch. What was the catch you ask? He told me he wanted a kiss from my red lips ( oh yeah I wear red lipstick a lot). Of course I told him yes, so we proceeded to the police station.
While in the Police Station I got to see the inside of a Cuban jail. I must say our holding cells look very luxurious compared to theirs. While at the police station I had to talk to immigration and informed them that I lost my visa, and passport while there.
Next step was go to the Embassy. But before that, guess who wanted their kiss. So I gave him a kiss on the cheek and told him thank you . Oh my friends that was not enough. He wanted a kiss on the lips. Not happening buddy. Somehow he went from asking for a kiss on the lips, to being my boyfriend, to I look like I could carry a lot of children (I seem to get this a lot). At this point I told the man to go fuck himself and walked away.
Now I am back at the hotel in Vedado. I explain to them that I lost my passport. Which required a short conversation where I ended up in another taxi via the hotel, that took me to the Embassy.
The U.S. Embassy. Long story short, I was told I had to come back on Wednesday due to the Embassy being closed on weekends. Also note there isn’t anymore emergency services. Thanks Trump. Why Wednesday? Well Monday was Columbus day (why are we still celebrating that) and Tuesday was a holiday for Cuba ( the day the slaves were freed, 10 October).
What does this mean for me? This was Saturday, my flight leaves Sunday Morning. I don’t have much money left (only brought enough for 3 days plus I just lost 100 Cucs). I needed to figure out a couple of things.
- Where will I be staying for these next couple of days?
- How will I be paying for my extended stay?
- Where am I going to get the money from?
- I needed to find internet service and let my family and friends know what the hell I just did.
Thank God for Roberto and Marcus. Roberto setup and Airbnb for me for the remainder of my stay. Marcus wired money to me to pay for my passport and to have some money on me. I called my sister to see if American Airline would change my flight for me since I wouldn’t be able to leave at least to Wednesday. But guess what, my sister bought my ticket for Monday. Why she did that, I don’t know. Side note Why is the theme to this whole story.
You would think things are on the up and up right? I have some money now. Roberto got me an apartment, and I just have to wait until Wednesday. Somehow I lose the keys to my new apartment and I’m locked out….