I landed back in the States last week, and while I have plenty of new things to share with you, I want to share my thoughts on Cuba.
I. Love. CUBA.
Cuba is one of those places, where I really connected with the people and my heart goes out to those that are struggling every day.
Mr. Lumberjack and I stayed at an Airbnb on O’Reily (review soon), which a block from the main tourist road, Obispo. So that is the first thing we did. We walked along O’Reily and landed on our first restaurant.
One of our servers didn’t look too happy to deal with tourists, but she ended up lightening up a bit. We ran into a couple of people who looked really pissed off at us.
Mr. Lumberjack and I couldn’t understand why. However, later Mr. Lumberjack was watching the news and there is A LOT of negative news about the United States (according to him because I couldn’t catch everything in Spanish). So we figured they just didn’t have an affinity for Americans.
On the other hand, we met a lot of warm people on our tours, restaurants and homestay. They were very sweet and happy we came. Tourism is one of the biggest industries in Cuba.
On these tours, they explained their way of life and I have to say that it is hard. Partially due to the embargo, but also the government, there is a shortage of resources for the Cuban people. You can tell because there is a long long line on “chicken day” at the market or the empty “convenience stores.”
It was tough for us to find cheap bottled water and even candy as souvenirs for our friends. Not only that but every thing in CUC costs the same it would in the States. That’s speaking in terms of CUC as tourist. Imagine how the locals feel paying that.
But these people are survivors and hopefuls. They work so hard and I saw that with Mariannik (homestay host), Jennifer (cigar tour guide) and Osmany (photographer), Omar (driver). I hope they get everything they wish for.
Our friend, Omar, asked Mr. Lumberjack if he saw any crime. He said no, because that was the truth. He further asked, “Then why do Anericans think we are terrorist?” That really hit me in the heart; These people are far from terrorist, and every one should come here to see their beautiful hearts.