I was fresh off the plan from Puerto Rico and a week later I was off to Cuba. My mom called me one day and just basically told me I was going to Cuba. I was resistant at first because I wanted to focus on some other things but eventually, I gave in. Cuba has always been on my bucket list and my mom stressed to me how important this opportunity was since it’s a possibility that they might close access to it again. To go to Cuba, you need your passport and a Visa. My mom and I were able to get our Visas right at the airport, which was convenient.
Whenever I travel to the Caribbean I mostly pack bathing suits because I know I will be spending most of my time on the beach or in the pool. Let’s just say I was a little unprepared because this adventure was definitely different from what I was used to. My mom is a teacher and what she didn’t tell me was that this trip was an educational tour focused on Haitian culture. Everyone who went on this trip is prestigious scholars born in Haiti and their kids. I was one of 3 of the younger ladies that had the opportunity to come on the trip. We were so happy to have each other’s company and really made the best of the experience.
As soon as we landed, we were on the move. The first day was exciting, it’s always a surreal feeling for me whenever I land in another country. Cuba is beautiful and I was just happy to be there. The vibe in Havana is so vibrant and the old cars make you feel like you went back in time. I stayed at the Habana Riviera and it was pretty much mediocre which didn’t matter because the group was hardly ever there. I don’t think I have ever been to so many Tourist Attractions in any country like this since I was a little girl.
Cuba is colorful and interesting in so many aspects. The educational tour was focused on Haiti and how much of the culture is deeply rooted in Cuba. I am Haitian, so at times the experience was actually very emotional for me. Creole is the second most popular language in Cuba. Being in Cuba and being able to encounter so many people from my culture made me realize so much. I just kept thinking, any one of these people could have been my family members and I. Traveling truly humbles me in that sense because I don’t think people truly understand how privileged we are in America. I learned about the many Haitian festivals that are held in Cuba and how Haitian heroes like Toussaint Louverture and Alexandre Sabes Petion made an impact on Cuban history.
One of the highlights of my trip was going to Cabaret Parisien in Havana. The food was one of the best and the performances were wonderful. There were so many stops and so much to do that at times my friend and I separated from the group for a breather. When we did separate from the group, we went out to a popular spot called Casa de la Musica. It was really cool, you could tell it was a hot spot for drinks and dancing. There was a live band and literally A LOT of dancing. The guy at the door mistook my friend and me for being Cuban. I’m pretty much used to that. A lot of countries that I’ve traveled to (The DR, Brazil and now Cuba), as long as I keep my mouth shut, they think I’m a native. So at first, they charged us the local price but once they got a hold of our ID’s, they made us return to the entrance and pay the tourist price. I am always easing mistaken for a native, whether it’s because of my weave, complexion or assets. Whatever it is, this natural beauty has always been and always will be Haitian and proud.
I am literally a beach bum. I can proudly say that I travel just to lay on the beach, so my beach days were the best days. The first beach we went to, we only got to spend an hour so I had to ditch the group to create my own beach day.
The group was always on the move and one of the days that I stayed back, I missed out on the trip to Vinales. That was a bad day to ditch because that is where they hand roll cigars and you get authentic organic Cuban food. I heard it was beautiful. On the bright side, did get a chance to visit Trinidad for two days. Overall, my trip was amazing and I would definitely go back. When you’re in Havana, don’t forget to stop at Floridita for your free margarita!
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Soleil – Her Love Journey
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